A result of the reaction of your body to certain stimuli and emotions, waking up in a cold sweat is unpleasant and can sometimes be a symptom of a serious condition, including hormonal issues, circulatory issues and even tuberculosis. If you experience cold sweats on a regular basis, talk to your doctor. In the meantime, you can help prevent and treat your night sweats for a better night's sleep.
The phenomenon sometimes referred to as "night sweats" can sometimes occur as a result of stress. In response to stress and anxiety, adrenaline is triggered in the body. Since your nervous system can't differentiate between the reasons for experiencing adrenaline, this activates the sweat glands to help cool off your body. If stress is the reason for your night sweats, practice stress management activities before bed, such as a warm bath or meditation. This can help calm your anxiety to prevent adrenaline from ruining your sleep.
Pain has a similar effect on your nervous system as stress. When you experience pain, such as pain from a headache, your body attempts to manage manage that pain with hormones such as adrenaline and endorphins. These hormones can also trigger the sweat glands. To stop pain-related cold sweats, ensure that your pain is well managed before bed. You may require medication before sleep as well as other pain management tactics, such as heat therapy and massage.
Perimenopause and menopause can cause fluctuations in hormones, which in turn can lead to fluctuations in body temperature. During perimenopause, you may find that while one minute, you're hot, the next you're cold, resulting in the unpleasant cold sweat sensation. Your doctor may prescribe hormone replacement therapy to help ease the transition and give you a better night's sleep.
Certain diseases, including HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, can be responsible for ongoing cold sweats. It's important that you see your doctor if you've ruled out less serious causes. You may require medical intervention to help manage your symptoms, and only your doctor can diagnose or treat serious diseases that can cause cold sweats.
- American Academy of Family Physicians; Diagnosing Night Sweats; Anthony Viera, et al.; March 2003
- "The Journey to Pain Relief"; A Hands-On Guide to Breakthroughs in Pain Treatment"; Phyllis Berger; 2007