Night sweats happen for various reasons. These include sleeping in warm weather and wearing too many layers, as well as more serious causes, such as anxiety and cancer. Treatment and prevention involve managing underlying causes.

Night sweats can happen to people of any age. However, people typically associate them with illness or menopause. They can also affect children.

One older 2012 study of 6,381 children found that 11.7% of those surveyed experienced night sweats in the past 12 months. The researchers also noted that children with night sweats were more likely to have respiratory and skin diseases.

This article covers night sweats in children, starting with how sweating manifests. It also details the causes of childhood night sweats before describing the treatment and prevention of night sweats in children.

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Night sweats are an excessive amount of sweat while asleep. Night sweats can cause bedding and pajamas to become very wet.

Night sweats can be a challenging symptom for doctors to evaluate. Although children can develop night sweats for no apparent or concerning reason, this form of sweating can also indicate a more serious condition.

Night sweats mostly happen for nonserious reasons such as a hot temperature or using a lot of warm bedding.

Night sweats may sometimes be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, particularly if accompanied by another symptom such as fever or weight loss.


According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), cancer can sometimes lead to night sweats.

For some forms of cancer, night sweats are a hallmark symptom.

For example, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a form of blood cancer, causes significant night sweating. However, this cause of night sweats is rare and is almost exclusively in adults ages over 30.


People with anxiety report feelings of fear and may worry about things going wrong. People with anxiety can be prone to night sweats.


People with hyperhidrosis sweat in abnormally large amounts for no apparent reason. Hyperhidrosis can affect people during the day and night.

While this condition is not life threatening, some people may feel embarrassed about hyperhidrosis.


Hypoglycemia occurs when glucose levels fall below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) of blood.

People with hypoglycemia can experience night sweats.


Some medications can cause night sweats as a side effect, such as:

  • antidepressants
  • steroids
  • pain relievers

According to the NCI, the same is true of some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and hormone therapy.

Doctors do not typically treat night sweats. Doctors will instead aim to address the underlying reason for the night sweats.

This might involve treating an underlying health condition or changing medications.

However, it is not always possible to stop night sweats from happening.

There is no reliable way of preventing childhood night sweats when the sweating results from an underlying medical condition.

However, parents and caregivers can help prevent nighttime sweating with the following measures:

  • making sure that their child sleeps in a cool room
  • making sure that their child does not sleep with too many layers or blankets
  • avoiding lots of physical activity before bedtime

These preventive tips may also help to limit night sweats from underlying health conditions.

It is typical for children to sometimes sweat during the night, especially in warmer climates.

However, a parent or caregiver should contact a doctor if their child experiences frequent or significant night sweats. The same is true of night sweats that occur with other symptoms, such as a fever or a cough. This may indicate an underlying medical condition.

Night sweats involve excessive nighttime sweating, which can cause wet bedding and clothes. Children may experience them without cause. However, in some cases, they may result from an underlying medical condition, such as hyperhidrosis or cancer.

Additionally, some medications can cause night sweats.

Managing night sweats may involve treating underlying health issues, adjusting the sleep environment, or changing medications.