It is normal for us to sweat when our bodies need to cool down, but when you experience a very stressful situation you may sweat more profusely, and not necessarily from heat, from your hands, feet and armpits. This is called localized hyperhidrosis and it is a normal, very uncomfortable physical response to stress. Unfortunately when anxiety gets out of control you may find yourself sweating at night or even while you sleep.
If you suffer from anxiety disorder you may find yourself sweating more than normal at night or during your sleep. This is called sleep hyperhidrosis and it differs from localized hyperhidrosis in that you sweat from all over your body. It is completely understandable that having to wrench out your pajamas in the morning from all the sweat is not a good way to start your day. Combine that with the fact that you probably didn’t get enough sleep from all of the discomfort associated with sleep hyperhidrosis, and you are probably set for a difficult day ahead.
Sweating excessively at night may be a sign of an underlying serious illness so it is best to have your doctor check it out, but it is also a fairly common symptom of anxiety disorder.
The worst thing you can do is to allow your excessive night time sweating to make your anxiety worse, because if you become more anxious about it chances are that you will be sweating more. Sweating more at night means less sleep and more anxiety. Night time sweating is of course a serious and uncomfortable bed time companion. It may leave you feeling sticky and dirty in the morning and having to change your linen each morning means that you will have to get up earlier than usual further depriving you of much needed sleep. You may even struggle to fall asleep constantly twisting and turning.
There are not many ways to improve the night time sweating, but until you address the real problem these episodes may just repeat themselves over and over again. The real problem that you need to deal with is your anxiety. Cognitive behavioral Therapy is a very effective way of overcoming anxiety. It can teach you how to view situations more realistically and help you to change your perceptions. Deep breathing exercises can help you to relax your body and relieve your worried thoughts. Relaxation exercises such as yoga and meditation may also be beneficial in controlling your anxiety.
Sleeping in and on natural materials such as cotton may help your skin to breath better and may ease some of your night time sweating. It is also important that you drink enough water so that you don’t dehydrate from sweating too much.
It may take time, patience and effort but anxiety can be beaten and you can still live the life you have always dreamt of.
“Anxiety Disorders.” The International Classification of Sleep Disorder, Revised, pp225-227. 2001. American Academy of Sleep Medicine (October 10, 2012). http://www.esst.org/adds/ICSD.pdf
Viera, Anthony J; Bond, Michael M; Yates, Scott W. “Diagnosing night sweats.” American Family Physician. 2003. AAFP.org (October 10, 2012). http://www.aafp.org/afp/2003/0301/p1019.html
“Treatment of Anxiety Disorders”. National Institute of Mental Health. 2009. NIMH.NIH.gov. (October 10, 2012). http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/treatment-of-anxiety-disorders.shtml
“Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)”. Mayo Clinic. 2012. Mayoclinic.com (October 10, 2012). http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hyperhidrosis/DS01082/DSECTION=complications