Awakening during the middle of the night, drenched in sweat and utterly drained, is an all too familiar experience for people with Diabetes. Night sweats for diabetic people are a common symptom but often overlooked issue. But do not be discouraged; there is a promising solution to this sleep-disturbing challenge.
This article will delve into the underlying causes of diabetes night sweats and, more importantly, provide you with proven strategies and solutions to help you conquer these distressing symptoms.
Relationship Between Diabetes and Excessive Night Sweat
Health conditions, including Diabetes, can cause excessive night sweats. And for people with long-term Diabetes, many factors can cause this situation.
Strategic planning of medications and activities for diabetic people is essential. That is because slight changes to their blood sugar can cause a lot of negative impacts on their health. In the case of night sweats, it is a result of fluctuating blood sugar levels. And night sweats can occur during hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.
An example of a situation that triggers hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar levels, is when a diabetic person exercises too much within the day or takes too much insulin. 
Meanwhile, in hyperglycemia, the body will try to normalize blood sugar levels by excessively peeing. This process leads to dehydration and, ultimately, night sweats. 
What Causes Nocturnal Hypoglycemia in Diabetes?
According to this study by Zhu et al. (2012) , nocturnal hypoglycemia and Diabetes are 2-way streets. Low blood sugar can produce poor sleeping patterns, and insufficient sleep can also negatively impact blood sugar. And these sleep problems can happen for different reasons, such as habits, psychological and body processes.
But to be more specific, here are a few reasons why nocturnal glycemia can happen:
- Not using an appropriate dosage of insulin medications: Taking too much insulin cannot sustain the lowering of blood sugar levels overnight, which can put the body in a state of hypoglycemia.
- Late bedtime snacks/meals: Skipping meals and snacks or delaying them before sleeping can cause blood sugar to drop during sleep.
- Not monitoring blood sugar levels, especially at night time: Monitoring the blood sugar before sleeping can prevent low blood sugar levels and detect any irregularities immediately so that you can take appropriate measures.
- Excessive exercise before sleeping: Exercising makes your blood sugar drop; doing this at night can drastically lower your blood sugar.
- Alcohol Consumption: Drinking alcohol can prevent the release of glucose from the liver's storage, which could lead to a drop in blood sugar levels.
- Other medications: Oral Diabetes and beta blockers can increase the chance of evening sweats. 
- Autonomic dysfunction: Nocturnal hypoglycemia in Diabetes can occur when the destruction of specific nerves, as a complication of the condition, hinders the body's ability to respond effectively to low blood glucose levels.
Tips to Stop Diabetes Night Sweat
Test Blood Sugar Before Sleep
Have a consistent schedule when you test your blood pressure before sleeping. By checking your blood sugar levels before you sleep, you can avert night sweats, as it helps identify any inadequacies and allows you to take appropriate steps accordingly. It is also essential to keep blood sugar levels at the target range advised by your medical provider to prevent any complications and night sweating.
Wear comfortable clothing and keep the room comfortably cool
Loose-fitting and lightweight clothing accommodates better airflow within the body. It will allow proper regulation of body temperature and prevents constriction. Maintaining the room temperature at 15-19°F is ideal. This temperature will keep the room humid-free and well-ventilated to avoid any sleep interruptions from sweating.
Adjust Food Intake
Eating a healthy, balanced diet can reduce blood sugar problems. Avoid high-carbohydrate meals before bedtime, which can spike glucose levels, leading to night sweats. Also, it is best to educate yourself and be aware of certain foods' glycemic index (GI). High GI can rapidly increase blood sugar levels, and low GI can prevent sudden blood glucose changes.
Adjust Insulin and Drugs Intake
As mentioned above, controlling blood pressure is essential because, if left uncontrolled, it can cause detrimental effects on the body. If you are taking insulin and still experiencing night sweats, consult your doctor's approval for adjusting the dosage and timing of it. Additionally, glucose medications have a lot of types. And if you are taking a new drug that contributes to nighttime sweating, it is best to change and seek alternative glucose medications—for example, this research by Costello. (2023) concluded that sulfonylurea medication causes too low blood sugar, resulting in night sweats. 
Manage Exercise Time
Regular exercise is critical to diabetes management, but setting an appropriate time for physical activity is vital.  Exercising close to sleeping can increase the chance of night sweats because it increases our body temperature, leading to excessive sweating. So, it is better to do these activities a few hours before sleeping so the body can return to its normal temperature.
You can also do low-impact exercises such as meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises to help reduce stress and anxiety, which could give you sound and restful sleep.
Does Type 2 Diabetes Make Me Sweat?
Yes, conditions such as type 2 diabetes can interfere with the normal sweating process in affected individuals. There are two reasons for this: too little glucose in the blood and neuropathies. Neuropathies happen if the person with long-term Diabetes does not control his blood sugar properly.  And these fluctuations in sugar levels can lead to nerve damage, which ultimately irregulates the sweat glands and can lead to excessive sweating.
Is Sweating after Eating Sugar a Sign of Diabetes?
Sweating after eating sugar or any food should not be definitive of Diabetes. However, people with long-standing Diabetes have problems with the body's normal functioning, like sweating.  That is why some diabetic people excessively sweat after they eat.
When Should I Be Worried About Night Sweats?
- Night sweats with symptoms: If night sweats accompany other manifestations such as dizziness, shaking, rapid heartbeat, confusion, and headache, seeking immediate medical help is crucial.
- Persistent night sweats: If your night sweats occur more frequently for an extended period, then it is best to check with your primary care physician.
- Unexplained cause: If you have night sweats and are experiencing unexplained weight loss, fatigue, fever, cough, and pain, then there might be an underlying condition, and it is best to consult your doctor immediately.
What to do When a Diabetic is Sweating?
- Check the blood sugar to see if low blood glucose levels cause it or if other factors like the weather, diet, or emotional status might cause it.
- If the cause is hypoglycemia, give the person affected a fast-absorbing sugary snack like fruit juice or candy.
- Monitor the person's blood sugar levels after 15 minutes and see if there's any improvement.
- If there's no improvement, give them another quick source of glucose snack. Monitor them closely for a few minutes to see if the blood sugar is stable.
- Finally, advise them to seek medical help in case this situation continues to happen frequently.
Night sweats alone are not an indicator of diabetes; it is a complication of fluctuating and mismanaged blood sugar levels. Mainly, nocturnal hypoglycemia is caused by many factors, including inappropriate insulin intake, forgetting to eat, excessive exercise before bedtime, and more. However, there are strategies to combat this, for example, wearing comfortable clothing, testing blood sugar levels 3 to 4 times a day, adjusting lifestyle habits, and seeking medical guidance.
Also, it is essential to note that night sweats accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, fatigue, vomiting, and weakness might indicate another underlying condition. Please consult your medical provider immediately.
Nocturnal hypoglycemia is manageable; use these tips and knowledge to know the exact cause of it, and don't let this interfere with your sleep quality—take charge now.
- Kenny, G. P., Sigal, R. J., & McGinn, R. (2016). Body temperature regulation in Diabetes. Temperature (Austin, Tex.), 3(1), 119–145. https://doi.org/10.1080/23328940.2015.1131506
- Zhu, B., Abu Irsheed, G. M., Martyn-Nemeth, P., & Reutrakul, S. (2021). Type 1 Diabetes, Sleep, and Hypoglycemia. Current diabetes reports, 21(12), 55. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11892-021-01424-1
- Costello, R. A., Nicolas, S., & Shivkumar, A. (2023). Sulfonylureas. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.
- Klarskov, C. K., von Rohden, E., Thorsteinsson, B., Tarnow, L., & Lommer Kristensen, P. (2021). Gustatory sweating in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus: Prevalence and risk factors. Endocrinology, diabetes & metabolism, 4(4), e00290. https://doi.org/10.1002/edm2.290
- Colberg, S. R., Albright, A. L., Blissmer, B. J., Braun, B., Chasan-Taber, L., Fernhall, B., Regensteiner, J. G., Rubin, R. R., Sigal, R. J., American College of Sports Medicine, & American Diabetes Association (2010). Exercise and type 2 diabetes: American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association: joint position statement. Exercise and type 2 diabetes. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 42(12), 2282–2303. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181eeb61c
- Feldman, E. L., Callaghan, B. C., Pop-Busui, R., Zochodne, D. W., Wright, D. E., Bennett, D. L., Bril, V., Russell, J. W., & Viswanathan, V. (2019). Diabetic neuropathy. Nature reviews. Disease primers, 5(1), 42. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41572-019-0097-9
- Figarella, I., Tréchot, P., Girard, F., Barbaud, A., Aliot, E., & Schmutz, J. L. (2001). Prévalence de l'hyperhidrose dans une population traitée par un bêtabloquant [Prevalence of hyperhidrosis in a population treated by beta-blocker]. Annales de dermatologie et de venereologie, 128(8-9), 877–881.
Official staff of Sinocare.
Note: All information on Sinocare blog articles is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.