Why Am I Shivering or Sweating at Night? | Sleep Foundation (2022)

Why Am I Shivering or Sweating at Night? | Sleep Foundation (1)

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Alexa Fry, Senior Health Editor

Why Am I Shivering or Sweating at Night? | Sleep Foundation (2)

Medically Reviewed by

Heather Wright, Pathologist

Why Am I Shivering or Sweating at Night? | Sleep Foundation (3)

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Temperature is an important part of circadian rhythm. Our body temperature undergoes a daily cycle that correlates with sleep-wake patterns. We experience a natural reduction in core body temperature during the hours leading up to bedtime, and this continues after we fall asleep. At the same time, skin temperature increases before and during sleep. Throughout the night, our bodies engage in thermoregulation, which involves physical processes that maintain our body temperature within a narrow range. If we are too cold, shivering helps to warm us up. If we are too warm, sweating releases heat.

Sometimes, the balance between hot and cold is thrown off to the point where these thermoregulation processes cause us to wake up. Waking up shivering cold or hot and sweaty is never a comfortable experience. This can happen due to the sleep environment being too cold or too warm.

However, shivering and sweating are sometimes unrelated to thermoregulation; instead, they may be the result of another underlying cause.

Causes of Shivering at Night

If the temperature in your bedroom is too cold, or if you aren’t covered by enough clothing or blankets, you may wake up shivering during the night. Other possible causes include:

  • Infection: Fevers are the consequence of an immune system reaction to an infection, including bacterial and viral infections. Chills are often associated with fever, and are due to muscle contraction and relaxation, which raises the body’s core temperature.
  • Menopause: Menopause is when a woman stops menstruating permanently. The transition to menopause involves hormonal changes that often cause symptoms, including cold chills, which may happen on their own or may occur after a hot flash.
  • General anesthesia: General anesthesia is used to put patients to sleep during surgery so that they do not feel pain. Shivers after general anesthesia have been reported in anywhere from 20 to 70% of patients, and are often due to low body temperature.
  • Drug withdrawal: Withdrawal symptoms can occur when stopping or reducing use of a drug. Cold flashes with goosebumps are a possible symptom of prescription opioid withdrawal.

Causes of Sweating at Night

Sleeping in a bedroom that is too warm, wearing too many layers, or covering yourself with too much bedding can cause you to sweat at night. There are a number of other potential causes of night sweats:

  • Infection: Bacterial and viral infections often cause fevers, and sweating frequently occurs with a fever.
  • Menopause: The most common symptom of menopause is hot flashes, which can occur at night and cause night sweats. In the premenopausal state, hormonal fluctuations during certain periods of the menstrual cycle can also lead to night sweats.
  • Medications: Some drugs increase sweating as a side effect, including certain antidepressants, opioids, and cancer treatment drugs. Also, withdrawal from drugs, such as opioids, can cause sweating.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea: A research study found that up to one-third of individuals with obstructive sleep apnea experience frequent night sweats. An association between other sleep-related disorders (such as RLS) and night sweats has also been suggested.
  • Alcohol: Higher alcohol use has been correlated with night and day sweating. Additionally, sweating is a known symptom of alcohol withdrawal.
  • Anxiety: Research suggests that panic attacks may be associated with night sweats.

Other causes of night sweats include cancer, acid reflux, hyperthyroidism obesity, low blood sugar, and other infections, such as tuberculosis and HIV.

How To Stop or Reduce Shivering and Sweating While Asleep

For people who have a known cause of their nighttime shivering or sweating, the treatment should focus on the underlying condition. If you are unsure of the cause of your nighttime shivers or sweats, try taking the following steps to see if they help.

    • Adjust your bedroom temperature: Evidence suggests that the optimal room temperature for sleep is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Each person’s temperature needs are different, though, so it could help to see whether increasing or decreasing the temperature of your room helps relieve your nighttime shivering or sweating. Also consider whether you have the best mattress and bedding for temperature regulation, as these are things that can impact body temperature throughout the night.
  • Experiment with layers: If you are shivering at night, try adding more layers of clothing, including socks, or blankets. If you are sweating, remove layers and wear loose, breathable clothing to bed.
  • Use a fan or heat pack: Placing a fan in your bedroom can help cool you off, while bringing a hot water bottle or heating pad with you to bed can keep you warm.
  • Check for fever: Take your temperature, and if you find that you have a fever, you may have an infection. Drink fluids and rest at home. A sponge bath with lukewarm water may help relieve fever symptoms. Fever-reducing medications are also available over the counter.

Is This Dangerous? When Should You See a Doctor?

In most cases, nighttime shivering or sweating is not dangerous and is not cause for alarm. If your symptoms occur often or do not resolve with changes in your bedroom temperature and bedding, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor. Your doctor will collect information from you about the frequency and severity of your shivering or sweating, along with other related symptoms. Your doctor may also recommend diagnostic testing to diagnose or rule out an underlying condition.

(Video) How to stop excessive sweating

If you have chills and night sweats due to a fever, make sure to speak with a doctor if your temperature reaches 103 degrees Fahrenheit, if you have a fever lasting longer than three days, or the fever is associated with symptoms such as headache, stiff neck, chest pain, rash, or severe throat swelling.

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About Our Editorial Team

Why Am I Shivering or Sweating at Night? | Sleep Foundation (5)
Alexa Fry

Senior Health Editor

Alexa Fry is a science writer with experience working for the National Cancer Institute. She also holds a certificate in technical writing.

Why Am I Shivering or Sweating at Night? | Sleep Foundation (6)
Heather Wright

Pathologist

MD

Dr. Wright, M.D., is an Anatomic and Clinical Pathologist with a focus on hematopathology. She has a decade of experience in the study of disease.

References

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FAQs

What causes night sweats and shivering? ›

Night sweats commonly occur when your body is too warm while sleeping, so you start to sweat. Night chills, on the other hand, are when your body starts shivering because it's too cold while sleeping. Cold sweats are unrelated to both of these and don't exclusively happen while you're sleeping, as the other two do.

Why do I wake up in the middle of the night dripping in sweat? ›

Night sweats are repeated episodes of very heavy sweating during sleep, heavy enough to soak your nightclothes or bedding. They're often caused by an underlying condition or illness. Sometimes you may wake up after sweating heavily, particularly if you're sleeping under too many blankets or your bedroom is too warm.

How do you get rid of night sweats and chills? ›

Things to try
  1. Crack a window. Sleep in a cooler room. ...
  2. Change your bedding. Replace plush or heavy blankets with breathable sheets, light quilts, or even moisture-wicking sheets. ...
  3. Adjust exercise timing. Physical activity just before sleeping could contribute to increased sweating in the night.
  4. Avoid sweat triggers.

Why am I sweating and feeling cold at the same time? ›

Cold sweats can be caused by a variety of different conditions. They're often associated with your body's “fight or flight” response. This happens when your body prepares itself to either run away or to get hurt. They're also common to conditions that prevent oxygen or blood from circulating throughout your body.

What cancers cause night sweats? ›

Leukemia and lymphoma are among the cancers associated with night sweats. Those associated with leukemia usually occur in conjunction with symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, or excessive bruising. Leukemia-related sweats may also result from daytime fevers.

When should I be worried about night sweats? ›

Schedule a visit with your health care provider if night sweats: Occur on a regular basis. Interrupt your sleep. Are accompanied by a fever, weight loss, pain in a specific area, cough, diarrhea or other symptoms of concern.

What are the 10 causes of night sweats? ›

Advertisement
  • Alcohol use disorder.
  • Anxiety disorders.
  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • Autonomic neuropathy (damage to your autonomic nerves)
  • Brucellosis (a bacterial infection)
  • Carcinoid tumors (a type of neuroendocrine tumor)
  • Drug addiction (substance use disorder)
  • Endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of the heart)

Can being dehydrated cause night sweats? ›

It can also cause night-time palpitations which can wake you up. Possibly, the most important thing in menopause is if you're getting hot flashes and night sweats, these can dehydrate you really quickly. Dehydration will then stress the nervous system which will then trigger more hot flashes or night sweats.

What medications cause night sweats? ›

Insulin, glyburide (Glynase), glipizide (Glucotrol), and pioglitazone (Actos) are common medications that may cause sweating. Why? Due to alterations in blood sugar with these medications, sweating is a reported side effect. Sweating can also be a sign of low blood sugar if you are diabetic.

Why do I wake up shivering when it's not cold? ›

When you shiver, but you don't feel cold, it could be a sign that your body is starting to fight off a viral or bacterial infection. Just as shivering is your body's way of warming up on a chilly day, shivering can also heat up your body enough to kill a bacteria or virus that has invaded your system.

What infections cause night sweats? ›

Infection. Infections can trigger night sweats. Some infections like bacterial endocarditis (infection of the inner lining of your heart and heart valves) and osteomyelitis (bone infections) can cause it.

What can shivering be a symptom of? ›

Chills are your body's way of raising its core temperature. Cold temperatures, viruses, infections and other illnesses can bring on chills. When you shiver, your muscles relax and contract. This involuntary movement warms your body.

Does low blood pressure cause sweating? ›

If your blood pressure drops too low, your body's vital organs do not get enough oxygen and nutrients. When this happens, low blood pressure can lead to shock, which requires immediate medical attention. Signs of shock include cold and sweaty skin, rapid breathing, a blue skin tone, or a weak and rapid pulse.

What do night sweats mean for a woman? ›

Night sweats in women are most commonly the result of hormonal imbalances during menopause and perimenopause. Perimenopause means 'around menopause' and is the transitional period before menopause. This period usually occurs between ages of 40 and 50.

Can dehydration cause sweating? ›

Research shows that your skin contains approximately 30% water which is responsible for elasticity and plumpness. Many people who show signs of dehydrated may sometimes appear sweaty but as you go through the stages of dehydration - from mild to severe - skin will become drier.

What are the first signs of having leukemia? ›

Common leukemia signs and symptoms include:
  • Fever or chills.
  • Persistent fatigue, weakness.
  • Frequent or severe infections.
  • Losing weight without trying.
  • Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen.
  • Easy bleeding or bruising.
  • Recurrent nosebleeds.
  • Tiny red spots in your skin (petechiae)

Can night sweats be harmless? ›

People with night sweats can wake in the night to find their bedclothes and bedding soaked. This abnormal sweating is annoying, but usually harmless. Night sweats can sometimes be a sign of an underlying medical condition. See your GP if they keep happening and you're worried.

Can a mattress cause night sweats? ›

Your bedding

Your sheets, mattress pad, pillows and mattress itself may be causing you to sweat at night. Look into cooling or temperature-regulating sheets -- best-case scenario is you solve your night sweats; worst-case scenario is you get some nice new sheets.

Can liver issues cause night sweats? ›

Early symptoms may include fatigue and itching. Later symptoms may include upper abdominal pain, fever, chills, night sweats, enlarged liver or spleen, weight loss or jaundice.

What hormone causes night sweats? ›

Night sweats can affect anyone, but they're most commonly associated with people assigned female at birth. Hormone changes related to reproductive hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, can cause unpleasant changes in your body temperature that make you feel too hot.

Does kidney failure cause sweating? ›

In other words, ordinary sweating does not remove much in the way of impurities, but heavy thermal sweating may, especially if kidney failure is occurring.

Does high blood pressure cause night sweats? ›

If you are looking for a list of symptoms and signs of high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension), you won't find them here. This is because most of the time, there are none. Myth: People with high blood pressure will experience symptoms, like nervousness, sweating, difficulty sleeping or facial flushing.

What illnesses make you sweat? ›

Health conditions that might cause excessive sweating include:
  • Acromegaly.
  • Diabetic hypoglycemia.
  • Fever of undetermined cause.
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Infection.
  • Leukemia.
  • Lymphoma.
  • Malaria.

What are 3 warning signs of dehydration? ›

Symptoms of dehydration in adults and children include:
  • feeling thirsty.
  • dark yellow and strong-smelling pee.
  • feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
  • feeling tired.
  • a dry mouth, lips and eyes.
  • peeing little, and fewer than 4 times a day.

Why do I sweat around my neck and chest at night? ›

"Night sweats can be caused by a number of medical conditions. Some of the most common causes include the menopause, anxiety, medicines, low blood sugar, infections, alcohol or drug misuse, and hyperhidrosis," says Gilani.

Can low blood sugar cause sweating? ›

Night sweats are often caused by low blood glucose, which can occur in people taking insulin or diabetes medications known as sulfonylureas. When your blood glucose drops too low, you produce excess adrenaline, which causes sweating.

What's the meaning of night sweats? ›

Night sweats can be severe and soak a person's bedclothes and bed sheets, which may cause the person to wake up. Night sweats are a common symptom of menopause. They may also be caused by illness or medical conditions, such as infection, cancer, low blood sugar, hormone disorders, and neurologic conditions.

Does diabetes cause night sweats? ›

The main cause of night sweats in diabetics is low blood sugar at night (hypogylcemia). When blood sugar levels drop, this can cause a number of sleep-disturbing symptoms, including headaches and excessive sweating.

Are night sweats normal? ›

It's normal to sweat during the night if the room or your bedding is making you too hot. Night sweats are when you sweat so much that your night clothes and bedding are soaking wet, even though where you're sleeping is cool. Adults and children can get night sweats.

Why is my body shaking when I try to sleep? ›

What's going on? This body movement is what doctors and scientists call a hypnic (or hypnagogic) or myoclonic jerk. It's also known as a "sleep start," and it can literally startle you out of falling asleep. This type of feeling is normal, and it can happen before people enter the deeper stages of sleep.

Why do I shake all of a sudden in my sleep? ›

Hypnic jerks, also known as hypnagogic jerks or “sleep starts,” are involuntary muscle contractions that some people experience as they fall asleep. Hypnic jerks are a type of sleep myoclonus. This is a scientific name for jerking movements the body makes during sleep or while falling asleep.

What causes shaking of the body when sleeping? ›

Sleep myoclonus causes involuntary muscle twitches during sleep or when a person falls asleep. In some cases, sleep myoclonus occurs on its own without an identifiable cause. Sleep myoclonus can also develop as a result of a sleep disorder or a neurological disorder.

What no body tells you about night sweats? ›

There are several common reasons for night sweats – from spicy foods to warm bedrooms – but excess sweating can be a sign of a medical condition such as an infection, menopause or cancer. “Just being hot at night should not worry anyone,” says Dr.

What cancers cause sweating? ›

Some cancers can cause you to sweat more than usual.
...
These include:
  • non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • carcinoid tumours.
  • leukaemia.
  • mesothelioma.
  • bone cancer.
  • liver cancer.

What is an anxiety shiver? ›

Anxiety shivers are a common symptom of anxiety. Although not a formal clinical term, anxiety shivers refers to the experience of anxiety that might cause someone to shiver, shake, tremble, feel like they have the chills, or feel it is hard to regulate their body temperature.

Does Covid give you the shivers? ›

Symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) in adults can include: a high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

What are the 10 signs of low blood pressure? ›

Symptoms of low blood pressure
  • lightheadedness or dizziness.
  • feeling sick.
  • blurred vision.
  • generally feeling weak.
  • confusion.
  • fainting.

How do you feel when your blood pressure is low? ›

Low blood pressure (hypotension) symptoms may include: Blurred or fading vision. Dizziness or lightheadedness. Fainting.

What is the best sleeping position for low blood pressure? ›

Sleep Face Down for Lower Blood Pressure.

Do night sweats wake you up? ›

Sometimes you may wake up after sweating heavily, particularly if you're sleeping under too many blankets or your bedroom is too warm. Although uncomfortable, these episodes aren't usually considered night sweats and aren't sign of an underlying condition or illness.

How long do night sweats last? ›

How long do hot flashes last? It used to be said that menopause-related hot flashes fade away after six to 24 months. But for many women, hot flashes and night sweats often last a lot longer—by some estimates seven to 11 years.

How can you stop night sweats? ›

Adjust the thermostat, use fans, open windows (if it's cold outside), wear breathable pajamas and use lightweight bedding. Cool yourself down. If you wake up in a sweat, uncover your feet and neck, drink a glass of cold water, place a cool washcloth on your head or run cold water over your wrists.

How can I hydrate quickly? ›

If you're worried about your or someone else's hydration status, here are the 5 best ways to rehydrate quickly.
  1. Water. ...
  2. Coffee and tea. ...
  3. Skim and low fat milk. ...
  4. 4. Fruits and vegetables. ...
  5. Oral hydration solutions.
19 Dec 2019

What blood test shows if you are dehydrated? ›

"A serum osmolality test measures the freezing point of blood serum to show how concentrated a sample of blood is. People's blood becomes more concentrated as they become dehydrated.

What can shivering be a symptom of? ›

Chills are your body's way of raising its core temperature. Cold temperatures, viruses, infections and other illnesses can bring on chills. When you shiver, your muscles relax and contract. This involuntary movement warms your body.

Why do I have hot flashes then cold chills? ›

The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that regulates body temperature. A dysfunction of the hypothalamus can cause your body to temporarily become over heated (hot flash) or chilled (cold flash). Sometimes, chills and shivering may occur as a hot flash fades, causing you to feel hot and cold.

What are the 10 causes of night sweats? ›

Advertisement
  • Alcohol use disorder.
  • Anxiety disorders.
  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • Autonomic neuropathy (damage to your autonomic nerves)
  • Brucellosis (a bacterial infection)
  • Carcinoid tumors (a type of neuroendocrine tumor)
  • Drug addiction (substance use disorder)
  • Endocarditis (an infection of the inner lining of the heart)

Does Covid give you chills and sweats? ›

Symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) in adults can include: a high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

What is an anxiety shiver? ›

Anxiety shivers are a common symptom of anxiety. Although not a formal clinical term, anxiety shivers refers to the experience of anxiety that might cause someone to shiver, shake, tremble, feel like they have the chills, or feel it is hard to regulate their body temperature.

What causes shaking of the body when sleeping? ›

Sleep myoclonus causes involuntary muscle twitches during sleep or when a person falls asleep. In some cases, sleep myoclonus occurs on its own without an identifiable cause. Sleep myoclonus can also develop as a result of a sleep disorder or a neurological disorder.

Why do I shiver when I'm not cold? ›

It's part of an adrenaline reflex.” Strong emotional reaction to music or climatic scenarios can also trigger this adrenaline release. Fight-or-flight is an autonomic nervous system response that is automatic, or not consciously controlled.

What are the symptoms of low estrogen? ›

Signs of low estrogen include:
  • Dry skin.
  • Tender breasts.
  • Weak or brittle bones.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Moodiness and irritability.
  • Vaginal dryness or atrophy.
  • Hot flashes and night sweats.
  • Irregular periods or no periods (amenorrhea).
8 Feb 2022

Can a hormone imbalance cause chills? ›

What causes cold flashes? A cold flash is when a person suddenly experiences feelings of shivering and chills. Cold flashes can be the result of hormonal or emotional fluctuations.

Why do we shiver without fever? ›

Body chills are commonly caused by cold external temperatures, or changing internal temperatures, such as when you have a fever. When you have chills without a fever, causes may include low blood sugar, anxiety or fear, or intense physical exercise.

What infections cause night sweats? ›

Infection. Infections can trigger night sweats. Some infections like bacterial endocarditis (infection of the inner lining of your heart and heart valves) and osteomyelitis (bone infections) can cause it.

Does kidney failure cause sweating? ›

In other words, ordinary sweating does not remove much in the way of impurities, but heavy thermal sweating may, especially if kidney failure is occurring.

Does high blood pressure cause night sweats? ›

If you are looking for a list of symptoms and signs of high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension), you won't find them here. This is because most of the time, there are none. Myth: People with high blood pressure will experience symptoms, like nervousness, sweating, difficulty sleeping or facial flushing.

What are the symptoms of the Omicron? ›

All of the variants, including omicron BA.5, cause similar COVID-19 symptoms:
  • runny nose.
  • cough.
  • sore throat.
  • fever.
  • headaches.
  • muscle pain.
  • fatigue.
15 Sept 2022

What are current Covid symptoms 2022? ›

Symptoms of COVID-19
  • Fever or chills.
  • Cough.
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
  • Fatigue.
  • Muscle or body aches.
  • Headache.
  • New loss of taste or smell.
  • Sore throat.

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