Causes of Night Sweats in Men

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Night sweats are episodes of heavy sweating during sleep. The sweating can be intense, leaving your bedding and nightclothes soaked. Night sweats can happen if you wear too many clothes or your room is too warm. Heavy night sweating can occur because of an illness or another underlying condition.

Night sweats are common in men and women of all ages, but men ‌have this problem more often. Nearly a dozen factors can cause night sweats, ranging from harmless to potentially life-threatening. Some of the most common causes of night sweats are stress, anxiety, sleep apnea, and certain medications‌. The best way to treat night sweats is to understand what is causing the problem. Identify the problem so that you can treat it properly. Nighttime sweating should stop or become less frequent when you treat the cause. A doctor can help identify the cause of night sweats and suggest an appropriate treatment.

1. Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes excessive sweating, especially at night. Stress, medications, and other health conditions can cause hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis is a common condition that has a physical and psychological impact.

Several treatments are available for treating hyperhidrosis. Some people may require surgery to treat the problem, while others may need prescription medication. Over-the-counter treatments are available and can help control sweating. You should see a doctor if you are experiencing night sweats and think you may have hyperhidrosis. Untreated hyperhidrosis can lead to heat rash, bacterial infections, and finger and toenail infections. Hyperhidrosis has a psychological impact on the patient's confidence, social life, and relationships.

2. Exercise

Exercise is a common cause of night sweats in men. Sweating is the body's way of cooling down. Sweating during or after exercise is normal, but if night sweats interfere with your sleep, you may have exercise-associated night sweats.

Three tips should help prevent exercise-associated night sweats. First, make sure you drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after exercise. Second, wear light clothing and avoid exercising in hot weather. Third, try taking a cool shower or bath before bedtime if you're sweating heavily at night. Exercise and sleep are closely related because regular exercise may help you sleep better.

3. Low Testosterone Levels

Low testosterone levels are a common cause of night sweats in men. Testosterone is the hormone that regulates sexual function, sperm production, and muscle mass. When testosterone levels are low, men may experience night sweats, decreased sex drive, changes in mood, and weight gain.

One of the most common causes of low testosterone levels is aging. Certain health conditions can cause low testosterone levels, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and sleep apnea. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing night sweats and think you may have low testosterone levels. The doctor can do a blood test to determine if your testosterone levels are low. If your testosterone levels are low, your doctor may prescribe testosterone replacement therapy, which should ease night sweats.

4. Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can trigger night sweats in men. When a person experiences high levels of stress, their body's natural response is to release adrenaline. Adrenaline is a hormone that can cause the body to sweat, even when you sleep. Speaking with a doctor or therapist should help if you're having trouble managing stress or anxiety. Many techniques can help you navigate these feelings, and it's important to get help if you're struggling. Night sweats should stop soon after you manage your stress and anxiety.

5. Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can cause night sweats in men. Pauses in breathing or shallow breaths characterize sleep apnea during sleep. These pauses can last for seconds or minutes and can occur up to 30 times per hour. Sleep apnea has a significant impact on sleep quality and can cause daytime fatigue. Sleep apnea can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Treatment for sleep apnea includes lifestyle changes, BiPAP and CPAP machines, and surgery. You should stop having night sweats due to sleep apnea once you treat the disorder.

6. Medications

Common medications that may cause night sweats in men are antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and cancer chemotherapy drugs. Talk to your doctor if you're taking medication and are experiencing excessive sweating at night. They may ‌prescribe a different medication that doesn't cause this side effect. If you're unable to take an alternative medication, your doctor may be able to adjust your dose or change the time of day you take the medication. It’s known that medication and sleep are related because some pills can keep you up or have serious side effects. You should stop having night sweats once you find a medication that doesn't cause side effects like night sweats.

Causes of Night Sweats in Men

7. Infections

Men can experience night sweats because of an infection. Infections that may cause night sweats are tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and mononucleosis. If you are experiencing night sweats and have recently been ill, it's important to see your doctor to rule out an infection as the cause. Treatments vary depending on the particular infection, but many solutions are available. Infections are treatable with medications that your doctor can prescribe. Night sweats should stop after you treat the infection that's causing them.

8. Cancer

Cancer is a potential cause of night sweats in men. Cancers that may cause night sweats include lymphoma, leukemia, and brain tumors. If you’re experiencing unexplained night sweats, consult with your primary care doctor. Cancer is treatable, but the earlier it's discovered, the better the prognosis. Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy may also lead to night sweats. If your treatment is causing night sweats, consult with your doctor to find ways to help you feel more comfortable.

9. Neurological Conditions

Certain neurological conditions can trigger night sweats in men. These conditions include multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, neuromuscular disorders, autism, cerebral palsy, and ADD. You should see your doctor if you're experiencing night sweats and have a neurological condition. Many neurological conditions are congenital, which means they emerge before birth. Neurological disorders often can't be cured but are treatable with medications. The right treatment prescribed by your doctor can help reduce night sweats.

10. Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism is a relatively rare condition, but it can cause night sweats. Additional hyperthyroidism symptoms are weight loss, increased appetite, and anxiety. The treatments for hyperthyroidism include medication and surgery. If you're experiencing night sweats and have other symptoms of hyperthyroidism, speak to your doctor. Hyperthyroidism is a treatable condition, and the right treatment should help reduce night sweats.

11. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a condition that occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. GERD is a reason why some men experience night sweats. GERD is a relatively common condition. GERD symptoms include heartburn, chest pain, regurgitation, and night sweats. Treatment for GERD includes lifestyle changes, medications, and surgery. Sleep and GERD are closely related because the disease can make it hard to fall asleep. Treating GERD should reduce the frequency of night sweats.

How to Treat Night Sweats in Males

The best way to treat night sweats in males is to identify why they happen. Once you determine the cause, you can find the appropriate treatment. There are several at-home ways to help treat night sweats. First, drink plenty of fluids during the day to keep your body cool and hydrated. Second, ventilate your room by using a fan or keeping your window open. Third, try showering before bed and applying antiperspirant. A clinical-strength antiperspirant will create a protective layer across your sweat glands to mitigate sweating.

When to Talk to Your Doctor if You Have Night Sweats

Talk to your doctor if you have night sweats that stop you from getting a good night’s sleep. Night sweats are mostly uncomfortable, but if they affect your sleep quality, they can be harmful to your health and well-being. A doctor will help identify the reason behind your night sweats and suggest the best treatment.

What are the Tips to Reduce Night Sweats?

There are several tips on reducing night sweats. The tips to reduce night sweats are listed below.

  • Create a cool sleeping environment
  • Get a cooling mattress
  • Avoid eating spicy foods
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Use an antiperspirant 
Editor

Jill Zwarensteyn is the Editor for Sleep Advisor and a Certified Sleep Science Coach. She is enthusiastic about providing helpful and engaging information on all things sleep and wellness.

Based in Los Angeles, she is an experienced writer and journalist who enjoys spending her free time at the beach, hiking, reading, or exploring new places around town.

She’s also an avid traveler who has a personal goal of being able to successfully sleep on an airplane someday.

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