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Night Sweats and Alcohol: Understanding the Link

Night Sweats and Alcohol: Understanding the Link

People sometimes wonder about sweating at night after drinking. Here, learn about sweating and alcohol use disorder, including why it happens.

Alcohol consumption can come with side effects, especially among people who drink heavily. Sometimes, people notice they are sweaty after drinking alcohol. So, are night sweats after drinking normal? Learn the answer below, as well as information about seeking medication-assisted treatment for alcohol use. If you have been experiencing side effects, such as excessive sweating after drinking alcohol, medication-assisted treatment can help you to stop drinking. 

What Are Night Sweats?

From a medical standpoint, night sweats refer to episodes of heavy sweating that occur while a person is sleeping. Night sweats usually cause people to awaken in the middle of the night, because they are so severe that sweat soaks through clothing and onto bed sheets. 

Night sweats are more than just the body making an attempt to cool you down. Instead, they are rather uncomfortable and disruptive. For some people, night sweats are a sign of an underlying health condition. 

Common Symptoms of Night Sweats

If you’re experiencing night sweats, you’ll have some or most of the following symptoms:

  • Heavy sweating that drenches the bedsheets
  • Awakening in the night to the feeling of a cold sweat or a sudden wave of heat 
  • Red skin
  • Fast heart rate 

Severe Symptoms of Night Sweats 

If night sweats are severe, you may find that you’re hardly able to sleep at all. Severe night sweats can lead to disrupted sleep, as well as tossing and turning throughout the night. You may have a racing heart and hot, red skin. 

Causes of Night Sweats 

Night sweats can occur for a number of reasons. In women, they can be a symptom of hormonal changes that happen during perimenopause or menopause. Women may also experience night sweats prior to their period and during pregnancy, because of fluctuating hormone levels. 

Other causes of night sweats include viral and bacterial infections, infectious diseases like HIV, hormonal diseases like diabetes or thyroid problems, neurological disorders, cancer, panic disorder, and anxiety. Night sweats can also occur as a result of substance misuse, including alcohol consumption, so alcohol night sweats are a possibility. 

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Alcohol-Related Night Sweats 

There is a possibility of night sweat after drinking. One study evaluated the causes of hot flashes and night sweats and found that daily alcohol consumption was linked to nighttime sweating. 

How Alcohol Triggers Night Sweats 

There is a physiological explanation for feeling sweaty after drinking alcohol. Alcohol causes a sensation of feeling hot, which leads the blood vessels in the skin to dilate. This then leads to sweating, which is the body’s attempt to cool itself down. 

While alcohol can increase body temperature at any time of day, the truth is that many people drink at night. Alcohol and night sweats occur because of the timing of alcohol consumption. 

There are additional explanations for sweating at night after drinking, which are described below. 

Alcohol Intolerance and Night Sweats 

For some people, alcohol night sweats are a result of alcohol intolerance. Flushing is a common side effect of alcohol intolerance, and this symptom can lead to a sensation of feeling warm. Alcohol intolerance is attributed to genetic factors, and in addition to sweating and flushing, it can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, runny nose, itching, rapid heat rate, and shortness of breath when alcohol is consumed. 

Alcohol Withdrawal and Night Sweats

Another common cause of alcohol night sweats is alcohol withdrawal. When people become dependent upon alcohol, the body does not function the same without it. This leads to symptoms of alcohol withdrawal when a person stops drinking. 

Sweating is a common symptom of alcohol withdrawal. Other withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, hand tremors, anxiety, nausea and vomiting, and hallucinations. These symptoms can appear just a few hours after the last drink.

In people who are dependent upon alcohol, sweating at night after drinking is a result of the body going into withdrawal during the night. When a person is asleep and not consuming alcohol, the body begins to detox from alcohol, and withdrawal symptoms can appear within a few hours. 

How to Deal with Alcohol-Related Night Sweats 

If you’re looking for advice on how to stop alcohol sweats, the tips below can be helpful:

  • If you’re going to drink, have your last drink a few hours before bed time. If you’re out with friends, switch to water toward the end of the night.
  • If you tend to sweat after drinking alcohol, make sure your bedroom environment is cool and comfortable. You might even consider turning the thermostat a little cooler. 
  • If you have severe night sweats after drinking, talk with your doctor about the possibility of an alcohol intolerance. If you’re intolerant to alcohol, giving up drinking can reduce the occurrence of uncomfortable night sweats. 
  • If night sweats are accompanied by other symptoms, such as tremor, nausea, and vomiting, and you are a heavy drinker, you may have an alcohol use disorder, which is the clinical term for an alcohol addiction. Withdrawal symptoms like sweating at night can be an indication that you are dependent upon alcohol and would benefit from seeking treatment. 
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Night Sweats and Alcohol FAQs 

The answers to the questions below may also be helpful if you’re looking for information about night sweats after drinking. 

How Can I Get Rid of Hot Flashes After Drinking Alcohol?

If you tend to sweat after drinking, sleeping in a cool, comfortable environment can be helpful. Drinking water and moving to a cooler environment can help you to manage hot flashes.

Is Sweating Out Alcohol True?

From a physiological standpoint, people do not “sweat out” alcohol. Instead, alcohol is metabolized by the liver, which breaks down the alcohol and then excretes it in the urine. 

Does Metabolizing Wine Make You Sweat?

The act of metabolizing wine and other forms of alcohol does not produce sweat in and of itself. If you experience sweating after drinking wine, you may have an alcohol intolerance.

Do You Sweat at Night When You Stop Drinking?

Sweating at night after giving up drinking can happen in cases of alcohol withdrawal. If you are dependent upon alcohol, your body will undergo withdrawal when you stop drinking. This can lead to sweating and other withdrawal symptoms. 

How Can I Stop Alcohol Sweats?

If you experience uncomfortable night sweats after drinking, cutting off alcohol a few hours before bed and sleeping in a cool room can be helpful. If alcohol night sweats are persistent, you may need to consider whether you have an alcohol intolerance or an alcohol use disorder. In this case, seeking professional treatment can help you to stop drinking so you no longer experience unpleasant symptoms like night sweats. 

Is Sweating a Sign of Alcoholism?

A person who sweats excessively may be demonstrating symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, which occurs in people who have an alcohol use disorder. An alcohol use disorder is the clinical term for alcoholism, and it is associated with changes in the brain that lead to compulsive alcohol consumption. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms appear as soon as a few hours after the last drink, so a person who has an alcohol use disorder may begin sweating when they haven’t been drinking for a few hours. 

Work With Confidant Health to Stop Drinking 

If you’re experiencing alcohol night sweats and other symptoms but are unable to stop drinking, you may have an alcohol use disorder. If this is the case, reaching out for help is the first step toward recovery. Medication-assisted treatment for alcohol use can make it easier to stop drinking and stay committed to your recovery. At Confidant Health, we offer online medication-assisted treatment, so you can begin recovering from home. 

Download our app today to get started. We are on both the App Store and the Google Play Store. 

This article has been medically reviewed by
Erin Hillers
Erin Hillers
Erin Hillers
Nurse Practitioner

Erin is a Nurse Practitioner with 8 years of experience in midwifery and women's health. She has spent the past 5 years specializing in the treatment of opioid and alcohol use disorders.

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