Cold sweats are commonly a reaction to stress caused by fear or anxiety, reports WebMD. They can also be caused by certain medical conditions including shock, heart attack, low blood sugar, extreme physical pain and shortness of breath.
Weakness, paleness, chills and chest pain frequently occur simultaneously with cold sweats, according to Healthgrades. When additional symptoms such as these occur during cold sweats, it is advisable to consult with a doctor immediately to rule out serious underlying conditions. When cold sweats occur at night, they are often due only to excessive heat buildup from too many bedclothes being worn. They may also be a result of nightmares, but a doctor should be consulted if they do not occur due to heat and the bed sheets are thoroughly soaked.