The circadian rhythm relies heavily on the body’s temperature. Our body temperature fluctuates during the day, which is linked to our sleep-wake cycles. During the hours preceding up to bedtime, we undergo a natural decrease in core body temperature, and this continues after we have fallen asleep. Before and during sleep, the temperature of the skin rises significantly. Temperature regulation occurs throughout the night as our bodies work to keep our body temperature within a specific range. Shivering is a good way to warm up if we are too chilly. When we’re overheated, sweating helps us cool down.
These thermoregulation processes cause us to awaken when the equilibrium between heat and cold is knocked out of whack. Getting out of bed in the middle of the night and waking up in a state of extreme discomfort is never pleasant. Sleeping in an atmosphere that is too hot or too cold might cause this.
There are times when the shivers and the perspiration are not related to thermoregulation; rather, they may be caused by something else entirely.
What are night sweats?
Night sweats are a prevalent complaint among patients seen by primary care physicians. Sweating excessively at night is referred to as “night sweats.” It’s natural to sweat as you sleep if your room is abnormally warm or if you’re wearing too many layers. Doctors use the term “severe hot flashes” to differentiate between night sweats that are caused by medical conditions and those that are the result of an overheated atmosphere, which can saturate sleepwear and sheets.
Many people have the impression that they sweat excessively at night, based on a survey of 2267 patients who saw a primary care physician.
Flushing (a redness and warmth of the face or body) can also be difficult to differentiate from night sweats, so it’s crucial to be aware of these other possibilities.
How do Shivering and Sweating affect your Sleep?
When we’re cold, our bodies shudder in an effort to generate extra heat and keep us toasty warm. The opposite is true when we’re hot. The evaporation of sweat cools us down because it removes heat from our bodies.
Body temperature abnormalities can cause shivering and sweating, which are both acceptable responses.
Wakefulness can be triggered by extreme shivering or sweating.
- A lack of rest.
- Overwhelming drowsiness during the day.
- Anxiety and irritability.
- An increase in feelings.
What are other signs and symptoms of night sweats?
If the source of the night sweats is not clear, other symptoms may accompany the sweating. For instance:
- Certain malignancies and infections.
- Having a fever might cause shaking and chills.
- Lymphoma-related weight loss that cannot be explained.
- Symptoms of menopause such as night sweats, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and mood changes are often associated with the menopause transition.
- Drug-induced night sweats may be accompanied by other prescription adverse effects, depending on the specific drug.
- Conditions that cause excessive sweating in general (as opposed to only night sweats) will also cause excessive sweating throughout the day.
Causes of Shivering at Night
Make sure the temperature in your room isn’t too low and that you have enough blankets on hand if you live in a cold area.
Even so, if you wake up shivering at night, here are some possibilities:
Chills are a natural response that aids the body’s ability to fight off diseases, such as urinary tract infections, malaria, and pneumonia.
When muscles tense and relax, you shiver, increasing your body temperature and allowing the immune system to fight off the illness.
Menopause can cause both sweating and shivering due to the numerous hormonal changes it generates in the body. Menopausal chills frequently follow on the heels of hot flashes.
Shivering might be a sign of drug withdrawal. People typically experience the following symptoms when they reduce or stop using an addictive substance:
- Depression and irritability are the main causes of this.
- Consumption patterns altering.
- Mood alterations.
- Muscle aches.
- Sweating or shivering, depending on the situation.
Opioid withdrawal is frequently accompanied by shivering.
Consult your doctor before stopping an addictive substance to avoid unpleasant side effects that could lead to relapse.
Causes of Sweating at Night
When you get hot, your body produces perspiration, which acts as an evaporator, removing heat from your body.
It’s true that sweating cools the body, but excessive sweating might disrupt your sleep.
Multiple factors can lead to night sweats, such as:
Your body may heat up to kill pathogens like bacteria and viruses when fighting them off. Despite the fact that inflammation is a typical response, excessive perspiration can occur as a result.
Menopause is the termination of a woman’s menstrual cycle as a result of natural reasons. This is not a sickness, although it can cause a wide range of physical and mental symptoms.
Menopausal symptoms include hot flashes and nocturnal sweats.
The perspiration-inducing properties of some drugs have been documented. Antidepressants, for example, are frequently linked to night sweats in patients taking psychiatric medications.
Aspirin and acetaminophen, two common fever-reducing drugs, might produce excessive sweating at night.
Talk to your doctor if you’re getting hot and sweaty at night because of a medication you’re taking.
Night sweats can also be a sign of withdrawal from drugs like opiates.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
An upper airway obstruction can cause a person to have difficulty breathing. An enlarged tonsil or the tongue falling into the throat while sleeping may be the source of this obstruction.
Sleep apnea sufferers have the following symptoms:
- Snoring loudly
- I’m holding my breath
- Sleep deprivation as a result of sleep interruptions
- Breathing that makes a ruckus
- Daytime sleepiness that is excessive
In the long run, untreated obstructive sleep apnea can lead to depression and cardiovascular disease.
Excessive sweating can be caused by a variety of hormonal conditions. Your body’s ability to regulate temperature may be impaired if hormones are out of balance.
Here are a few conditions that may cause nighttime sweating:
- As a result, hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland generates an excessive amount of thyroxine.
- Pheochromocytoma, a non-cancerous tumor on the adrenal glands, can change hormone levels.
- Many of the symptoms of carcinoid syndrome, which is caused by malignant tumors, include night sweats.
Excessive nocturnal sweating might be a symptom of hypoglycemia. Sleep deprivation and drug wear-off can cause night sweats even when medications are being used.
The risk of hypoglycemia is higher for those with diabetes who take insulin medicines. The following factors can also raise your risk of experiencing a low blood sugar level:
- Extreme physical activity.
- Strict calorie-restricted diets.
- Medication for some conditions.
Hypoglycemia can cause the following symptoms:
- Vision is distorted.
- Skin of a pale color.
- Mood alterations.
- I’m having trouble focusing.
- Seizures and comas.
If you suspect that you have hypoglycemia, contact your doctor immediately.
Night sweats might be brought on by cancerous tumors. Cancers such as breast, prostate, and lung are all linked to night sweats.
- Tumors of the carcinoid kind.
- Liver disease.
- Bone marrow cancer.
It is hypothesized that your body is attempting to fight back against some types of cancer, even if researchers don’t know why this is the case.
If you have cancer and have a fever, your body will overheat, causing you to perspire excessively at night.
Chemotherapy and other cancer therapies can potentially induce nocturnal sweats.
Night sweats can be brought on by any of the following conditions:
- It’s possible to suffer from autonomic dysreflexia if you injure your upper back or spinal cord. This is a life-threatening condition that necessitates medical attention right away.
- After a spinal cord injury, cerebrospinal fluid can build up in spinal cavities, resulting in syringomyelia.
- A stroke occurs when a person’s blood flow to a specific area of the brain is cut off, resulting in a medical emergency that requires immediate attention.
- This illness, known as autonomic neuropathy, affects the nerves that regulate automatic bodily activities such as digestion, blood pressure, and body temperature.
There is no time to waste when it comes to getting treatment for any of these disorders.
Your disease is idiopathic if your doctor is unable to identify a specific cause for night sweats.
How To Stop or Reduce Shivering and Sweating While Asleep
Shivering or sweating at night can have a recognized cause, in which case the treatment should target that underlying problem. Taking the following actions may help alleviate your nocturnal shivering or sweating if you are unsure of the cause.
- Adjust the temperature in your bedroom to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the ideal temperature for a good night’s sleep. If you’re constantly shivering or sweating at night, you may want to try raising or lowering the temperature in your room to see if it helps. To ensure a restful night’s sleep, make sure your mattress and bedding are able to regulate your body temperature effectively.
- Try adding more layers of clothes, such as socks, or blankets, if you’re shivering at night. Remove layers and sleep in loose, breathable clothing if you’re sweating.
- Place a fan in your bedroom to help chill you down, while taking a hot water bottle or heating pad to bed will keep you warm.
- Fever is a sign that you may have an infection, so be sure to check your temperature. Rest and hydrate yourself at home. Fever symptoms may be alleviated by taking a sponge bath in lukewarm water. There are other over-the-counter fever-reducing medicines.
Tips to Reduce Sweating or Shivering at Night
Anxiety, depression, and increased daytime sleepiness are all possible side effects of night sweats or chills.
To have a decent night’s sleep, you’ll need to take steps to alleviate your symptoms.
A few tips to aid you with the same are provided below:
Adjust the Room Temperature
To avoid excessive perspiration, reduce the temperature in your room.
Temperature up your room and wrap yourself in blankets if you’re feeling cold.
As a general rule, you should keep your room temperature between 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit in order to have a good night’s rest.
Get Cooling Gel Pillows
Memory foam is a common filler for cooling gel pillows. In contrast to typical pillows, cooling gel pillows do not store heat and do not pass it back to us.
In addition, the memory foam filling conforms to your neck’s specific needs.
Follow Good Sleep Hygiene
As a result of these symptoms, effective sleep hygiene is essential if you want to get a better night’s sleep.
Here are some pointers to get you started:
- Even if you’re shivering, it’s a good idea to wear loose-fitting clothing to bed.
- Spending a few minutes meditation can help you unwind your mind. You’ll fall asleep as your body relaxes as your mind does.
- To lose weight and tone up, it’s important to keep up a regular workout regimen.
- Stress and anxiety can be reduced by just writing down and exploring your thoughts in a diary.
- To improve your sleep hygiene, stick to a regular bedtime and wake-up time. Your body will get used to sleeping at a specific hour if you stick to a routine.
Is This Dangerous? When Should You See a Doctor?
The majority of the time, midnight shivering or sweating is not harmful and does not warrant concern. Your doctor should be seen if your symptoms occur frequently or do not improve with modifications in your bedroom temperature and bedding. It is important for your doctor to know how often you shiver and how severe your sweating is, along with any other connected symptoms. Diagnostic testing may also be recommended by your doctor to help identify or rule out an underlying health problem.
Make an appointment with your doctor if you’re experiencing severe night sweats and chills because of a fever that’s higher than 103 degrees Fahrenheit, lasts more than three days, or is accompanied by symptoms like headache, stiff neck, chest pain, rash, or swelling of the throat.
Diagnosing the cause of night sweats
In order to find out what’s causing your night sweats, your doctor will employ a variety of techniques. These are some examples:
- describing your signs and symptoms, medical history, and current medications.
- reviewing your ancestry.
- examining a patient’s health.
- Inquiring about any underlying health condition using laboratory or imaging studies.
When a medical issue necessitating expert care is suspected, your doctor may recommend that you seek treatment from a specialist.