“Even sleep is characteristic. How beautiful are children in their lovely innocence! How angel-like their blooming features!” – Wilhem Von Humboldt
Parents do anything and everything to make their child feel loved and comfortable. After a long day of running around being angels and making mischief, a good night’s sleep is very essential. Parents will be at unease if their child fails to get a proper night’s sleep. There can be various reasons and quite often it is night sweats. Let’s understand more about night sweats.
Night Sweats in Children: Things You Need to Know
What are night sweats?
Night sweats, as the name suggests is excessive sweating termed as hyperhidrosis during sleep. These children may also experience unusually high sweating while they are awake too.
Usually, night sweats are a common occurrence in children. This is due to the fact that children spend more time in deep sleep compared to adults. This is the time when their body repairs itself. As a result to auto-regulate the body temperature due to the continuous mechanisms going on and also due to presence of more number of sweat glands compared to their body surface area, they sweat a lot. As they gradually grow older, this problem dissolves on its own.
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Causes for night sweats in children
Climatic conditions can be a common cause for night sweats in children. It could also be a symptom due to other medical conditions too. The common causes for night sweats in children are –
- Wearing night dress that is warm and not breathable.
- Wearing more number of clothes or wearing too warm clothes.
- The bedding comprises of blankets and comforters that raise their body temperature causing them to sweat.
- The room temperature is unusually high.
- Lack of proper ventilation.
- Changes in the atmospheric temperature from AC to Non-AC or otherwise.
- Due to certain medications your child may be taking.
- In certain infections the body temperature is raised as this involves important fighting mechanisms against the invading pathogen.
- Your child maybe stressed or anxious of something.
- Nightmares and excess dreaming.
- Consumption of spicy foods just before bedtime
- Sleep apnea i.e, stopping of breathing temporarily during sleeping.
- Snoring and other sleeping issues in children.
- Blocked nose or cough or cold.
- Other breathing problems.
Symptoms of night sweats in children
Although night sweats in children are a common occurrence, you still need to check regularly if the night sweats are in excess.
Some common symptoms occurring are –
- Your child maybe gasping for breath while sleeping.
- The breathing pattern of your child maybe irregular.
- Your child maybe unusually tired and exhausted through the day.
- Your child has a tendency to keep their mouth open while sleeping.
If you notice one or more of the above symptoms in your child along with night sweats while sleeping then consult your primary physician or pediatrician. Your doctor could relieve your concerns by checking your child for any underlying medical concerns and provide any medical treatment if necessary.
A research study was carried out by Department of Paediatrics, Prince of Wales Hospital, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, China on Night sweats in children: prevalence and associated factors. On cross – sectional design of study carried among 6381 children, 747 children (11.7%) were reported to have weekly night sweats in the past 12 months. They arrived to a conclusion that night sweats are prevalent among school – aged children ( usually the males ) and are associated with sleep – related symptoms and respiratory and atopic diseases. In addition they were more likely to be hyperactive and have frequent temper – related outbursts.
Treatment for night sweats in children
There’s no specific treatment methodology for the prevalance of night sweats only and your doctor cannot do much if there are no other sleep – related symptoms and respiratory diseases.
You on the personal level can take certain measures.
- Make sure that the room temperature is not so humid and warm.
- Make sure the bedding and night clothes used by your child are light and breathable.
- You can ask your child to go for night walks before going to bed.
- Avoid consumption of spicy hot food just before sleeping.
- Make sure your child stays hydrated for most of the time.
- Maintain some gap between the dinner time and bedtime.
- Maintain a good communication and rapport with your child so that they can confide in you of their problems and this would relieve them from most of their stress and anxiety.
- If you notice certain medications act as a trigger for night sweats then consult with your doctor and maybe the doctor can provide you with an alternative.
- Wool bedding is generally the best option for children. Wool has an excellent property for the regulation of body temperature and makes it suitable as compared to the environment. It keeps the body warm when its cold and keeps the body cool when its warm. Moreover, night sweats make the child uncomfortable and wool bedding will absorb most of this moisture and prevent your child from feeling clammy and sticky, thus keeping things relatively dry.
Night sweats are a common occurrence in children as compared to adults and most of the time it dissolves on its own as the child grows. The cause can be due to climatic factors such as unusually warm bedding and clothes, lack of proper ventilation, other reasons such as nightmares, stress, anxiety, etc. Sometimes it maybe associated with other sleep – related symptoms and breathing disorders. In such cases, you have to notice for any other symptoms such as gasping for air or exhaustion during the day, sleeping with mouth open, etc. and consult with your doctor to tackle the situation. After all,
“Enough sleep is just as important for good health as is nutrition and exercise.”
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