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Temperature is an important part of circadian rhythm. Our body temperature undergoes a daily cycle that correlates with sleep-wake patterns. We experience a natural reduction in core body temperature during the hours leading up to bedtime, and this continues after we fall asleep.
At the same time, skin temperature increases before and during sleep. Throughout the night, our bodies engage in thermoregulation, which involves physical processes that maintain our body temperature within a narrow range. If we are too cold, shivering helps to warm us up. If we are too warm, sweating releases heat.
Sometimes, the balance between hot and cold is thrown off to the point where these thermoregulation processes cause us to wake up. Waking up shivering cold or hot and sweaty is never a comfortable experience. This can happen due to the sleep environment being too cold or too warm. However, shivering and sweating are sometimes unrelated to thermoregulation; instead, they may be the result of another underlying cause.
Other possible causes include:. Sleeping in a bedroom that is too warm, wearing too many layers, or covering yourself with too much bedding can cause you to sweat at night. There are a of other potential causes of night sweats :. Other causes of night sweats include canceracid refluxhyperthyroidism obesity, low blood sugar, and other infections, such as tuberculosis and HIV. For people who have a known cause of their nighttime shivering or sweating, the treatment should focus on the underlying condition.
If you are unsure of the cause of your nighttime shivers or sweats, try taking the following steps to see if they help. In most cases, nighttime shivering or sweating is not dangerous and is not cause for alarm. Your doctor will collect information from you about the frequency and severity of your shivering or sweating, along with other related symptoms.
Your doctor may also recommend diagnostic testing to diagnose or rule out an underlying condition. If you have chills and night sweats due to a fever, make sure to speak with a doctor if your temperature reaches degrees Fahrenheit, if you have a fever lasting longer than three days, or the fever is associated with symptoms such as headache, stiff neck, chest pain, rash, or severe throat swelling.
Alexa Fry is a science writer with experience working for the National Cancer Institute. She also holds a certificate in technical writing. Wright, M. She has a decade of experience in the study of disease. Terminology about sleep can be confusing. Our sleep dictionary clearly explains common sleep terms so that you can better understand….
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It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. The Sleep Foundation editorial team is dedicated to providing content that meets the highest standards for accuracy and objectivity. Our editors and medical experts rigorously evaluate every article and guide to ensure the information is factual, up-to-date, and free of bias. Updated June 24, Written by Alexa Fry. Medically Reviewed by Heather Wright. When Should You See a Doctor? Other possible causes include: Infection : Fevers are the consequence of an immune system reaction to an infection, including bacterial and viral infections.
Menopause : Menopause is when a woman stops menstruating permanently.
The transition to menopause involves hormonal changes that often cause symptoms, including cold chillswhich may happen on their own or may occur after a hot flash. General anesthesia : General anesthesia is used to put patients to sleep during surgery so that they do not feel pain.
Drug withdrawal : Withdrawal symptoms can occur when stopping or reducing use of a drug. Cold flashes with goosebumps are a possible symptom of prescription opioid withdrawal. Causes of Sweating at Night Sleeping in a bedroom that is too warm, wearing too many layers, or covering yourself with too much bedding can cause you to sweat at night.
There are a of other potential causes of night sweats : Infection : Bacterial and viral infections often cause fevers, and sweating frequently occurs with a fever. Menopause: The most common symptom of menopause is hot flashes, which can occur at night and cause night sweats. In the premenopausal state, hormonal fluctuations during certain periods of the menstrual cycle can also lead to night sweats.
Medications: Some drugs increase sweating as a side effect, including certain antidepressants, opioids, and cancer treatment drugs.
Also, withdrawal from drugs, such as opioidscan cause sweating. Obstructive sleep apnea : A research study found that up to one-third of individuals with obstructive sleep apnea experience frequent night sweats. An association between other sleep-related disorders such as RLS and night sweats has also been suggested.
Alcohol : Higher alcohol use has been correlated with night and day sweating. Additionally, sweating is a known symptom of alcohol withdrawal. Anxiety : Research suggests that panic attacks may be associated with night sweats. Get the latest information in sleep from our newsletter. Your privacy is important to us.
Was this article helpful? Yes No. Heather Wright Pathologist MD. Harding, E. The Temperature Dependence of Sleep. Frontiers in neuroscience, 13, Office on Women's Health. Menopause symptoms and relief. Lopez M. Postanaesthetic shivering - from pathophysiology to prevention. Romanian journal of anaesthesia and intensive care, 25 173— National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Commonly Abused Drugs and Withdrawal Symptoms. Cheshire, W. Drug-induced hyperhidrosis and hypohidrosis: incidence, prevention and management. Drug safety, 31 2— Medical Encyclopedia. Opiate and opioid withdrawal. Arnardottir, E. Nocturnal sweating--a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea: the Icelandic sleep apnoea cohort. BMJ open, 3 5e Mold, J. The Journal of family practice, 51 5— National Cancer Institute. Symptoms of Cancer. Viera, A. Diagnosing night sweats.
American family physician, 67 5— Learn more about The Bedroom Environment.Hot times on cold night
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