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Anxiety and Night Sweats

Dhanya Joy
Though night sweats are often associated with menopause, prolonged stress or anxiety could also make a person susceptible to this annoying condition. Read ahead to know about how anxiety may trigger excessive sweating at night.
The term 'hyperhidrosis' refers to excessive sweating. It is categorized into primary idiopathic hyperhidrosis and secondary hyperhidrosis. In case of idiopathic hyperhidrosis, there may not be any identifiable medical cause for episodes of excessive perspiration.
In case of secondary hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating is a symptom of an underlying ailment. Sleep hyperhidrosis, which is commonly called night sweats, is a condition that is characterized by excessive sweating during sleep. It is believed that anxiety could be a contributory factor for night sweats.

Sweat Glands and Anxiety

There are two types of sweat glands in our body. These are eccrine and apocrine sweat glands. The apocrine glands become active after the onset of puberty. The eccrine glands produce watery secretions when signals are sent to them by the nerve fibers from the sympathetic nervous system. The secretions help regulate body's temperature.
Apocrine glands produce viscous secretions that contain fat and proteins. The apocrine glands are believed to be regulated by androgens. While sweating is primarily the body's way of regulating the body's temperature, sweat may also be secreted in response to gustatory and emotional stimuli.
It is believed that excessive sweating may occur when the nerve pathways that are involved in the process of sweating are hyper-responsive. It is believed that the production of sweat may increase during periods of emotional stress or a heightened emotional state that may be triggered by anxiety, stress or fear.

Anxiety and Sleep Hyperhidrosis

Anxiety Disorders

People who suffer from anxiety disorders could suffer from excessive sweating at night. The affected individuals may wake up in the middle of the night with clammy skin during panic attacks. Sleep hyperhidrosis can also occur due to Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
The symptoms of GAD include restlessness, fatigue, feelings of constant worry, sweating, headache, muscle tension, irritability, inability to relax, and hot flashes. Such disorders often affect one's ability to sleep. The affected individuals may find it hard to sleep or may have disturbed sleep.
Anxiety can also trigger nightmares. Dream anxiety disorder is a sleep disorder in which the affected individual has frequent nightmares. After waking up from such a dream, the affected individual usually exhibits the symptoms of anxiety such as sweating and increased heart rate.

Use of Antidepressants

People who suffer from depression or anxiety disorders are often prescribed antidepressants. Excessive perspiration at night is one of the common side effects of these drugs. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are antidepressants that could cause sleep hyperhidrosis. Use of such drugs affects neurotransmitters.
It may trigger nightmares which in turn may cause one to wake up with cold, clammy skin. Other medications that may have night sweats as a side effect include antipyretics, and medicines that are prescribed for hormonal imbalance and high blood sugar levels. Withdrawal from certain drugs could also be contributory factor.


Sleep hyperhidrosis is one of the most common symptoms of menopause. The various hormonal changes that occur in women during menopause can lead to anxiety which in turn may cause night sweats. If left untreated, it may lead to sleep-related problems.


► Make sure that your room is not too warm. Avoid wearing tight-fitting nightclothes that are made from fabrics which are not breathable. Don't wrap yourself in too many blankets.
► Perform relaxation and stress relief techniques so as to prevent stress from taking control over your life. People who suffer from anxiety disorders or stress need to practice such techniques on a daily basis to help their mind and body relax. Practicing yoga exercises, deep breathing techniques and meditation will help in eliminating this problem.
► Take a cool shower before you go to bed. This is known to calm the mind and help the body relax.

► Listen to soft music or chants and think happy thoughts at bedtime.
► Aromatherapy is known to be extremely useful in calming the mind. It is the best way to relax your mind and body. Add lavender or rosemary aromatherapy oil to your bath water and soak in it for a while before going to bed. Apply a few drops of rosemary oil to your forehead or use it as an incense to help you sleep better.
Hyperhidrosis that is induced by anxiety or other medical causes should not be ignored. Make lifestyle-related changes and do follow the aforementioned remedies so as to stay relaxed. Seek medical help to tackle the issue of anxiety at the earliest.