A fever is when your body temperature rises above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.  A normal adult’s body temperature can range anywhere from 97-99 degrees Fahrenheit.  Where a child’s normal body temperature can be slightly higher ranging from 98-100 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Rising body temperature is the most common sign of a fever.  There are other symptoms that can happen as well with a fever, like shivering, sweating, headaches, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and general fatigue.  A fever is not a sickness or disease.  It is a sign that your body is fighting off something like a bacterial or viral infection.  

Night fevers can happen suddenly.  You may have felt fine all day to then be woken up feeling terrible by a night fever.  Some people may even experience night fevers that are then gone in the morning.  Most doctors don’t rule out sickness until it has been 24 hours without fever though instead of just between night and day.  This is because at night the symptoms of a fever can be magnified.  This can happen because we are more active and distracted during the day, that some of the other symptoms of a fever may not have been noticed until you are relaxed in bed without any other distractions. 

Fevers can also be worse at night because naturally our body raises its body temperature during sleep.  Raising your body temperature on top of having a fever can make you feel extremely uncomfortable.  Another factor that can make a fever worse at night is that you are bundled under blankets and covers.  In children and babies being swaddled can actually make a fever worse at night too. 

The inflammatory response of a person’s immune system is working harder at night too which can cause the fever to spike at night.  When you are sleeping it has been shown that the body produces less cortisol and adrenaline.  This decrease in production of these two hormones makes the fever symptoms even worse at night.  


Night Time Fever Causes

There are many causes of night fevers. One is when external pyrogens try to get into the bloodstream.  Pyrogens are fever inducing substances.  When a pyrogen comes in from the outside of the body and gets into the bloodstream it causes internal pyrogens to produce more.  This extra production of the pyrogens can then lead to a fever.  A pyrogen is usually a substance made up of bacteria.  This is one of the most common causes of a night fever.  

Another cause is a urinary tract infection.  Pain in the urinary tract along with a presence of toxins in the body can cause night fevers.  Other infections that can cause night fevers are an upper respiratory tract infection.  The common cold, larynx infection, bronchi infection, or trachea infections can all cause night fevers.  Infections from any type of viral, bacteria, or fungi can cause night fevers too.  Like infective endocarditis, or tuberculosis. 

Connective tissues disorders can also cause night fevers.  These include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, polymyositis, or dermatomyositis. 

Some types of cancer such as lung and renal cancer can have night fevers.  Some sarcomas, or lymphoma can also have night fevers. 

Thyroid disease, gout, and porphyria are endocrine and metabolic disorders that have night fever symptoms. 

Allergic reactions, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, aplastic anemia, leukemias, blood transfusion reactions, cirrhosis, cerebral hemorrhage, and Kawasaki disease all can cause fevers at night too.  

Inflammation in the body can also cause night fevers.  Conditions that cause inflammation in the body are phlebitis, thyroiditis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, pancreatitis, or sarcoidosis.  Some of these conditions can be chronic and cause prolonged fevers. 


Prolonged Fevers

A prolonged fever is an elevated temperature for at least three weeks.  This prolonged fever can be sustained, remittent, or intermittent. 

  • A sustained fever is when the fever is persistent with little fluctuation. 
  • A remittent fever is when the daily temperature fluctuates above the normal range, this is the most common type. 
  • An intermittent fever is when the temperature fluctuates from normal during the day to rising as the day progresses.  


Night Sweats

Night sweats are a common symptom that go along with night fevers.  Night sweats can also occur when no fever is present.  Night sweats are night time sweating that soaks through clothing and bedding.  There are a number of different things that can cause night sweats.  Anything that can cause a fever can cause night sweats. 

Conditions that can cause night sweats are menopause, obesity, anxiety, hyperthyroidism, diabetes insipidus, nocturnal hypoglycemia, gastro-esophageal reflux disease, endometriosis, night terrors, or serotonin syndrome. 

Some medications may cause night sweats, or the misuse of drugs could also cause them.  


Diagnosing Night Time Fevers

If you are having night fevers that are gone in the morning often you will want to talk to your health care provider to try to find the root cause of the fevers. 

Your doctor will want to run a few tests to check for certain conditions that can cause night fevers.  A urinalysis to check for a urinary tract infection will be done.  A blood test to check for a raised white blood cell count can show a sign of infection in the body.  A malaria test, Dengue test, and Typhoid test may also be done because these are all common things that can cause night fevers.  Another test that will be run is the Erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein test.  

High fevers in children can be scary and may need to be seen and treated by a doctor.  Some children may experience seizures when their temperatures are too high.  These seizures are usually harmless and have no long term effect on your child, but a doctor should examine them if this happens. 



Your body has a fever when it is trying to fight off an infection. 

Sometimes not treating the fever is the best way to let your body fight off the infection.  This can be uncomfortable and cause for some sleepless nights, if this happens regularly. 

Using some over the counter medication to help reduce the fever can help you sleep.  Never give a child aspirin to lower their fever as it can cause other conditions that can be life threatening.  


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