Why Do I Sweat In My Sleep When It’s Cold?

Why Do I Sweat In My Sleep When It’s Cold?

Sweating in your sleep when it’s cold, also known as night sweats, can be a perplexing and frustrating experience. This can occur due to a variety of reasons including anxiety, hormonal imbalances, certain medications, or underlying health conditions. Understanding the root causes can help identify potential solutions to ensure a more comfortable sleep.

The Physiology of Sweating

Sweating is a natural process the body uses to regulate temperature. When the body overheats, sweat glands produce moisture, which then evaporates and cools the skin. This is an essential function to prevent overheating. However, night sweats can occur even in a cold environment, suggesting that factors beyond external temperature are at play.

Hormonal Imbalances

One common reason for night sweats is hormonal changes. Hormones play a crucial part in regulating body temperature. For instance, during menopause, women may experience hot flashes and night sweats due to fluctuating estrogen levels. Similarly, men with low testosterone levels might experience night sweats. Thyroid issues, such as hyperthyroidism, can also cause excessive sweating regardless of the surrounding temperature.

Anxiety and Stress

Emotional states like anxiety and stress can significantly impact your body’s ability to regulate temperature. Stress triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone that helps the body manage stress but can also increase metabolism, leading to a rise in body temperature. This can cause night sweats even when the room is cool. People with anxiety disorders often experience this more frequently.


Certain medications can cause night sweats as a side effect. Antidepressants, hormone therapy drugs, and medications for diabetes are among those that can disrupt normal sweat patterns. If night sweats coincide with the start of a new medication, it may be a good idea to discuss this with your healthcare provider.

Infections and Illnesses

Infections such as tuberculosis or HIV can cause night sweats, often as a result of the body’s attempt to fight off the infection. Other illnesses, including certain cancers like lymphoma, might also have night sweats as one of their symptoms. It’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional if night sweats are frequent, intense, or accompanied by other symptoms like fever or unexplained weight loss.

Sleep Environment and Bedding

Even if the room temperature is cold, your bedding and sleepwear can still contribute to overheating. Heavy blankets or pajamas made from synthetic materials can trap heat and moisture, leading to night sweats. Switching to breathable fabrics like cotton or moisture-wicking materials can help alleviate this problem.

Food and Drink

What you consume before bedtime can also affect your night sweat levels. Spicy foods or hot beverages can increase your core body temperature, leading to nighttime sweating. Alcohol and caffeine can have similar effects, as they can cause blood vessels to dilate, increasing body heat.

Underlying Health Conditions

There are several health conditions that might contribute to night sweats, regardless of the ambient temperature. Conditions such as sleep apnea, where breathing stops and starts during sleep, can lead to night sweats due to the body’s stress response. Chronic conditions like diabetes can cause night sweats due to glucose regulation issues. Even GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) can contribute to night sweats due to the discomfort and body strain it causes.

Improving Your Sleep Environment

While some causes of night sweats are related to health conditions and may require medical treatment, improving your sleep environment can often provide relief. Keep your bedroom cool, ideally between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius). Ensure good air circulation with a fan or open window if possible.

Opt for light layers of bedding and wear loose, breathable clothing to bed. Moisture-wicking sheets and pillowcases can also help keep you dry throughout the night.

Lifestyle Modifications

Certain lifestyle changes can help reduce the frequency and severity of night sweats. Regular exercise can regulate body temperature and reduce stress, but try to avoid vigorous activity right before bedtime as it can temporarily raise your body temperature. Keeping a regular sleep schedule and practicing good sleep hygiene can also promote better sleep and reduce night sweats.

Limiting the intake of alcohol and caffeine, especially in the hours leading up to bed, can make a significant difference. These substances can interfere with your body’s natural temperature regulation, making night sweats more likely.

Consulting a Healthcare Professional

If night sweats persist despite making these adjustments, it may be time to speak with a healthcare professional. They can conduct a thorough evaluation to determine the underlying cause of your night sweats and recommend appropriate treatment options. Sometimes simple blood tests or other diagnostic procedures can reveal issues like hormonal imbalances or infections that might be contributing to the problem.

In some cases, medication or other medical interventions may be necessary to address the underlying issue causing your night sweats. For example, if an infection is causing your symptoms, antibiotics may be required. If hormonal imbalances are the issue, hormone replacement therapy might be an option.

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Finishing Thoughts

Night sweats can be particularly frustrating when they occur even in a cold environment. Several factors like hormonal imbalances, stress, medications, and underlying health conditions can contribute to this issue. Improving your sleep environment and making certain lifestyle changes can alleviate many cases of night sweats. However, persistent problems should be evaluated by a healthcare professional to identify and treat any underlying conditions. Understanding the reasons behind your night sweats is the first step towards achieving a comfortable, uninterrupted night’s sleep.


  • Ashton Roberts

    I love learning and sharing everything about sleep. I am one of the energetic editors here at GoodSleepHub, where I talk about how to get a better night's sleep. When I'm not writing, I'm probably walking my dog Luna or trying out new sleeping gadgets. My goal is to help you sleep easier and better. Join me, and let's find simple ways to enjoy great sleep every night!

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