Babycare Health

My baby sweats at night. Is it normal?

Ambili S Kartha
0 to 1 years

Created by Ambili S Kartha
Updated on Jul 14, 2020

My baby sweats at night Is it normal
Reviewed by Expert panel

My Baby Sweats at Night. Is It Normal?

I have seen many of my friends worried their babies are sweating too much during the night. Some are very concerned about their baby's head sweating. Many new parents become too tensed that they even schedule an appointment with the doctor for a relatively innocuous baby's sweat. I went through this dilemma with my first child. Even during winter nights, I woke up to see my sleeping little girl is soaked in sweat. I was worried at first. Then many experienced mothers and my little surfing through some sites ebbed away my worries. Still, the question of baby's night sweat is one of the most frequent queries in many parent forums. Continue reading to understand the reasons, causes, and tips to deal with night sweats in babies. Also, understand when to seek medical attention for night sweat in babies. 

What Is Night Sweat In Babies? 

Excessive sweat in babies during the night, while they are sleeping, is the night sweat. The baby might wake up due to excessive sweat. Some babies sweat all over. On the other hand, some babies sweat in specific areas, like the head.  Either way, due to the wetness caused by excessive sweat, more often, the baby's sleep is disturbed. Night sweating in babies is not an unusual event. However, in rare cases, it might be an indication of an underlying health issue.

Types Of Night Sweat In Babies

The night sweats in babies can be either localized or generalized. In the case of localized night sweat, the sweating will be concentrated on the head, neck and face. Babies have a relatively large number of sweat glands in these areas. Therefore, the baby’s pillow is drenched while their bed remains dry. On the other hand, in the generalized sweating case, the baby's entire body sweats excessively, making the sheets and pillows damp.

What Are The Reasons For Night Sweat In Babies?

Here are some of the reasons that trigger night sweat in babies. You can correct most of the external factors mentioned below to avoid excessive night sweat in babies. 

1. Room temperature: 

Just like adults, a warm room triggers sweating in babies. Environmental factors such as humidity, and other factors such as the absence of proper ventilation and anything that stand in between the proper airflow and air circulation, can increase the room temperature to an annoying level. High room temperature, usually during summer nights, increases the night sweating in babies.

2. Deep sleep:

A deep sleep cycle is another reason that triggers night sweat in babies. Newborns and babies have the deepest cycle of sleep. The deep sleep cycles in babies are more than older children and adults to a great extent. 

3. Position: 

Small babies cannot move by themselves and, therefore, do not change their positions while sleeping. Sleeping in the same position for a long time may increase body temperature. Sweating is a means to regulate body temperature.

4. Making The Child To Wear Too Many Layers Of Clothes:

Covering the baby with a blanket or making the baby wear layers of clothes is a common practice. This increases the baby's body temperature, that in turn results in excessive sweating.

5. Fever And Medicines: 

Babies with fever are found to sweat a lot during the night. The fever medicines that are given just before bedtime triggers sweating during the night. This is because as the fever medicines bring down the temperature, the body sweats.

What Causes Abnormal Night Sweat In Babies?

As mentioned earlier, night sweats in babies are quite normal and nothing to worry about. However, in some instances, excessive perspiration could indicate an underlying health issue that needs medical attention. Here are some causes for concern regarding the night sweat in babies:

1. Infant Sleep apnea:

Sleep apnea is commonly found in premature babies.  Sleep apnea is found to be one of reasons that bring about excessive night sweating in infants. Babies with sleep apnea may pause the breathing up to 20 seconds.  This ends up in exertion of the whole body and excessive sweating

2. Congenital heart disease:

Babies who contracted congenital heart disease will experience excessive sweating during the night; this is because the baby has to put extra effort into breath. This extra work causes excessive sweating. 

3. Hyperhidrosis: 

If your baby sweats a lot, an air-conditioned room, or in a well-aerated cold room, it could be due to a condition known as Hyperhidrosis. Contrary to what it sounds like, Hyperhidrosis is nothing serious. It is just a condition characterized by excessive sweating. 

4. Respiratory illness:

Night sweating in children might also point to the possibilities of respiratory issues. Any issues related to the respiratory system and excessive sweating accompanies it. Babies with allergies, runny nose, tonsillitis, asthma, and even common cold may sweat profusely during the night.

Tips To Prevent Night Sweats In Babies

1. Avoid Over Dressing The Baby: 

It is important to dress your baby in appropriate, breathable, light, preferably cotton clothes. This will help to maintain the body temperature and prevent/reduce the chances of night sweating. Remember, comfortable clothing plays a key role in sound sleep.

2. Control Room Temperature: 

Try to maintain optimum room temperature (that is between 26-27 degrees centigrade). Make sure the room has proper airflow.  Go for a fan instead of an air-conditioner. The fan keeps the air moving around the room and helps to maintain safe room temperature.

3. Avoid Crowding Baby’s Crib Or Bed: 

Never overstuff baby's bed or crib. Remove unneeded blankets, coverall, stuffed toys pillows, sleep positioners’ etc. This will ensure that there is nothing around the baby that can potentially suffocate him while sleeping, but it ensures that the baby is not feeling hot and having comfortable and sound sleep.

When Should I Worry About Night Sweat In Baby?

Even though after correcting the external factors like room temperature, removing layers of the clothes and thick blanket, the child continues to sweat excessively, it is better to consult the child's doctor. Also, the sudden onset of heavy sweating, and if it continues for a prolonged period, you should seek medical advice. Excessive sweating, accompanied by other symptoms of illness, also necessitates medical attention. Likewise, if dry poop and dry skin also appears with excessive night sweat, it could be a warning sign of kidney problem which needs to be addressed by a specialist as soon as possible. 

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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