Sweat is one of those unpleasant constants we all live with, but waking up in the middle of the night positively soaked is a specific problem. If you've experienced this recently, no, this doesn't automatically mean you've suddenly entered menopause (although, if you're in your 40s or 50s, there's a strong likelihood this is your first sign). Night sweats can actually be caused by a number of things, some of them totally normal and some of them not. Shape recently got to the bottom of them all with the help of Jennifer Caudle, MD, DO, of Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. Related: 9 Reasons Your Sweat Smells Dr. Caudle explains that night sweats are more common than you think: "A lot of patients will ask me about [this] — just wondering if it’s normal." She adds that, at least among young, healthy women, "there’s a good chance the cause is environmental." You might just be layering on too many blankets or wearing pajamas that don't breathe well.
Related: 3 Things Your Butt Is Telling You About Your Skin's Health But, if you're only under a sheet, sleeping in your undies, and still wake up drenched, your problem is more than environmental. Dr. Caudle says medications, particularly antidepressants and even the pill, can cause night sweats. More serious conditions, such as thyroid issues or sleep apnea, may be to blame, too. If you continue to experience night sweats regardless of changes to your lifestyle, Dr. Caudle recommends seeing your doctor for a full workup. Click through to Shape for more health and wellness tips. (Shape) Related: 6 Weird Things You Didn't Know About Sweating