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Night Sweats and Alcohol

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Can Alcohol Cause Night Sweats?

Night sweats occur while people are sleeping and are often a result of alcohol consumption. They are repeated episodes of intense perspiration, typically enough to soak your clothes and bedding. 

Heavy drinking results in severe intoxication, which may cause vomiting, upset stomach, slurred speech, coordination problems, and severe sweating. Both heavy and moderate drinking can result in night sweats. 

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Common Symptoms of Night Sweats

Feeling clammy, hot, and sweaty throughout the night can be related to alcohol withdrawal. You also may feel moody, depressed, anxious, or fidgety

Other common symptoms of night sweats include:

  • Shakiness
  • Fever
  • Body aches and chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Appetite loss
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Nightmares
  • Nausea 
  • Restlessness

How Does Alcohol Cause Night Sweats?

No matter how much alcohol you drink, you may experience night sweats when you go to sleep.

This is because alcohol is toxic. Your body recognizes it as a toxin, so it tries to get rid of the substance as quickly as possible through perspiration.

Alcohol also affects the nervous system and how the body regulates your heart, blood pressure, and body temperature. It widens your blood vessels and increases your heart rate, which causes sweating. 

In rare cases, alcohol-induced night sweats may be a symptom of alcohol intolerance (a genetic condition). Flushing of the neck, face, and chest can also occur if you drink too much.

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Are Night Sweats a Symptom of Alcohol Withdrawal?

When people with AUD stop drinking, they will often experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms occur within a few hours or days after the person’s last drink.

Night sweats can be a symptom of alcohol withdrawal. Excessive alcohol consumption can induce sweating because it negatively affects the heart and increases the heart rate. 

Alcohol is an addictive depressant substance. It sedates the central nervous system (CNS) and brain when it enters the body. 

Drinking heavily and in excess over a long period changes brain chemistry. This results in alcohol dependence, or alcohol use disorder (AUD), which means the body has become physically dependent on alcohol. 

As the heart rhythm becomes too fast and irregular, the blood vessels in the skin widen. This process is medically known as vasodilation. During vasodilation, the skin becomes flushed due to dilated blood vessels, and severe sweating occurs.

If you drink heavily and experience night sweats after stopping alcohol use, it could be a sign of alcohol withdrawal. 

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Alcohol Intolerance or Allergy and Night Sweats

Sometimes, alcohol intolerance or an alcohol allergy can cause night sweats. When you’re allergic to alcohol or have an intolerance to it, your body cannot produce the enzymes needed to break down the toxins in alcohol. 

Some common symptoms of alcohol intolerance and allergies include:

  • Appetite loss
  • Facial redness
  • Hives
  • Asthma 
  • Vomiting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nausea 
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Itching and rashes
  • Swelling
  • Severe stomach pain after drinking

Alcohol allergies can range in severity. Seek medical attention if your symptoms become severe. 

Common Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal vary and may or may not include night sweats. People who develop moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms are more likely to have night sweats. 

Withdrawal symptoms range from mild to severe and can be life-threatening. 

If you develop any of the following withdrawal symptoms after stopping alcohol use, it may be a sign that you have an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Mild Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Minor withdrawal symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and night sweats include:

  • Minor headache 
  • Minor tremors (alcohol ‘shakes’)
  • Anxiety
  • Clammy feeling
  • Some nausea
  • Mild itching
  • Irritability
  • Mild sensitivity to light and sounds

Moderate Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Moderate withdrawal symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and night sweats include:

  • More extreme nausea
  • Head pressure/moderate headaches
  • Decreased cognitive function
  • Tremors (alcohol ‘shakes’) 
  • Anxiety and depression symptoms
  • More severe sensitivity to light and sounds
  • Some confusion
  • Sweating, including night sweats
  • Numbness or burning 
  • The feeling of pins and needles on the skin

Severe Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms can result in delirium tremens (DTs). This is the most serious and life-threatening form of alcohol withdrawal that requires urgent medical attention.

Signs of DTs include, but are not limited to:

  • Vomiting
  • Constant nausea
  • Extreme irritability
  • Severe tremors
  • Severe confusion and decreased cognitive function
  • Hallucinations
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Panic attacks
  • Drenching sweats, including night sweats

Anyone undergoing alcohol withdrawal should do so under the guidance of medical professionals in an inpatient treatment facility (detox). Alcohol addiction treatment is the most effective way to recover and abstain from alcohol long-term.  

Treatment for Night Sweats

The best way to avoid night sweats is to watch your alcohol consumption. If you decide to drink alcohol, keep track of your consumption and keep the number of drinks low. 

Other home remedies that may give you relief from night sweats include:

  • Drinking lots of water and staying hydrated 
  • Wearing light clothes to bed and avoid heavy blankets
  • Keeping the temperature of the bedroom cool and comfortable
  • Showering off sweat and salt from your skin if necessary

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do night sweats last after you quit drinking?

Night sweats caused by alcohol withdrawal typically only last a few days.
However, they can last longer in some people. How long they last depend on the severity of withdrawal symptoms, ranging from mild to life-threatening.

What are some other possible causes of night sweats?

Sometimes mild night sweats do not have an underlying cause and are nothing to worry about. Frequent and severe night sweats, though, may be caused by an underlying health condition.

They can be a side effect of taking certain medications or menopause. Autoimmune diseases, cancer (such as lymphoma), and infections can also trigger severe night sweats. It is best to seek medical advice if you are concerned.

Is sweating a sign of alcoholism?

Sweating is not necessarily a sign of alcoholism. Several factors outside of alcohol consumption can cause sweating.

Will sweating get rid of the alcohol in your system faster?

No. Sweating doesn't help your body rid itself of alcohol any faster. Alcohol is broken down in the liver. Therefore, sweating doesn’t help you become less intoxicated.

How are night sweats different from hot flashes?

Hot flashes are typically related to menopause. These flashes are sudden feelings of extreme body heat that can occur during the day or night.

Night sweats are different from hot flashes because they only occur while sleeping. They also result in severe perspiration, often soaking your bedding and clothes to the point where you must change them.

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Updated on November 7, 2022
10 sources cited
  1. Alcohol Facts and Statistics.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2022.
  2. Mayo Clinic. “Alcohol Intolerance.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2020. 
  3. Cleveland Clinic. “Alcohol Intolerance: Symptoms, Tests & Alcohol Allergy.” my.clevelandclinic.org.
  4. Wilson, D. & Matschinsky F., "Ethanol metabolism: The good, the bad, and the ugly." Medical Hypotheses, 2020.
  5. NCH Healthcare System.“Alcohol Intolerance.” www.nchmd.org. 2022.
  6. Alcoholics Anonymous. “Are Night Sweats a Normal Part of Drinking Alcohol?” alcoholicsanonymous.com. 2016.
  7. Harvard Health. “Alcohol Withdrawal.” Harvard Health Publishing. 2019.
  8. Bryce, C. “Persistent Night Sweats: Diagnostic Evaluation.” American family physician, 2020.
  9. Mayo Clinic. “Night Sweats.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2020.
  10. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder.” niaaa.nih.gov. 2020.

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