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What Helps Sweaty Heads, Night Sweats & Hot Flashes?

My Son had These Problems and Some Simple Diet Changes Helped Him Get Back to Normal

Too Much Acidity

We have one son who has had a lot of trouble on and off throughout the years with getting overheated. He especially had problems with night sweats for a period of time. For a while one spring, he would get a sweaty head every evening right before bedtime, at about 9:00 p.m. He would get bad headaches during these times, too, accompanied by an acid stomach. Often he was so hot and uncomfortable he was unable to even get to sleep, and then he couldn't go to school the next morning because he wasn't getting to sleep until 2:00 or 3:00 am.

There are many causes of night sweats including some diseases, so it is important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. However in my son's case he seemed otherwise healthy and the doctors didn't know what was causing him to be so hot, especially at night. We took our son to many different allopathic and alternative doctors in search of a cure, yet found few answers.

It took us awhile to figure out how to control it. Our pediatrician printed out some information on natural treatments for hot flashes in women to see if any of that data would help us. Searching around on the Internet led us to read up on our own about "heating" and "cooling" foods in Ayurvedic (traditional Indian) medicine. At our doctor's suggestion, we also very religiously kept a food diary for our son. After all of our reading and interpreting the results of his food diary, over time we have been able to keep him cool just by making minor tweaks to his diet. We never found a lot of information on male night sweats, but interestingly I've noticed that many people search for information on this condition, so it must be fairly common.

Head cool, feet warm, make the doctor poor.
German Proverb

After months of sweating, heat related problems, chronic headaches, and many doctor visits and medical tests with no diagnosis for his condition, let alone treatment plans, we put our son on a low acid, Ayurvedic based "cooling foods" diet, and within a few days he was fine. The results were nothing short of amazing. He only had to be on the special diet for a few days, and then he was able to go back to his normal diet. He still gets hot now and then, but we just put him on the Ayurvedic cooling diet for a few days and then he seems to recover pretty quickly.

According to Ayurvedic medicine, the following conditions tend to occur together in people with a "Pitta dosha". Many of the conditions listed certainly described my son's health issues. We found it interesting that Western medicine didn't even have name for his condition, and yet traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine not only had a name for what was wrong with him, but also many helpful dietary suggestions that led to his eventual improvement.

Conditions frequently linked to Pitta dosha / hot flashes in women / night sweats / sweaty heads / being hot in traditional Indian medicine:

  • Hyperthyroidism / speeded up metabolism
  • Over-acid stomach
  • Getting hotter at night than during day - especially in the head
  • Being underweight
  • Ulcers

Based on our food experiments with our son, I also found that foods that thin the blood seemed to speed up his metabolism and make his night sweats worse.

Based on our research and a very rigorous food dairy, we found that when that when my son is feeling hot, the foods listed below seem to cool him off, and interestingly in many cases the foods we found that helped him also agree with the "cooling foods" diets from Ayurvedic medicine.

boy with an ice cream cone   When he was hot and had an acid pH balance, these foods seemed to help the most:
  • Whole milk
  • Pears
  • Bananas
  • Potato salad made with mayonnaise
  • Soda crackers
  • Broccoli (especially raw broccoli)
  • White rice
  • Kidney beans
  • Higher fat foods, (our pediatrician said these tend to slow down a person's metabolism)
  • Ice cream
  • Butter
  • Tofu
  • Raw vegetables

One of my friends had problems with hot flashes during menopause and found great relief from consuming foods made with coconut oil, which has a high amount of saturated fat, which tends to coagulate the blood. High amounts of saturated fat are not recommended for most people, but I think for people with thin blood they may help bring about a more normal clotting balance. During menopause estrogen levels drop and normally estrogen promotes vitamin K, so a diet that clots the blood normally in pre-menopausal women may need more vitamin K for normal clotting (and hot flash prevention) as estrogen levels drop.

pH Out of Balance

My son also had an episode of night sweats at a later time period, only at this later point his body was too alkaline after taking antibiotics. When he was hot due and had an alkaline pH, then the following foods foods and supplements seemed to help:

  • Probiotic supplements - the bacteria synthesize vitamin K, which helped to clot the blood
  • Yogurt with cream on top and active cultures
  • Pickles - the acidity helped to balance out the alkalinity

Basically, the more normal his pH became, neither too alkaline nor too acid, the less problems he seemed to have with the night sweats. For more information on this topic, see my section on alkaline balance.

In hindsight, I think most of my son's night sweat episodes came whenever he had to take antibiotics or ate foods with antibiotic properties. Antibiotics can kill off the good bacteria that help synthesize vitamin K. Vitamin K clots the blood, which in turn slows down the metabolism. I suspect that a lack of vitamin K speeds up the metabolism by thinning out the blood.

My son had been having some stomach problems prior to the onset of the sweating issues. For his stomach problems he had been drinking ginger ale. It turns out that ginger is a heating spice in Ayurvedic medicine, and is known for speeding up the metabolism. It also thins the blood. My son also used to take sandwiches to school with mustard, another heating spice. So in the end there were logical reasons why he was hot all of the time, it just took some digging to figure out.

I don't know if what helped my son would help other people with night sweats, but I thought if I put it out on the Internet it might give others some points to ponder. We were really flummoxed over my son's condition initially, though in the end the solution for him was fairly simple and had probably been around for thousands of years. We just had to do a lot of digging to find it.

What Causes Night Sweats?

Why do people tend to get sweaty heads and hot flashes more at night and in the evening?

Some thoughts.....

We did a lot of research a few years ago to try to figure out why one of our sons was getting night sweats. One of the things we found highly interesting was that in Ayurvedic (traditional Indian) medicine, night sweats can be linked to excess stomach acid and ulcers. This caught my attention because I'd noticed in the past from some home tests I did with nytrazine paper that my body was always more acid in the evenings than in the morning. Some of my friends had noticed the same thing - an increase in acid levels in the evening.

So I suspect there is some kind of built in body rhythm for many people where in general stomachs churn out more acid at night, which in turn raises a person's body temperature and speeds up their metabolism. Perhaps at one time this was some kind of built in survival mechanism to keep people warm at night to compensate for the loss of warmth from sunshine during the day, as well as making up for body heat generated by moving around during the day. For our cave dwelling ancestors it was probably a protective trait, but now has become problematic for some people in this day and age of furnaces and houses like ours with automatic thermostats, especially for people who already have high metabolisms to begin with.

Interestingly though, at a later date my son developed night sweats again after a course of antibiotics when his body pH was too alkaline. So I suspect his body wasn't getting something it needed whenever his digestive tract was out of kilter, either too alkaline or too acid. During this second episode of night sweat what helped was having him ingest supplements and foods with good bacteria, which helped to acidify his digestive system and bring his body pH into a more normal range.


person that is hot and sweaty


Related sections of interest:

Acid - Alkaline Balance for Optimal Health

Acidic and Alkaline Food Lists

Acid, Alkaline and Neutral Food Chart

What causes an ammonia smell in the urine?

Dry Mouth - Xerostomia

Sweaty Heads, Night Sweats and Hot Flashes


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