There could be several reasons why you are experiencing night sweats after exercise. More than likely, night sweats after a workout are due to hormonal issues, thyroid issues or even overtraining. It is always good to talk to your doctor to rule out serious problems.
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What Are Night Sweats?
If you have found yourself waking up at night drenched in sweat, it could be a cause for concern, especially if this is something new. According to the Cleveland Clinic, night sweats are repeated episodes of extreme perspiration that soaks your bedding or clothes and can be related to a medical condition.
You sweat because your blood vessels expand, which causes an increase in blood flow, and then they contract. This results in a wave of heat that causes sweating, flushed skin and a rapid heartbeat. Some people may also experience cold chills. Night sweats don't occur because your room is warm or you are under too many blankets.
In case you are also experiencing fever, weight loss, pain, cough, diarrhea or other concerning symptoms, see your doctor to rule out other conditions. If you are only experiencing night sweats after exercise, there could be several reasons why this is occurring.
Night Sweats After Exercise — Causes
Do you love doing a late-night run or riding your Peloton while watching the evening news? This could be causing your night sweats. Harvard Health Publishing recommends avoiding rigorous or high-intensity exercise, such as HIIT, for at least an hour before bedtime.
Exercise raises your core temperature, which triggers a hypothalamic response that causes you to sweat, according to the Center for Deployment Psychology. The sweating occurs when your temperature rises above a certain thermo-neutral zone. This threshold changes with your circadian rhythm. You are more likely to sweat at night because your body is trying to keep you cool.
If you are getting night sweats after exercise from doing your workout too close to bedtime, try to keep your room temperature between 60-67 degrees for optimal sleep conditions, advises the National Sleep Foundation.
For those experiencing night sweats after a marathon or intense exercise session, it could be due to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. This can occur from overtraining if you exercise hard without eating enough. Your blood sugar drops too low to give you energy, says the University of Michigan. The signs of hypoglycemia at night include drenching sweat, a headache or even nightmares.
Many times, something as simple as watching what you eat or drink before bedtime can reduce night sweats. According to the Cleveland Clinic, cigarette smoking and the consumption of alcohol, spicy foods or caffeine at night may trigger this symptom.
Women who are around the age of 50 and have absent or irregular menstrual periods may be experiencing night sweats due to menopause, not exercise, says the Mayo Clinic. Hormone therapy may help relieve these issues, but it has its share of side effects.
Medical Reasons for Night Sweats
If you only experience a night sweat after a marathon or an intense exercise session, it could be caused by the factors listed above. However, there are several other medical reasons behind night sweats.
Some medications may cause night sweats, notes the Mayo Clinic. These include antidepressants, steroids, high blood pressure medications, drugs used to treat diabetes and hormone-blocking drugs that treat some cancers.
Read more: Understanding the Causes of Night Sweats
Furthermore, any of the following conditions may cause night sweats, according to the Cleveland Clinic:
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
- Bacterial infections
- Colds, flu
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Panic disorder, anxiety
- Hormone diseases like diabetes, endocrine tumors
- Neurologic disorders
- Infectious diseases (tuberculosis, HIV)
- Substance abuse (alcohol, heroin, cocaine)
- Hyperhidrosis (excess sweat production without medical cause)
- Cancer, including leukemia and lymphoma
The good news is that almost all cases of night sweats are treatable, so talk to your doctor about your symptoms for treatment options.
Is This an Emergency?
- Cleveland Clinic: "Night Sweats and Women's Health: Possible Causes"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Does Exercising at Night Affect Sleep?"
- Center for Deployment Psychology: "Night Sweats - About Nocturnal Hyperhidrosis"
- National Sleep Foundation: "Men, Women and Sleep"
- University of Michigan: "Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar) in People Without Diabetes"
- Mayo Clinic: "Symptoms of Night Sweats"