Night Sweats: Common Causes and When to Be Concerned

Posted by Nichole Baxter on 8/6/18 1:54 PM

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night covered in sweat? Sometimes we can write off night sweats as a symptom of a fever, or stress-related. But when night sweats are reoccurring, it can be a real burden on day-to-day life. Family Medicine Nurse Practitioner, Lindy Chavez, NPC, who practices with Dignity Health Medical Group in Camarillo, has answered four important questions about night sweats. [Skip to Video]
  1. What medical conditions can cause night sweats?

Night sweats are a common symptom that we see a lot of in the primary care setting. There are several conditions that may cause it, but often times, there isn’t a real obvious reason for night sweats. They can occur somewhat randomly. Common causes vary in severity and can include: infection, acid reflux, certain medications, endocrine or neurological abnormalities, menopause, and more rarely, some forms of cancer.

  1. Are there lifestyle choices that could cause night sweats?

An overheated room or having too many bed coverings are often the simplest cause for night sweats. Make sure you wear comfortable breathable pajamas and avoid placing multiple blankets on the bed — especially during hot months. Most experts suggest setting the thermostat to 65-72 degrees Fahrenheit while you sleep, if possible.

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Daytime stress that disrupts sleep patterns may be a contributor to night sweats, too. Developing a good night-time routine for relaxation can aid in providing a more restful, stress-free night's sleep.

There aren't specific foods linked to night sweats, but I encourage patients to avoid any foods in the evening that cause overproduction of acid in the stomach, as this may worsen symptoms of acid reflux, a contributor to night sweats. Foods that cause an overproduction of acid include: citrus, tomato-based foods, chocolate, caffeine, and spicy or high-fat foods. Sometimes simple changes to your routine can help reduce the symptoms, if not all together alleviate them.

  1. If someone is experiencing night sweats, should they be worried?

Not necessarily. Night sweats can be brought on by a variety of reasons, and it is often difficult to determine the cause. If you are having unintentional weight loss, or  experiencing fatigue, fever, cough, shortness of breath, or palpitations along with night sweats, this may be indicative of a more serious underlying cause. 

  1. If someone with night sweats wants to find a cure, what should their first step be?

If you’re worried about your night sweats, talk with your primary health care provider about your symptoms. Your primary care provider will assist you in determining the necessary next steps, including narrowing down potential causes and working on solutions.

Lindy Chavez, NPC - Camarillo, CA - Family Medicine (Nurse Practitioner)Lindy Chavez, NPC, is a Family Medicine Nurse Practitioner with Dignity Health Medical Group - Ventura Region. Her office is located at 2486 N. Ponderosa Drive, Suite D205 in Camarillo and she is currently accepting new patients. To learn more or make an appointment, please call 805.419.7780 or visit

Topics: Health & Wellness, Tips & Trends, Family Medicine, DHMG - Ventura County, Primary Care, Sleep Disorders

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