Doctors Answers (4)
Hot flashes and sweating are common for postmenopausal women at night. Another cause however may be sleep apnea. We sweat during the daytime when we are working hard or are afraid [besides the obvious.. i.e. hot weather]. In the case of significant sleep apnea, one is working hard to breathe and the brain is afraid of suffocating, so one sweats. This is particularly common in kids. A full night sleep test should be done to look for sleep apnea or any other cause for the symptoms described.
Hot flashes are symptoms that are present in several medical problems. It is best to see a physician to help you determine what is causing hot flashes, if it is just a symptom or something that needs more workup like thyroid, sleep apnea, panic attack, depression, etc
Nocturnal hot flashes may be a sign of menopause or possiblyand endocrine disorder like thyroid disease. In association with vague feelings that are transient and casue insomnia seizures or a sleep wake transition disorder may be present. It may be of benefit to see your primary MD to get a check up to see if anything can be found. If not then referral to a sleep speicalist may be appropriate.
"Hot flashes" are not necessarily classified as a sleep disorder. They may occur while awake or asleep. They represent a surge of autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity. The autonomic nervous system controls most of our bodily functions except muscle strength and sensation. Our heart rate, blood pressure, bladder action and sweating are just a few systems under autonomic control. The ANS can be triggered by numerous methods to over or under react. Hormonal changes, sleep apnea, medications and even vivid dreams may stimulate the ANS. It is not always clear which component of the ANS is responsible for various actions such as night sweats or hot flashes but this erratic activity can interrupt sleep resulting in daytime fatigue. Investigation for a cause should begin with your primary care physician. If a sleep disorder is suspected, a referral to a sleep specialist is also recommended.