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What is the Connection Between Stress and Night Sweats?

By Henry Gaudet
Updated May 17, 2024
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Stress and night sweats often go together, and either condition might be the cause of the other. Anxiety and stress is a common cause of night sweats, especially in men. On the other hand, night sweats can disturb sleep and can be a source of distress. In most cases, treatment of night sweats requires the treatment of stress and anxiety as well.

Night sweats involve profuse sweating and might be severe enough to dampen bedclothes and pajamas. Sleep becomes uncomfortable on wet sheets, and chills become likely. When night sweats are severe, changing sheets, pillowcases or even clothes might be required in the middle of the night. Naturally, this activity is a huge disruption in itself, making relaxation and the return to sleep difficult. Additionally, worry over future bouts of night sweats and the associated difficulties can lead to further anxiety and sleeplessness.

Several conditions and factors might be responsible for night sweats and their associated anxiety, and additional factors might contribute to their frequency and severity. Environmental factors such as room temperature can lead to stress and night sweats, and simple measures such as resetting the thermostat might be enough to control night sweats. In other cases, some medications may list night sweats as a side effect, and other medications might heighten anxiety. Hormonal shifts during menopause also might be responsible for stress as well as night sweats. Night sweats have also been linked to some serious medical conditions, but often, night sweats are the result of stress.

Anxiety is one of the most common causes of night sweats, particularly in men. Stress makes disturbed sleep more likely, and this distress during sleep causes the night sweats. Even when other factors are responsible for causing the condition, high levels of stress are likely to increase the severity of night sweats.

Many treatments and techniques are recommended to relieve both stress and night sweats. Reducing caffeine intake is often helpful in reducing both conditions. Stress relief techniques such as meditation and exercise also might reduce the severity and frequency of night sweats.

When stress is not the primary cause of night sweats, treatment can become more difficult. For instance, when prescription medication side effects are responsible, medication should not simply be discontinued, but a doctor might be able to offer a similar prescription. Even in these cases, when stress is not the primary cause, reducing stress will often have a positive effect on night sweats, and recommendations for treating stress and night sweats are often synonymous.

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Discussion Comments
By clintflint — On Jul 06, 2013

@croydon - Sage tea is a well known and respected remedy for night sweats. It will stop anyone from sweating, so I imagine it could help to control them even if they are stress related.

Do be careful that your night sweats are not symptoms of something else though, like cancer or other problems. Taking sage tea will only stop the sweating, it won't actually help with anything else that might be wrong.

By croydon — On Jul 05, 2013

When my mother was going through menopause, some of her symptoms were hot flashes and night sweats and she absolutely loathed them. It got to the point where she was incredibly stressed in anticipation of getting them, which, of course, just made them worse.

I can definitely sympathize, as I know there's nothing worse than being repeatedly woken up when you need to sleep and it must have been embarrassing as well (not that I think it should have been!).

Eventually her doctor got her to try sage tea, which is essentially just dried sage in a tea bag, and that worked really well to stop her from sweating. I don't know if it's a placebo or not, but I'm glad it worked.

By Fa5t3r — On Jul 04, 2013

One of the problems with becoming fit is that I seem to sweat a lot more easily than I ever did before I became fit. Unfortunately, this means that whenever I get stressed, particularly before bed, I tend to wake up with a lot of sweat everywhere, which is quite gross and uncomfortable.

I've found that the best way to prevent it is to make sure I've completely de-stressed before going to bed. Everyone will have their own method for this, but I find that meditation is quite effective. I have to let go of everything that has been bothering me during the day and relax my mind and my body. Once I manage this, I sleep like a baby, although, sometimes, it's easier said than done.

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