Anything can make us sweat. You will perspire, whether you go on a long run, talk to a boss about a raise, or even get a text from someone you like. Sweating occurs when the body feels the need to maintain its core temperature to keep us from overheating, so, normally, it can happen anytime and in any situation.
However, what isn’t normal is waking up in the middle of the night absolutely drenched in sweat. This is called hyperhidrosis, and it isn’t just caused by using the wrong blanket or the AC breaking down unexpectedly. Neurological or hormonal problems can cause night sweats or be a side effect of certain medications. Women undergoing menopause are also more likely to sweat at night.
This can be a problem in the long run, as hyperhidrosis can be very uncomfortable (not to mention the hassle of having to strip your bed and change sheets every day). But that doesn’t mean you have to keep suffering through it. Here are some helpful tips to minimize discomfort and make your nights more comfortable.
- Watch what you wear
Fabrics such as cotton and silk are naturally cooler to the touch and are way more breathable. Comfortable clothes that don’t keep excess moisture in will help ease the icky feeling when the sweating starts, not to mention they feel softer, too.
Synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester are affordable and more durable, but they aren’t as forgiving as natural fabrics when it comes to moisture. They can also end up irritating your skin if you’re more sensitive.
Wearing socks to bed can make you sweat more, so only do so when it’s necessary, like when it’s too cold to keep your toes out. Sure, wearing socks to sleep can give you softer feet, but when you get night sweats, it might be best to leave them off.
- Buy better pillows and linens
Your bedroom should be a place of comfort, not stress. Investing in things like good beddings will make you sleep better and help make night sweats more bearable. As with clothes, your linens and blankets will be more comfortable if they’re made of natural materials. There’s a reason silk sheets are sought-after: silk has a structure that allows better airflow, making it more breathable and cooler, resulting in better sleep quality.
Removing unnecessary layers also helps. Ask yourself if you really need four pillows and that extra comforter. Strip the bed to the basics and keep only what you need so that you don’t feel stuffy when the sweating kicks in. Investing in better pillows helps, too. Gel pillows retain less heat, so they are a better investment compared to normal pillows.
- Relax before sleep
Stress from work can make hyperhidrosis worse, so it’s important to learn how to slowly put your brain into a more relaxed state before fully going into sleep mode. Set the alarm two hours before bed. When this alarm goes off, anything work-related like emails, work messages, and schedules must be avoided to allow your brain to breathe and wind down.
Do activities that relax you: a long soak in a warm bath, listening to a relaxing podcast, or watching your favorite show. If you like to write, go ahead and break out that journal and write a diary entry. Some people also take CBD oil to relax. Make unwinding a habit before bed, so you sleep better and wake up refreshed.
- Practice mindfulness
Erratic sleep patterns, as well as insomnia and anxiety, can contribute to hyperhidrosis. All of these have a common denominator: stress. A good way to ease stress is to practice mindfulness and meditate before bedtime. And yes, meditation brings to mind the image of someone sitting cross-legged on a mat and surrounded by incense, but contrary to that popular image, meditation can be anything that helps you calm down.
A good way to practice mindfulness is to do some deep breathing exercises. This brings more oxygen to the brain and steadies the heartbeat, signaling the body to slow down and relax. Basic yoga and listening to a guided meditation can work as well. There’s no “wrong” way to meditate — as long as you get to a state that’s conducive to a good night’s sleep, you’ve reached your goal.
A final word
Hyperhidrosis is an irritating condition, and it can affect how we act around other people and how we see ourselves. It’s uncomfortable, and for some, it can feel embarrassing. But it’s important to remember that this can be fixed, and with these solutions, you’ll be getting more stress-free (and hopefully, sweat-free) nights.