What Is The Mechanism Of Sweating?

Sweating is the body's natural way of cooling itself. This mechanism starts to work especially in a hot environment and while an individual is involved in physical exertion, although it is seen in some cases that an individual sweats while asleep which can be very discomforting and unusual. Sweating in the body takes place due to two types of sweat glands in the body, one is the apocrine glands and the other is the eccrine gland. The apocrine gland works when the body is emotionally stimulated like when an individual has sweaty palms due to nervousness etc. The eccrine glands work when the atmosphere is hot outside and its function is to cool the body down. When one speaks of sweating while sleeping, both the apocrine and the eccrine glands are responsible for it. The body has a structure inside called as hypothalamus which controls the body temperature and activates and deactivates the sweat gland whenever required to control the body temperature. Certain bacterial and viral infections can increase the body temperature causing fever while certain classes of medications, menopause, and some infectious diseases also trigger production of sweats.

What Causes Sweating While Sleeping?

It is very discomforting and unusual for an individual to sweat while sleeping but to find out the cause of the sweating it is necessary to explore all the possibilities that may be causing the person to sweat while sleeping.

Sweating While Sleeping

Sweating Due To Atmospheric Conditions: The first thing to consider is the atmospheric temperature in which the person goes to sleep. If it is really hot outside then it is quite normal for a person to sweat while asleep especially in hot and humid conditions. Other possibility to look for is the clothing a person wears at night while going to bed and whether the person is using heavy blankets and clothing despite the hot weather.

Overall Health: The next possibility is to find out if there has been any change in the health status of the person. It is important to note if the diet has changed in any way or if the person is feeling lethargic or excessively fatigued. If a person is having flu like condition or any bacteria infection then it can lead to sweating while sleeping.

Hot Flashes: This is one more cause of a person seating while asleep. This is more common in menopausal females who suffer from frequent hot flashes but even some males who are on drugs given to block testosterone or drugs given for prostate cancer can also suffer from hot flashes. Men who are testosterone deficient also suffer from hot flashes which can cause sweating while sleeping.

What Can Be Other Reasons For Sweating While Sleeping?

As stated above, medications given for prostate cancer play a major role in causing sweating while sleeping but those are not the only classes of medications that cause this problem. There are other classes of medications as well which can cause this problem by raising the heart rate resulting in the vessels to dilate causing heavy sweating.

The most common medications which produce sweats at night are anti-fever medications. An individual suffering from flu like symptoms usually takes aspirin or Tylenol which are quite effective in treating the symptoms but in turn they cause sweating while sleeping. Antidepressants are other classes of medications that cause sweating while sleeping.

If an individual is suffering from diseases like tuberculosis or AIDS then he or she can also have sweats while sleeping. An individual suffering from Hodgkin's lymphoma is also prone to having sweats at night.

Another common cause for sweating while sleeping is drinking alcohol. Studies have shown that drinking alcohol before bedtime results in poor nights sleep and make an individual prone to sweating at night.

Studies have shown that eating spicy food at night is yet another cause for sweating at night while sleeping.

A medical condition called as sleep hyperhidrosis also known as night sweats is known to cause excessive sweating, although this condition is pretty rare in the United States. An individual can have hyperhidrosis if all other conditions responsible for causing sweating at night has been ruled out.

Treatment For Sweating While Sleeping

There are quite a few medications available in the market to treat problems of sweating while sleeping. There are also quite a few natural ways to cope up with sweating while sleeping.

Maintaining Adequate Temperature: The first thing to do is to maintain an adequate temperature to sleep at night so that it is not unusually warm, especially during the summer season. Physicians recommend an adequate temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit for sleeping but this temperature may differ from individual to individual. Also the type of mattress that an individual uses and the night clothing makes a difference while sleeping and light clothing is recommended in warmer weather to avoid excessive sweating.

Psychological Factors: It is also important to minimize psychologic factors which may cause excessive sweating like stress and anxiety, as they are common causes of excessive sweating while sleeping.

Androgen and Testosterone Deprivation: Individuals who are Androgen and testosterone deficient can take black cohosh tea or black cohosh supplements to help with the sweating. Black cohosh is quite a common herbal medication used in the United States and helps with numerous diseases.

Herbal Remedies: Herbal medications like Sage Tea and Motherwort are also found to be helpful for treating Sweating While Sleeping. Sage Tea produces a calming effect and cuts down the nervousness factor significantly and helps with stress. Motherwort is also a herb which helps to calm down the nerves and improves blood circulation thus helping with sweating at night.

Antiperspirants: They can also be used to cut down the production of sweat and thus help with excessive sweating.

Treating Hyperhidrosis: For cases of hyperhidrosis where antiperspirants cannot be useful then physicians prescribe medication like Drysol. It is used by applying it especially over the areas where sweat is produced excessively like armpits, feet, hands. There may be a side effect of skin irritation with Drysol which needs to be taken care of. Also prescribed by physicians is another medication called Robinul which prevents secretion of fluids in the body. A more novel way of treating excessive sweating has been use of Botox injections.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: March 25, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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