What Are Common Causes of Cold Night Sweats?

Individuals who recently quit smoking may experience cold night sweats.
Dehydration, which can be caused by excessive drinking, can lead to headaches and night sweats.
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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2014
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Night sweats stop many women and men from getting a good night’s sleep. Some of the most common causes of night sweats include illness, hormonal imbalances, alcohol withdrawal, nicotine withdrawal, stress and anxiety. Certain vascular disorders also commonly cause cold night sweats.

Cold night sweats are characterized by profuse sweating despite the average or cool temperature of the environment. People experiencing cold sweats may also shiver, display blue lips and chattering teeth, each of which are symptoms commonly associated with extreme cold. Night sweats and chills can happen to women and men, and may strike a person at any age depending on the underlying cause.

The causes of night sweats may more specifically involve a range of disorders and illness, such as HIV or AIDS, cancer, tuberculosis and endocarditis, which occurs when the heart’s valves become inflamed. Night sweats may also be a reaction to stressful thoughts or dreams, as well as the fear and anxiety often provoked by these mental concerns. Individuals who have abruptly stopped using addictive substances are also likely to experience night sweats, as well as increased levels of stress and anxiety while experiencing the physical and mental withdrawal process.

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Night sweats in women are frequently associated with the onset of menopause as a woman matures. During this time in a woman’s life, estrogen is rapidly declining and the physical effects of this biological change become evident through symptoms like night sweats and mood changes. Such night sweats are due to irregular temperature sensations arising in a woman’s body even though a room’s temperature may be at an average or below average setting.

Cold night sweats in men and women may also be due to incidences of low blood sugar. Diabetics frequently experience cold sweats in tandem with other symptoms commonly associated with this disease. As blood sugar levels are more properly regulated and maintained, however, night sweats become less frequent.

Vascular disease is a leading cause of cold night sweats. Often, the onset of night sweats is sudden and is accompanied by intense discomfort and pain. One particular vascular condition known to cause this symptom is an aortic dissection. This is a life-threatening condition caused by a tear in the aorta, which interrupts blood flow and causes a variety of painful symptoms, including night sweats.

Pneumonia is known to be a major cause of cold night sweats and chills in some individuals. Besides profuse sweating, a person with this particular illness is also likely to experience a shortness of breath, a congested cough, fatigue and clammy skin. Some people may also experience a high fever while reporting feelings of being very cold. Despite having a higher than normal body temperature, such a reaction is commonly reported by people with fevers.

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anon963831
Post 6

I wonder whether there is anything at all to be considered about if I am having only very mild cold sweats about three nights per week. I will wake and bed clothes are somewhat noticeably damp, but not truly wet. So should I just disregard it?

candyquilt
Post 5

Cold night sweats have many causes. A relative of mine had this symptom and was diagnosed with hepatitis soon after. Obviously, it's impossible to know the cause without proper medial testing.

stoneMason
Post 4

I have been experiencing cold night sweats for a while now, usually accompanied by nightmares. My doctor has linked them with post-traumatic stress disorder which I'm being treated for. Apparently, it's a major cause of night sweats in men and women.

I also have to keep extra pajamas by my bed to change into at night. Because when I wake up, I'm all wet but freezing, so there is no way I could fall asleep. Sometimes I have to get up and prepare a hot water bag so that I can warm up again. It's a very unpleasant feeling. I hope the cold sweats go away soon.

burcidi
Post 3

I caught a cold last week and had cold night sweats for days. It was unbelievable. Every night I was waking up with my shirt drenched, but feeling cold. I got through it by constant changing my clothes. I only wore 100% cotton to absorb the sweat. I had to do laundry like every other day, but I had no choice.

I also took cold medication and drank lots of herbal teas as my doctor directed. I had never experienced night sweats symptoms due to a cold before.

pollick
Post 2

I know what you mean about sweating so much after a dream, Buster29. My problem was bad anxiety attacks. I'd get nervous about something I had to do the next day and then try to sleep. I'd usually have a bad dream, then wake up in a pool of sweat. I finally went to a doctor about it and he prescribed some anti-anxiety medication. I can't say the night sweats have gone away completely, but most of the time I can shut off my brain at night and get some real sleep.

Buster29
Post 1

I hate getting night sweats, because everything I'm sleeping on gets soaked in sweat and becomes even more uncomfortable. Turning the heat down or up doesn't make much of a difference, either. I haven't had any bad attacks of night sweats lately, but I remember when I was younger I'd wake up from a bad dream and be soaking wet. I couldn't believe someone could sweat that much and not be overheated or anything. I'm glad this article mentioned a lot of the possible causes.

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