Night Sweats in Men: Causes and Treatments

Tara Youngblood Jun 07, 2022

Night sweats in men

If you’re reading this, you know the feeling. That drenched, overwhelmed, sticky, sweaty, and uncomfortable feeling that startles you awake in the middle of the night. Whether you get up to change shirts, kick off the sheets, or just end up tossing and turning, night sweats make sleeping hard. Even worse, it makes feeling rested even harder.

Decades of scientific research confirm this struggle. Not sleeping, and not sleeping well, make it difficult to stay focused and on track for what we need to do. The zzz’s we catch at night are critical to the personal and professional success that we strive for during the day.

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Not only can night sweats lead to stress during the day, but they can also create unwanted stress at night. For men, night sweats represent one of the most significant barriers to high-quality sleep hygiene.

Sleep Hygiene Definition: Google Dictionary defines Sleep Hygiene as habits and practices that are conducive to sleeping well on a regular basis. Learn more about sleep hygiene and how it plays a role in the overall quality of sleep.

The Mayo Clinicdescribes night sweats as repeated periods of excess perspiration that occur during the nighttime hours that may soak bedding or bedclothes. [1]

In this article, we’ll explain the various causes of men sweating at night. Most importantly, we’ll summarize the latest health care information on what you can do to keep these nightly battles from wreaking havoc on your daily life.

How to Find Relief: Our cooling mattress pads have been shown to reduce night sweats. Set your ideal sleep temperature and get the best sleep possible and wake up rested. Shop Dock Pro

Why do Men Sweat at Night?

There can be many reasons why men sweat at night. These things can include: specific mental health or medical conditions, related medications, and hormone changes, which are all things that can provoke night sweats in men. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce sweating at night and improve sleep quality and sleep hygiene.

Read More: Why Do I Get So Hot When I Sleep?

An Important Foundational System Out of Balance

Body temperature research indicates that we have a number of mechanisms within us that keep our internal cooling and heating systems in check. Typically, our bodies want to stay at roughly the same temperature or the “thermoneutral zone.”

At a lower temperature, the body responds by shivering, thus increasing your temperature. When the thermoneutral zone is higher than usual, we then start to (you guessed it) sweat so that the body can release heat and ultimately cool down. [2,3]

Some scientists also discuss the “thermal comfort zone,” which is the temperature at which humans are most comfortable. This optimal temperature is narrower than the thermoneutral zone. [4]

Interestingly, men have a lower tolerance for heat than women. Yet, gender is only one of the many factors influencing the optimum thermoneutral zone.

Numerous health-related issues can throw it out of balance. The results: night after night of sleeplessness, along with soaking sheets, followed by ongoing sleep deprivation and possibly poor health results.

Man sweating at night in his bed

Several factors can cause night sweats, including mental, physical, and psychological conditions, interfering with our temperature-balance systems. Occasionally drinking something hot, taking a hot shower, or working out might even trigger night sweats.

However, complex medical conditions can also be involved. You may need to consult with a therapist, physician, or a sleep expert.

Common Causes of Night Sweats

There are several elements that cause night sweats in men, including physical, medical, and psychological conditions.

1. Exercise Routine

Some research suggests that frequent exercise can lower the thermoneutral zone, causing night sweats in males. Yet, it doesn’t imply that you should limit or stop exercising.

A long-term, well-planned exercise routine is key to good health. Experiencing excessive sweating could be an indication of overtraining.

2. Anxiety and Stress

Common symptoms of night sweats are, simply, stress and anxiety, which can be either short-term or chronic. Experiencing traumatic events, such as job loss, relationship issues, or the loss of a loved one can be highly stressful and affect sleep quality. Major life events are not the only culprits. Research has shown that even a complicated math problem can put sweat glands into overdrive.

In addition to night sweats, there are additional symptoms that you may experience, and they include the following:

  • Trouble focusing on tasks
  • Become more irritable
  • Weakness/fatigue
  • Stomach issues
  • Mental Health
  • If you feel you are struggling or in emotional distress, there are ways to get help. Please visit MentalHealth.org or reach out to your medical provider.

Prescription or Medications

Numerous kinds of prescription drugs list night sweats as a side effect. In addition, certain medical conditions and medications may lead to more common night sweats or excessive sweating. [5]

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol®), aspirin, and other pain relievers
  • Some antidepressant medications
  • Steroids (e.g., cortisone, prednisone)
  • Diabetes medications
  • We highly recommend that you carefully read the labeling information on all prescription and OTC drugs to be fully aware of the potential side effects.

4. Low Testosterone Levels

As men get older, their bodies produce lower hormone and testosterone levels, also called male hypogonadism. Many physicians prescribe hormone replacement therapy to help with night sweats and other symptoms of low testosterone.

In addition to having low testosterone levels, men also sweat at night due to hormonal conditions such as hyperthyroidism. [6] Also known as having an overactive thyroid, hyperthyroidism can create excessive sweating.

Did You Know: Around 39% of males aged 45+ may experience a drop in testosterone. [7]

Learn which foods can help naturally increase testosterone.

5. Hyperhidrosis

In some cases, the nervous system will activate human sweat glands for no apparent medical reason, possibly resulting in excessive sweating during the day and night. Sweating can occur across the body and only over one or two specific areas, leaving researchers baffled as to why this happens.

Excessive sweating has been known to drench clothes at night. In a few cases, symptoms only occur on the palms of the hands, armpits, head, or feet, known as primary idiopathic hyperhidrosis. Cases of hyperhidrosis require an assortment of treatments, depending on the severity and underlying cause.

It’s important to note that men aren’t the only ones who experience night sweats. Common causes of night sweats found in women mirror those found in men such as anxiety, hyperhidrosis, or medication side effects. Menopause is often a significant cause of night sweats and hot flashes.

6. Foods and Drinks

Certain foods can affect your sleep and even worsen night sweats. Tomato-based foods, citrus, chocolate, caffeine, coffee, spicy foods, and even alcoholic beverages may cause reflux. Recent case studies have shown that diseases such as GERD [8] (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) can be associated with the rare symptom of nighttime sweating.

If you are one of those affected by reflux, it’s important to make note of the foods and drinks that contribute to your symptoms. By worsening the symptoms of acid reflux, you unknowingly contribute to your night sweats.

How to Reduce Night Sweats?

There are many different solutions that can help control night sweats. Still, some medical conditions will require advice from health care professionals.

To improve your chances of a good night’s sleep, we recommend that you try some of the recommendations below to help prevent night sweating.

Cooling Mattress Pads

People often look into products such as bedding or mattresses that are breathable and are designed to keep you cool, which have proven to help reduce the severity of night sweats. Additional products, including cooling-bed mattress pads and cooling blankets, help create the ideal sleep environment.

One thing that makes cooling mattress pads a particularly great solution is that many of them offer the flexibility to set timers. This is the perfect way to get your bed prepped and ready for you in the right temperature range before you get into it.

Temperature is another way that we can signal to our bodies that they need to get ready for sleep. Everybody requires a different temperature to optimize their sleep and, fortunately, the range of temperatures for pads like our Chilipad Pro will have something available for everyone. In fact, some of our pads even cool and heat from 55 to 115 Fahrenheit.

Ultimately, cooling mattress pads cool down your core body temperature and help you regulate your body rather than constantly chasing the thermostat and trying to control the environment.

Sleepme Tip: At sleepme, we offer three various sleep systems, and they come with the Chili Cool Mesh Pad or ChiliPad Pro cooling mattress pad. The cooling pad continually circulates water through a tubing system powered by the control unit.

Temperature-Regulated Sheets

Traditionally, sheets tend to keep you warm because they rest against your body's skin and trap more of your body heat. If you’re sleeping warm, it seems like the natural solution would be to sleep without sheets.

Science, however, supports the use of sheets. They have a purpose. As we fall asleep, our temperature drops, and sheets were intended to help maintain the warmth and prevent shivering. It isn’t just about maintaining warmth, though. Sheets can be a signal to your body that it is time to sleep, and that signal is just another step in a healthy and functioning circadian rhythm.

You don’t have to let sleeping hot take away that sleep nudge. The fabric type, thread count, and features of your sheet can help make you more successful when you go to sleep – with some even having cooling properties.

Sleep Environment

Check your room temperature. If having a warm bedroom, you can adjust the room temperature. Experts recommend you set your optimum room sleeping temperature between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sleepme Sleeping Tip: Our cooling sleep systems are the perfect sleep solution for winning this temperature battle with a partner. Our "We" cooling mattress pad covers the entire mattress allowing dual side temperature regulations.

Exercise can cause sweating

Evaluate Your Exercise Program

If you have recently started a workout program, review it with your healthcare provider. As discussed earlier, taking a moment to evaluate your current exercise routine is important as overtraining can cause you to sweat excessively and experience night sweats.

Read More: Sweating During Workouts: What You Should Know

Limit Certain Foods and Drinks

As mentioned earlier, due to the risk of reflux contributing to night time sweats, it’s important to cut back on the consumption of night sweat triggers such as caffeine, hot drinks, alcohol, and spicy foods. [9] Reflux can worsen when we go to sleep due to laying flat and reflux can be more bothersome at night.

On those nights where you are having night sweats, keep track of any related foods or drinks you may have consumed that could be contributing. Doing this will give you more information to discuss with your doctor or sleep specialist, if needed, and also help you determine which foods to avoid if they are contributing.

Did You Know: Research has found that sleeping on your left side can help reduce reflux episodes caused by GERD. [10]

Relax Before Bedtime

Relaxation techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing, are well-accepted tools for decreasing one of the most common causes of night sweats: stress and anxiety disorder.

Below are recommended meditation and breathing exercises to help calm the mind and body, leading up to bedtime. Making simple lifestyle changes improves your overall health and sleep.

Take time to relax

Maintain a Healthy Weight:

Excess weight can cause night sweats and sweating in some individuals. Considered a risk factor, obesity may lead to not only night sweats, but sleep apnea (a sleep disorder). Weight loss is recommended to help treat these common conditions.

Sleep Study: A study conducted in 2013 discovered that approximately 30% of obstructive sleep apnea patients experienced night sweats, compared to 9% of healthy men without the condition. [11]

When to Contact Your Doctor?

If you’re concerned about night sweats or any other sleep challenge, please get in touch with your doctor. Your physician may want to recommend further examination or prescribe medications.

Other symptoms may include the following:

  • Fever
  • Mood Changes
  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue and weakness
  • Weight loss unrelated to diet or lifestyle changes

If you are experiencing any of the above, please contact your doctor, as the symptoms may suggest a more serious underlying condition.
Additionally, you should also contact your doctor if the symptoms worsen or if you are experiencing excessive sleep deprivation.

Important Key Takeaways

  • Our bodies sometimes become unbalanced, which can cause some men to sweat at night.
  • Multiple psychological medical conditions can initiate night sweats.
  • In some cases, night sweats occur for no apparent medical reason. The nervous system somehow spurs activation of the sweat glands (hyperhidrosis).
  • Many strategies could relieve the negative effects of night sweats in men, including cooling mattress pads, medications, relaxation techniques, or changes in bedding/mattresses.
  • Contact your healthcare provider. They can help recommend a treatment.

It is possible to find relief from those annoying and uncomfortable night sweats.

Research shows that better sleep enhances virtually all aspects of life. Good sleep hygiene helps keep our hearts healthy and improves problem-solving, memory, and cognitive functions.

At sleepme, we are committed to continue developing innovative products that will have a great impact on lives and overall health through quality sleep.

Citations

[1] Author (2020, February 20). Night sweats: Definition. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/night-sweats/basics/definition/sym-20050768.

[2] Ryan, T. (2021, July 28). What causes night sweats in men? [Blog Post]. Sleep Foundation. Retrieved from: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/night-sweats/men.

[3] Kingma, B., Frijns, A., van Marken Lichtenbelt, W. (2012) The thermoneutral zone: implications for metabolic studies. Frontiers in Bioscience, E4. 1975-1985. Retrieved from: https://www.fbscience.com/Elite/articles/pdf/Elite518.pdf

[4] Schlader, Z.J. (2014). The human thermoneutral and thermal comfort zones: Thermal comfort in your own skin blood flow. Temperature, 2 (1). 47-48. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4843884/pdf/ktmp-02-01-983010.pdf.

[5] Author (2020, February 20). Night sweats: Causes. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/night-sweats/basics/causes/sym-20050768.

[6] Bryce C. (2020). Persistent Night Sweats: Diagnostic Evaluation. American family physician, 102(7), 427–433.

[7] Rivas, A. M., Mulkey, Z., Lado-Abeal, J., & Yarbrough, S. (2014). Diagnosing and managing low serum testosterone. Proceedings (Baylor University. Medical Center), 27(4), 321–324. https://doi.org/10.1080/08998280.2014.11929145

[8] GERD: Berdnikov, A., McPhee, S., LaBine, L., & Fatoye, T. (2020). Night sweats as a manifestation of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien, 66(12), 901–903. https://doi.org/10.46747/cfp.6612901

[9] Schuler, A (2021, July 5) Night Sweats in Men Causes, Symptoms, Cancer, Diabetes, Alcohol, Stress and Night Sweats Treatment in Men. [Blog Post]. American Celiac. Retrieved from: https://americanceliac.org/night-sweats-in-men-causes-symptoms-treatment/

[10] Person, E., Rife, C., Freeman, J., Clark, A., & Castell, D. O. (2015). A Novel Sleep Positioning Device Reduces Gastroesophageal Reflux: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of clinical gastroenterology, 49(8), 655–659. https://doi.org/10.1097/MCG.0000000000000359

[11] Arnardottir ES, Janson C, Bjornsdottir E, et alNocturnal sweating—a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea: the Icelandic sleep apnoea cohortBMJ Open 2013;3:e002795. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002795