4 reasons why you wake up sweaty

If you’re waking up a literal hot mess, even in the middle of winter, there’s probably an easily rectified reason for it. Our sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo explains how to avoid sweating in your sleep.

Sleep: it’s free. And we all want more of it, so why is it so hard to get? Specifically – that consistent, restorative, uninterrupted, eight-hours-a-night kinda sleep. Which is why we’ve enlisted Sydney-based sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo to solve our myriad of sleep concerns with our new editorial series Sleep Well Wednesdays. Check back each week and you’ll be off to the land of nod before you know it.

Sweating in your sleep…. again? Waking up in a hot mess? Feeling fatigued in the morning after another restless night? Far too many of us are overheating and we’re looking for a solution before another night passes. Before I go into the reasons though, recognising the biochemical link here is key.

Overheating is a problem for the hormones which keep you asleep. Research in Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism demonstrates a synergy between a cool core body temperature and melatonin, which is the key reason you wake up when you’re too hot.

Usually, this sleepiness hormone ensures we are soundly sleeping, so if your body can’t produce it properly, you’re left with light, un-refreshing, broken rest, and subsequent morning fatigue.

While that’s the backstory, here are four key reasons you may be sweating and before you thought you knew what I was going to say, it’s not about bedding.

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Reason 1: Anxiety.

Research shows links between night sweats and anxiety, largely because cortisol, the stress hormone which underpins anxiety, can heighten core body temperature.

As you now know, this is a problem for sleepiness hormone melatonin; so you’re likely to wake up.

Remedy this by: Following expert advice on how to prevent anxiety from occurring in the first place, and if it does arise, express it healthily – one of my go-to’s is walking.

Reason 2: Training late at night

Although your session may have finished a few hours ago, your metabolic rate is still super high, inducing thermogenesis.

Now even if you weren’t sweating, as in, you were doing weight training, academic journal Nutrition and Metabolism reports thatches still enhance body temperature.

Remedy this by: Training in the morning. It helps your body produce serotonin, a hormone to increase alertness.

Reason 3: You ate late, or loaded your dinner with chilli

Researchers note thermogenesis occurs when your body digests food and specifically, this is exacerbated if your meal is spiced with red pepper.

The academics, testing the impact of red pepper on body temperature, energy expenditure, and appetite overall, found those who consumed red pepper also had greater energy usage (helping shift iso-kg’s), plus a lower intake of food.

While it is great to rev up your metabolism in general, doing this immediately before bed is not so great.

Remedy this by: Keeping the spices for your breakfast. Scrambled eggs with chilli anyone?

Reason 4: Menopause.

Ah.. good old menopause. Natural hormone fluctuations mean that your body runs hot, then cool, then hot again – including in your sleep.

Again, this is a problem for melatonin – which otherwise keeps you asleep.

Remedy this by: Following the advice of a gynaecologist.

Olivia Arezzolo is a sleep expert who holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology); Certificate of Sleep Psychology, Diploma of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine); Certificate of Fitness III + IV. You can find her on Instagram at @oliviaarezzolo.