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Night sweats


Waking up with soaked sheets in the middle of the night…again? Many of us with chronic illness have the pleasure of experiencing night sweats, and they’re a sure way to disrupt a good night’s sleep (the kind of sleep you really need if you’re managing a chronic illness!). If you have night sweats, it’s important to distinguish the occasional, annoying kind from signs of something more serious. Studies suggest nighttime sweating is a nuisance symptom linked to menopause, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and infections, although anyone can get night sweats. They often happen alongside fever, muscle cramps, and tingling or numb hands and feet. You’ll want to figure out and manage the root cause, but in the meantime, if you're running uncomfortably hot at night, start by switching out heavy bedding for lightweight, breathable sheets instead. While night sweats aren't always the same as hot flashes (a symptom of menopause), it also makes sense to avoid hot flash triggers like alcohol and caffeine, spicy foods, and smoking or exposure to cigarette smoke. If your night sweats are caused by an infection, supplementing with antimicrobial herbs might help your symptoms. An experienced herbalist can help you find the right herb or combination of herbs based on the type of infection you have. For night sweats that might be caused by anxiety, look to herbs that have a calming effect, like passionflower and kava. And of course, if you don’t know the root cause of your night sweats, and they’re both literally and figuratively keeping you up at night, turn to your practitioner for help!

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