So, it’s 2 a.m., and I’m wide awake. I’ve just had a horrible nightmare. These happen often. I rarely have good dreams anymore thanks to my GAD. Or maybe it’s just that my mind is messed up. Too many scary movies as a child.
I usually wake up in the morning soaked in sweat despite the fact that it’s rather chilly in my room. Tonight (or this morning), I made the connection that my night sweats may somehow be related to my generalized anxiety disorder. So I looked up “anxiety night sweats.” Sure enough, there’s this article that talks about anxiety night sweats and that those who suffer from them often have trouble sleeping. As a dedicated insomniac, it takes me two hours to get to sleep. Unfortunately, the article states that the only way to get rid of anxiety night sweats is to “get your anxiety under control.”
Like it’s that easy.
So, I’ve decided that after I go back to bed (and hopefully get some sleep) and get up in the morning, I’m going to do some more research on anxiety night sweats and see what others have to say on preventing them.
Okay, so it’s 6 a.m. and I’m awake again against my will. I’m not sure I really slept at all because I remember tossing and turning for awhile, but it doesn’t matter. I’m still awake too early. I used to wake up at 6:00 because I was a morning person, but for the last few weeks I’ve reduced my stress, and I’ve been able to sleep in a bit more. I suppose this change back to earlier hours is due to a spike in stress (see my recent post Talented and Jobless – Unemployment Anxiety).
Disclaimer: I do not promote or endorse these sites, nor am I being paid to promote them. I’m merely using them as a reference.
Anyways, I looked up a couple more sources on anxiety night sweats, and this is what I found…
According to an article on wiseGEEK, those with high levels of anxiety often experience night sweats. Once again, it is suggested that you reduce your anxiety levels, but this article actually has some helpful tips on how to do that. Tips include reducing caffeine consumption, exercising regularly (I use this yoga DVD) and avoiding smoking and drinking before bed. There was an interesting bit about certain medications causing night sweats, so I took a look at my medications and side effects.
The side effects of my sleep medication… holy crap. That will have to be a post for another day because there are literally SO MANY SIDE EFFECTS that I’m now considering asking my doctor for a different prescription. You’d think that I’d have carefully checked all of the side effects, and you’d be right. But I was first prescribed this years ago, and I’ve forgotten pretty much everything about it, other than that it helps me sleep. Let’s just say that it could be at least part of the cause of my night sweats.
WebMD, who apparently partners with the cosmetic company Boots, has a section on its website about anxiety night sweats and cold sweats under “sleep disorders.” As I suspected, it mentions that nightmares can cause anxiety night sweats. The difference between cold sweats and night sweats, they say, is that cold sweats occur when you’re awake, and night sweats occur when you’re asleep.
Going back to how cold my room is (I sleep in the basement), the article makes sure to mention that to differentiate anxiety night sweats from just overheating, you need to make sure you’re not wearing too many bed clothes, putting too many blankets on your bed, or keeping your room too warm. I do have an extra blanket on my bed, but keep in mind I am only 89 lbs. I get cold easily. So… I’m pretty sure that it’s not the temperature of my room.
I feel like I’m rambling a bit, so I’ll wrap this up by saying I will continue to look into this and let you know how things go. If you are suffering from night sweats or cold sweats, and you’re concerned that it might be due to a health problem, please talk with your doctor. Don’t take these articles as gospel. Talk to your doctor about your unique medical situation.