If you often wake up drenched in your sweat at night, you may think you need to install a better fan or AC. But if temperature is not the reason behind this sweating, you may have night sweats.
Several internal factors can cause night sweats in men, and one of these factors is low testosterone.
This article explains the connection between night sweats and testosterone levels. We have also talked about the best possible solution to reduce night sweats and other effects of low testosterone.
What are night sweats?
The human body is designed to operate at a normal temperature range called the thermoneutral zone. When body temperature exceeds this normal range, we experience sweating.
It is normal to sweat at night when the environment is hot, or you are wearing thick nightclothes or have a heavy blanket.
Night sweats is a condition in which you perspire excessively while sleeping even when your environment is cool. You wake up to wet clothes and bedding.
The repeated episodes of night sweats can disrupt your normal sleep cycle and make you sleep deprived. As a result, you feel groggy and tired the next day. Night sweats usually occur due to an underlying medical condition. Both men and women can experience it.
What is low T?
Low testosterone or low T is a hormonal condition in which your body fails to produce a healthy amount of testosterone. Normal testosterone levels in men range from 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). A man producing testosterone less than 300 mg/dL has low T.
In men, testosterone levels drop with age. According to the Mayo Clinic, the level of testosterone drops by 1% per year when men reach age 30. Around 38% of men of age 45 or above have low T. Maintaining a normal testosterone level is important for both men and women.
The common symptoms of low T include low libido, accumulation of body fat, lack of energy, moodiness, and increase in breast size.
What is the connection between low T and night sweats?
There are several reasons that can cause night sweats, and one of them is low T. If you are having night sweats and other symptoms of low T that are described above, then your night sweats might be due to the low T.
The exact connection between low T and night sweats has not been found so far. However, some scientists believe it may be due to the hypothalamus (a part of brain) that regulates internal body temperature. When it detects high body temperature, it dilates blood vessels and stimulates sweat glands to produce sweat.
Sometimes, low T may interfere with the normal functioning of the hypothalamus and make it believe that your body has a higher temperature than normal. As a result, the hypothalamus sends signals to sweat glands to activate sweat production and help the body cool down.
Other reasons of night sweats
Nights sweats can also occur due to some other reasons such as:
Certain medical conditions
Certain medical conditions can trigger night sweats in both men and women. Examples of such medical conditions are HIV, AIDS, overactive thyroid, blood cancer, panic attacks, and anxiety disorders. Getting rid of these conditions is the solution to treating night sweats caused by them.
Sleep apnea has also been liked to night sweats. In a 2013 study published in BMJ Open, researchers discovered that people with untreated sleep apnea had three times more night sweats than healthy people.
Women also experience night sweats when they enter menopause. It is due to the decline in the production of estrogen.
People drinking too much alcohol, especially before bed, also have frequent night sweats.
Infections are another common cause of night sweats. When microbes enter your body, the defence system becomes super-active and produces several white blood cells (also called soldiers of the body). These white blood cells disturb the hypothalamus, which makes the body temperature go above.
Fungal and bacterial tuberculosis infections lead to night sweats.
Night sweats can also occur as a side effect of a medication you are taking. A study showed that antidepressants, certain antibiotics, and hypertension drugs cause night sweats in some people. Medications that affect or block the production of hormones can also cause night sweats.
When to be concerned about night sweats?
Having night sweats is normal as long as they occur rarely. They often go away on their own. But if you are having night sweats very often, then it might be due to a serious underlying issue that needs a timely examination and treatment.
Frequent night sweats can also disturb the quality of sleep and eventually your productivity level. That is why it is important to visit a doctor and get the issue resolved on time. Your doctor will ask you about symptoms you are experiencing and then run a few tests to diagnose the underlying problem. He will recommend a treatment plan based on the reason behind night sweats.
How to stop night sweats induced by low T?
Increasing testosterone levels is the best solution to get rid of night sweats that are caused by low T. You can increase your testosterone levels by eating foods that encourage testosterone production. Examples of such foods include tuna, egg yolk, low-fat milk, beef, fortified cereals, and beans.
Making healthy lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, plenty of restful sleep, and less stress can also promote the production of testosterone. If natural methods do not work for you, testosterone replacement therapy is the other possible solution you have.
Testosterone replacement therapy
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a hormonal treatment in which you receive testosterone from external sources in the form of injections, gels, pills, and patches. This method is very effective in restoring testosterone levels, and millions of men opt for it to reduce symptoms of low T.
If your night sweats are due to low T, getting testosterone replacement therapy can help you get rid of night sweats and enjoy a normal sleep like before.
More tips to reduce night sweats
The below tips can also be helpful in reducing night sweats.
Find ways to resume sleep fast
Getting a good sleep is important in many ways, when you have night sweats, you should try finding ways that can help you reverse the effects of night sweats and resume sleep fast. Following ways can help you relieve fast after a night sweats episode.
- Open windows to turn down the temperature
- Turn on the fan or AC to reduce the temperature
- Remove nightclothes and blanket
- Change into cool clothes
- Drink cool water
- Allow your body to relax by breathing slowly
- Apply cooling gel or spray
Try techniques that help relax fast
Stress can make night sweats worse. Therefore, you should try different relaxation techniques to reduce stress. Examples of these techniques include meditation, breathing exercises, and mindfulness.
Alcohol is one of the night sweats triggering beverages. When you drink alcohol, your heartbeat increases which causes the dilation of blood vessels. It can then make you sweat more and induce night sweats.
It usually occurs in people who drink alcohol regularly and then stop drinking it at once. That is why when you plan to stop alcohol consumption, it is recommended to reduce alcohol consumption gradually.
Limit fatty foods
Fatty and spicy foods can lead to night sweats, especially when eaten at night. Fatty foods cause the overproduction of acid in the stomach. Excess acid can lead to acid reflux which can further cause night sweats.
People also experience meat sweats which happen when they eat protein-rich foods. Meaty sweats occur when your body starts metabolizing a large number of proteins and does more work than usual. High metabolism can increase your body temperature and cause night sweats.
That is why limit the intake of fatty and spicy foods.
Establishing a workout routine can help you get rid of stress, have a positive mind, and reduce the episodes of night sweats. A study showed that menopausal women who were struggling with hot flushes experienced a significant reduction in them after adding jogging and cycling to their workout routine. It showed the potential of workout in reducing night sweats.
Eat natural foods
Eating more natural foods can also help you get rid of night sweats and flashes. These foods provide your body with the healthy nutrients that may help it deal with night sweats well.
Night sweats can occur in men as a result of hormonal imbalance, a medical condition, bacterial infection, or certain medications. If you think you have night sweats, visit your doctor to find the main reason behind this issue.
If low T is causing it, then treating low T through testosterone replacement therapy can reduce your night flashes and help you improve your quality of sleep.
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Bailey, T.G., Cable, N.T., Aziz, N., Dobson, R., Sprung, V.S., Low, D.A. and Jones, H., 2016. Exercise training reduces the frequency of menopausal hot flushes by improving thermoregulatory control. Menopause, 23(7), pp.708-718.
Mold, J.W. and Holtzclaw, B.J., 2015. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and night sweats in a primary care population. Drugs-real world outcomes, 2(1), pp.29-33.