It’s important to note that many people who sweat during sleep don’t even realize it. It could be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as diabetes, asthma or cardiovascular problems. Sweating while you sleep may also indicate a mental health issue such as anxiety, depression or other disorders — and one way to rule out these possibilities is by asking your doctor for a referral.
If the sweating occurs in bouts over several nights and/or lasts more than 15 minutes at a time, it could be caused by something called complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), said Dr. Jonathan Pincus, director of the Sleep Disorders Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. This rare but serious disorder can cause severe burning pain without any obvious physical source; some people get relief from this type of pain by applying ice packs or taking medications like acetaminophen — but no proven treatment exists for CRPS itself, which affects fewer than 1% of patients with insomnia. And since there isn’t much research on CRPS and its associated treatments (such as nerve blocks and anti-inflammatory drugs), Pincus has been monitoring his own patients’ symptoms when they have them so he can help guide their care through diagnoses once they find themselves in his office again down the road when their symptoms are worse or haven’t gone away after being evaluated elsewhere first. A patient whose symptoms are related to CRPS will likely need medication changes alongside lifestyle adjustments to