Although sweat is usually a mechanism of the human body designed to regulate body temperature, it is no less true that emotions, as with fear, can stimulate its secretion. Hence, in periods of high levels of emotional stress or anxiety, sweat production can be significantly increased. It must be taken into account that anxiety directly affects the sympathetic nervous system, which is what emits the necessary signals to the sweat glands, specifically the eccrine ones, which are the most directly related to the thermoregulatory system of the skin.
This means that in prolonged situations of anxiety the nervous system interprets this situation as a threat and reacts by activating its defense systems, increasing blood flow where it is most needed, which generates a rise in temperature as a result of vasoconstriction. of blood vessels. And in this situation, the sympathetic nervous system activates the production of sweat to cool the body.
High sweating as a result of anxiety can occur at any time of the day, especially if you have a panic attack; but it occurs more frequently at night, since nightmares and irregular sleep are frequent in these people, which increases anxiety levels.
Night sweats, in fact, are considered as one more symptom of a generalized anxiety disorder, although they can respond to many other causes. But in these types of patients, it is common for them to find the sheets and pillow damp with sweat upon waking. With proper treatment for anxiety disorder (medical and psychological), these episodes will tend to decrease. But even so, a series of measures can be adopted to prevent them from occurring or at least to reduce them in frequency and intensity.
- Environmental temperature. It must be taken into account that heat significantly favors night sweats, so it is important to keep the room at a mild temperature (18-20º), not overload the bed with clothes and use light pajamas made with fabrics that facilitate perspiration. (cotton) or do not stimulate perspiration, as happens with many synthetic fibers.
- Drink enough fluids to keep your body hydrated.
- Doing some vigorous physical activity hours before bedtime helps reduce stress.
- Shower before bed. It is relaxing and helps reduce stress.
- Performing relaxation exercises before or when you go to bed will help you quickly fall asleep and reduce anxiety levels.
- If night sweats have occurred and this prevents you from falling asleep again, it is best to get up and do some relaxing activity until you feel asleep again. Staying in bed can increase anxiety.