Night sweats are noted by episodes of excessive nighttime sweating that can soak your bedding or pajamas at night. While many people tend to associate night sweats with hormonal imbalances in women, night sweats in men can occur just as frequently.
For both men and women, night sweats can be disruptive to a restful night’s sleep, which can in turn, negatively impact your overall health and wellbeing.
Understanding the causes, symptoms, and solutions for night sweats in men can help ensure consistent, quality sleep night after night.
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Causes of Night Sweats in Men
There are a variety of reasons men can suffer from night sweats. Sometimes they are relatively benign, while other times, not so much. Health conditions can trigger them, as well as stress, environmental stressors, and diet.
Natural Temperature Changes
Some men suffer night sweats due to normal body temperature variations that occur throughout their sleep cycle. Core body temperatures tend to increase before we wake up and decrease before we fall asleep at night. Hot bedrooms, memory foam mattresses that trap heat and excessive layers of bedding can all contribute to very normal reasons for sweating.
Andropause & Night Sweats in Men Over 40
Andropause is the male version of menopause, where levels of testosterone decrease as a man ages, more often over 40. Although more gradual than menopause, andropause night sweats occur if testosterone levels dip below average. These hormonal imbalances impact the area of the brain that acts as the body’s thermostat, which trigger mixed signals, which trigger hot-flashes, which subsequently trigger night sweats.
Hyperhidrosis is the medical term when people sweat without any obvious medical cause. Diet, stress, spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine have been associated with causing night sweats in men.
Viral and bacterial infections like HIV, osteomyelitis, tuberculosis, and endocarditis have also all been linked with night sweats in men. In addition, patients who suffer from hypoglycemia can experience night sweats when blood sugar levels take a nosedive.
Men with cancer (especially lymphoma), can suffer from night sweats which can also be an early warning sign in patients who haven’t yet been diagnosed. Stroke patients also report experiencing night sweats.
In addition, certain medications, such as antidepressants, have been linked to night sweats. Neuro disorders and conditions like Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can also cause night sweats in men.
Associated Symptoms of Male Night Sweats
Along with excessive sweating, other symptoms can occur depending on the underlying health issue. Cancer patients may experience weight loss, while infections can cause fevers.
If medications are the culprit, sometimes additional side effects related to the medication itself may be experienced. Chills are common, especially when also dealing with a fever.
If you notice any strange rashes, experience a swollen lymph node, or notice a drastically reduced appetite alongside severe sweating, you should call your doctor and schedule a visit, just to be safe.
Solutions for Male Night Sweats
If night sweats are due to hormonal imbalances, some men might find relief through bioidentical hormone replacement therapy or talking to their doctor about anticholinergic agents. However, there are other at-home solutions to help remedy night sweats:
Diet – Avoid triggers like caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods as well as smoking. In addition, try eating earlier in the evening and not right before bedtime, and drink plenty of water.
Bedding – Make your bed as cool as possible by using breathable materials for your sheets and pillowcases, and choosing lighter blankets over heavy comforters and duvets. Don't negate the effect by wearing hot and uncomfortable clothing. Choose lightweight and breathable fabrics for PJs as well.
Bed Temperature Control – Invest in an external cooling product that will cool your bed to your ideal sleeping temperature.
Stress – Manage stress and anxiety with healthy habits like relaxation and breathing techniques, daily exercise (even if it's just a walk around the block), and mindful mediation. Yoga, running, and reading are also great stress relievers.
Sleeping Environment – Keep your environment cool. Use floor and ceiling fans to circulate air, and set your AC thermostat at temperatures conducive to sleeping. If your fans have a remote, even better—adjust as-needed right from the comfort of your bed.
Ask your doctor about a prescription-strength antiperspirant to use on your armpits, groin, and other particularly sweaty areas.
While night sweats can be uncomfortable, they are usually benign. If you have any reason to suspect they may be caused by something more serious, please get in touch with your healthcare provider immediately.