Many women associate night sweats with the approach of menopause, and while this can be true—night sweats are a common pre-menopausal symptom—there are other common night sweats causes in men and younger women. And it happens more than you think—night sweats have been reported by 10 to 40 percent of adults . So if it’s not menopause, what is it? And how can you prevent it?
One common cause of night sweats is anxiety. Anxiety can activate your fight-or-flight response, increasing body temperature and leading your body to sweat to cool off. If you are feeling anxious before bed or during the night, this could be causing your sweats.
For women, your period may also play a role. During a woman’s regular menstrual cycle, estrogen levels are notably low during the first week and days 26 to 28, lowering the body’s thermoneutral zone and making it harder for your body to regulate temperature. If your sweats occur periodically, try to take note of how this lines up with your cycle.
Your dietary habits can also be influencing your cold sweats at night. Blood sugar imbalances caused by too much sugar or refined carbs and too little protein and fiber can trigger the production of adrenaline and cortisol, leading to sweating while you sleep. Try having a tablespoon of almond butter before bed to help regulate your blood sugar overnight.
Finally, your night sweats could simply be a side effect of new medication or increased alcohol consumption. If you’ve recently started a new medication or are drinking more than usual, this could be the culprit.
Dr. Robin Berzin is the founder and CEO of Parsley Health. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Robin completed medical school at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and trained in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.