Is it a wet dream if it's all just sweat?
February 22, 2012 12:55 PM   Subscribe

Why am I sweating so much when I'm asleep and dreaming?

Lately, I've noticed that whenever I wake up during or just after a dream, I'm covered in sweat to the point that my pajamas are damp. If I wake up when I'm not dreaming, I'm not sweaty.

The dreams aren't night terrors, but they are often (but not exclusively) anxiety dreams. I do have an anxiety disorder and have suffered from panic attacks in the past, but I'm not particularly anxious at the moment, and I haven't had a panic attack in ages. I'm on Celexa, if that's relevant.

I sleep in a cool room (62-65 degrees this time of year) with a sheet, duvet, and quilt. I'm generally hot natured, but can't recall anything other than strenuous exercise making me sweat like this.

So basically, what's up? Is this just yet another funny anxiety symptom, or is something else going on. Any ideas for how to make it stop?
posted by mostlymartha to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Uh... are you sick? Also, maybe don't wear pajamas?
posted by MangyCarface at 12:59 PM on February 22, 2012


Well, Celexa does make you sweat more. It's just one of those great side effects of most SSRI's. Not much you can do about that.

If your blood sugar drops really low, you will also sweat, so I'd look into that. Ever feel dizzy or weak when you first get up in the morning?
posted by misha at 1:01 PM on February 22, 2012


I had really bad night sweats when I was on Celexa. Talk to the doctor who prescribed it to see if there's a different SSRI or perhaps lower dose you can take.
posted by melissasaurus at 1:07 PM on February 22, 2012


I'm on Effexor, have anxiety, and this happens to me sometimes too. I wear light pajamas to bed and because I prefer the room to be cool when sleeping, I only sleep with one very light fleece blanket - no sheet, no comforter. When I wake up in a full body sweat it's usually early in the morning when the heat in the house has kicked on and it's a few degrees warmer in the room. Even a couple of degrees can make a big difference for me. Is that when it's usually happening for you? It might have nothing to do with the dreams or medication.
posted by Sal and Richard at 1:38 PM on February 22, 2012


I had no idea it might be the brain pills! Fascinating. And to answer Sal and Richard, it happens both in the morning and during the night, and I don't have central heating, so I don't turn the wall heaters on until I get up in the morning. It was barely 60 today.
posted by mostlymartha at 1:47 PM on February 22, 2012


That has always happened fairly often (several times a month or more) with me and I'm healthy and not on any brain medication. I've always assumed it's just an intense dream.
posted by randomnity at 1:55 PM on February 22, 2012


Hey, I used to suffer from terrible night sweats and finally learned it was due to my down comforter. Now I use a heavy cotton blanket, or a soft wool blanket when it's really cold, and never had a re-occurrence. Even when I stay in a hotel with a down comforter they come right back. Go figure.
posted by gpoint at 1:59 PM on February 22, 2012


i was hopitalized in Aug and was having night sweats since then. i was outon medical leave for about 5 months. i was talking toa couple other friends and they mentioned they hadthem too. so we all compared our habits and stuff to try and draw a common denominator. they were both on pain meds for their backs, i was on blood pressure meds. so that wasnt a common factor, was only wondering if body chemistry just sweating out the pills or somthing. it was far fetch. one common thing was we were all not working, so i think itwas the stress of bills making an active subconcious and havingso much anxiety in our dreams, we all had dumb dreams but they were all anxious moment type dreams,i had one last night, my car was missing so i was wondering the streets looking for it, it was a car i dont even own anymore, not for 12 yrs
posted by udon at 2:09 PM on February 22, 2012


also i noticed if wake up inthe middle of the night because of something else, i'm not damp yet either, its usually only cause of tose dreams. find out whats cause your stress and that will help. mine has been much better when i started working again. i was only stressed yesterday cause my apt manager yelled at me about something
posted by udon at 2:14 PM on February 22, 2012


I sweat terribly at night most of the time -- especially in the winter -- and am not on any medications at all. But like gpoint, I sleep under a down comforter, so that's probably to blame (and explains why it happens more in cold weather).
posted by jabes at 2:15 PM on February 22, 2012


Sweating while asleep is a common symptom of sleep apnea. Everyone thinks sleep apnea just means that you snore loudly, but that's not the only symptom. (And I don't even snore.)

Before I was diagnosed, I would always get hot in the middle of the night. My husband (then boyfriend) used to find it so funny that I was always cold, and would layer up with blankets, but then throw them off in the middle of the night. Or else I would wake up all sweaty.

Seriously. Get tested for sleep apnea.
posted by LaurenIpsum at 2:19 PM on February 22, 2012


do you have a memory foam mattress? They sleep hot. You sink into them and that part of your skin gets super insulated because there's no air exchange. I sweat like a hog even under just a light blanket on a foam mattress.
posted by cosmicbandito at 2:20 PM on February 22, 2012


It happens to me if my feet are too hot. I always figured that's where the old image of people sleeping with their feet sticking out the bottom of the covers came from.
posted by cmoj at 2:25 PM on February 22, 2012


I sweat more if the room is too cold. At a nice warm 75 or higher, I can relax and spread out, but if it gets too far below that, it's like my body huddles itself up and the core starts to sweat. Strange.
posted by scrowdid at 2:32 PM on February 22, 2012


I sweat at night when I am anemic. Every once and a while it will happen due to stress. It could be the brain meds. Do mention it to your doctor.
posted by myselfasme at 3:18 PM on February 22, 2012


A former acquaintance had night sweats so extreme that he left a ring of salt on his sheets. He had repressed childhood trauma and a serious drinking problem. So either of those can apparently cause it, too.
posted by gentian at 3:42 PM on February 22, 2012


This won't make it stop but it might make it less unpleasant. When I was was having astounding night sweats a few years ago I slept in shorts and an exercise T-shirt, so the HUGE amount of sweat would be wicked away. Additionally I started the night out sleeping on a bath towel and when it was soaked -- oh lord this is part of my permanent record, hello Internet -- I would throw it out of bed in my sleep, so I wasn't in a puddle.

My night sweats were because I was pregnant. Just throwing that out there.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:07 PM on February 22, 2012


Could it be hormonal? I know that during specific parts of my cycle, I have more vivid dreams and tend to wake up sweaty, too.

I've also noticed that (regardless of my cycle) if I'm snacking on carbs before bed, I can induce vivid dreams.. and sweating. My body is slow to process carbs, generally, so I feel 'normal' before bed and, a few hours into sleep, I'm awake and sweaty due to that.
posted by VioletU at 4:43 PM on February 22, 2012


Are you female? How old are you?
I had this off and on through adulthood and then it stepped up in my 40's. Never did figure it out and believe me I tried. Food and when, exercise and when, blankets and type, sleepwear, vitamins, alcohol, stress, etc. Night sweats are a symptom of almost everything according to Gooogle ...
Got worse in my 40's (I won't describe except to say that it was frankly amazing!) and was perhaps only more predictable because it happened most nights.
Now I'm 50 and it has practically stopped. My guess is hormomes/lack of them at this point. For me, that is.
Just throwing it out there
posted by bebrave! at 7:10 PM on February 22, 2012


If not the medication, my next guess would be menopause. From your profile you seem much too young for it, though.
posted by elizeh at 7:48 PM on February 22, 2012


Night sweats are one of the symptoms of many kinds of Lymphoma, too. Not to freak you out or anything, but it's worth getting checked out if you have any other symptoms.
posted by fancyoats at 4:14 AM on February 23, 2012


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