If you’re parenting a toddler, you might already be aware of how notorious they are when it comes to bedtime. You’ve probably had the longest bedtime stories and convincing words before your little one finally gets to sleep. But before you finally rejoice for that much-desired shower or sleep, here’s your little tot, waking up irritated and sweating a lot. It may not be that bothering if it happened only once or twice, but if it keeps on repeating most of the nights, you might already be asking, “Why does my toddler sweat so much when sleeping?” Is it something that I should be concerned of? So to help ease your worries, here are some things to help you understand your toddler sweating in sleep.
Is it normal for my child to sweat while sleeping?
Toddlers, just like other children and adults, may sweat at night especially when they are sleeping in a warm environment. According to NHS, people normally sweat if they are sleeping on a bedding or room that makes the body feel warmer at night.
Sweating is a normal body response to heat
Sweating is a normal physiological process that occurs as a response to the increasing body heat. Our body functions most efficiently in normal body temperature which is around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (or 37 degrees Celsius.) External factors like a hot environment and too much layering of clothes may trap more heat in the body. As a result, the hypothalamus, which is the temperature-regulating gland in the brain, signals the body to create sweat. Sweat will go out the pores of the skin and evaporate, thus cooling down the body temperature.
Toddlers may have more sweat glands per area of their skin
Toddlers may also sweat a bit more than older children and adults due to their minute body structure. Since their body structure is just small and their sweat glands already begin to develop, they have more sweat glands per area of their skin. This makes that certain area sensitive to heat and sweat a bit faster than how our body responds as an adult. For example, sweats glands that are concentrated at the back of the head may be a reason why a child’s head sweats while sleeping on his back most of the time.
Though these are the most probable reasons for a toddler sweating in sleep, children can also sweat heavily at night even if their sleeping environment is cool and comfortable. This is called night sweats, which can affect children and adults alike.
Toddler Night Sweats
Are your toddler’s night clothes and beddings frequently soaked in sweat? If you’re already getting worried of your child excessive sweating at night, then it may be worth your time knowing a bit more about night sweats.
Night sweats are excessive sweating while sleeping. In this case, sweating will be too excessive that you’ll need to change your toddler’s clothes and beddings because they are too soaked with sweat.
Night sweats are different from the normal sweating that is triggered by external conditions like a hot room temperature, warm beddings, and wearing too many layers of clothes. Night sweats causes in toddlers are often internal in origin. These include:
- Infections like common colds and tonsillitis
- Allergic conditions like asthma, rhinitis, eczema
- Sleep apnea (brief pauses in breathing while sleeping)
- Changes in hormones such as excessive thyroid hormones
- Hyperhidrosis (a condition of excessive sweating that is not related to heat or exercise)
- In extremely rare cases, leukemia and lymphoma
What can I do if my child sweats a lot during sleep?
In most cases, toddler sweats a lot at night because of their physiologic response to external heat. Here are some tips to help you deal less of sweaty nights and promote better sleep for your child.
Remember that cold or hot for you may not be the same for them.
Young children are more sensitive to heat than adults, so what’s comfortable for you may not be comfortable for them. As you may notice, many toddlers opt to get out of their blanket even if you feel that the room is too cold for them to sleep in their bare pajamas.
Give them comfortable sleeping clothes.
Since a toddler’s skin is sensitive to heat, a cotton-based clothing may be the best sleeping clothes for your little one. Toddler clothes that are made with organic cotton can allow better air circulation and help prevent heat build-up underneath the clothes, thus decreasing the chance of sweating while sleeping.
Avoid too many layers
Excessive layering of clothes and blankets will trap the heat that will make them sweat. If you notice that your toddler is showing discomfort due to his blanket or sleeping clothes, you may need to consider adjusting them to his level of comfort.
Offer sips of water before bedtime or in between sleep as needed.
Too much sweating can lead to fluid loss in the body. If you have a sweaty toddler, make sure that you offer them water before bedtime so that they’ll have enough fluid in store for the night. It may also help offering sips of water when he wakes up sweating in the middle of his sleep to help relieve his thirst. Too much fluid loss can increase your child’s risk for dehydration, so it’s best to be mindful of your child’s fluid intake too.
When to seek medical attention for excessive sweating
If you often notice your toddler sweats profusely at night, it may also help to take note of the other symptoms that your child manifests, such as:
- Runny nose
- Pain that localized to one area of the body
- Loss of weight
- Changes in appetite
- Other unusual signs and symptoms
- Recurring night sweats in children, especially those occurring with other symptoms, maybe related to a medical condition, so it is best to consult a doctor for advice.
Toddlers may normally sweat at night in response to external heat. However, if your toddler frequently sweats excessively and you’re already worried about it, it may be worth asking your pediatrician so that the symptoms will be properly assessed and managed.