People suffering night sweats usually find themselves waking up in the night to find their bedclothes and bedding drenched, even if their room temperature is cool. This is a common complaint stopping our nation from getting a good night's sleep.
Medically known as Hyperhidrosis, this literally means "night time excessive sweating". Night sweats are a very annoying problem but are normally harmless.
However, sometimes they are a sign of underlying problems so it's a good idea to see your GP if you feel worried.
For now though, here are some of the causes of night sweats and some remedies that might help.
Symptoms and causes
It is important to check for fever, unintentional weight loss and fatigue with night sweats as these symptoms should not be overlooked. However, if you don't suffer any other symptoms then it's unlikely your problem is linked to anything sinister.*
One possible cause of night sweats is the menopause. If you're aged over 40 and can't sleep for hours at night because of abnormal sweating, hot flushes might be your problem.
Another thing to note is that some medication can trigger sweats in people. For example anti-depressants, aspirin and the steroid drug prednisolone are known as causes.* This is something to consider with your doctor if you are taking regular medication.
Hormone disorders such as having an overactive thyroid gland can also cause night sweats. But the most common cause (surprisingly) is acid reflux. This is a completely unexplained cause, but it has been identified in a fifth of sufferers. Interestingly not all of them even had the typical symptoms of heartburn or indigestion.**
There may still be no identifiable cause for your night sweats, and it could just be one of those things that happens now and then. But with such busy days the last thing we need is tiredness from a poor night's sleep. We've put some tips together to help you out in this situation.
Although there is no absolute cure for night sweats, there are things you can do to get a better sleep.
1. Wear light clothing - loose fitting, light clothes are best to sleep in if you suffer from night sweats. Natural fabrics like cotton are more breathable, so even if you do sweat it wont cause as much discomfort.
2. Don't stress - to prevent sweating because of anxiety during the night, try practicing yoga, deep breathing or meditation. Or indulge in any activity that makes you feel relaxed. Our resident sleep expert Dr Nerina says that winding down properly before getting into bed is crucial to helping you sleep better. Nerina says: "you are more likely to access efficient deep sleep if you allow your body and mind to relax than if you rush into bed feeling anxious - so even delay going to bed if necessary."
3. Eat the right kinds of food for dinner - fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, soy and fish are known to have a cooling effect on the body. On the other hand, spicy foods, onion, garlic, caffeine and alcohol should be avoided. Dr Nerina's top tip is to have a glass of milk before bed, as this is a great way to induce sleep.
4. Silentnight Geltex mattress - these mattresses feature a unique gel infused comfort layer which delivers triple benefits - one of these being unparalleled breathability. Geltex has an open cell structure allowing air to pass through easily, preventing the body from overheating. This is as well as providing optimal body support and pressure relief. A Geltex mattress could help you to get the ultimate sleep experience.