Sleep Hyperhidrosis (Night sweats, excessive sweating)

Updated November 6, 1998

What is Sleep Hyperhydrosis?

Sleep hyperhidrosis is profuse sweating that occurs during sleep.


Associated features

Polysomnography shows:

With quinizarin powder, which turns purple on contact with sweat, can be used to show affected areas to demonstrate excessive sweating during sleep.

Types of excessive sweating:

Primary Hyperhidrosis: This type has no known cause and is so severe and debilitating that it interfers with everyday activities, such as working, going to school, etc. This type of hyperhidrosis is sometimes treated by operating to remove the sweat glands. We are not dealing with primary hyperhidrosis on this web page. Go to or if you beleive you have primary hyperhidrosis.

Secondary Hyperhidrosis: This type is generally found to be a symptom of an underlying cause.

Possible causes:

Sleep Hyperhidrosis can be due to a variety of underlying disorders, such as:

In OSA, the sweating is related to the sleep restlessness and movements. In one survery, 66% of those with apnea experienced excessive sweating.



Treat the underlying cause of the sweating.

Diagnostic Classification Steering Committee, Thorpy MJ, Chairman. International Classification of Sleep Disorders: Diagnostic and Coding Manual. Rochester, Minnesota: American Sleep Disorders Association, 1990, 1997.

Kryger, Meir H., Roth, Thomas, Dement, William C. Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine, 2nd Edition. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: W.B. Saunders Company, 1994.

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