Alcohol can cause night sweats in some people. Night sweats occur because alcohol can affect the nervous system and how the body regulates and senses body temperature, blood pressure, and heart activity.
Night sweats may also result from alcohol withdrawal or alcohol intolerance. For people who already have night sweats, such as those going through menopause, consuming alcohol can make the sweating worse.
Home remedies can usually help manage alcohol-induced night sweats. Such home remedies may include staying hydrated and keeping the bedroom at a comfortable temperature.
People with alcohol dependency or intolerance should see a doctor.
In this article, we cover night sweats and alcohol, including how to manage night sweats after drinking.
Alcohol can cause night sweats in several different ways. People may sweat more after drinking due to the following:
Effects on the heart and blood vessels
Alcohol affects the body in many ways, one of which is its impact on the heart. It can cause the heart rate to become too fast or the heart rhythm to become irregular.
With alcohol intake, when the heart rate speeds up, the blood vessels in the skin tend to widen. This process is called vasodilation.
Dilated blood vessels cause the skin to feel warm and flushed. This can trigger the release of sweat.
This sweating could occur at any time of day. However, as many people drink alcohol in the evening, night sweats are common.
While many people feel warm after drinking alcohol, the core body temperature drops as blood moves from the core to the skin through dilated blood vessels. Sweat also removes heat from the body.
People may not realize that because of this, they are at risk of hypothermia in cold weather. Or, in hot weather, they may begin to experience nausea and dizziness with dehydration in addition to sweating.
People who drink heavily or regularly may have night sweats several hours or days after last consuming alcohol. This is a common symptom of alcohol withdrawal, often affecting people with alcohol use disorder (AUD).
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one 2015 survey suggested that 15.1 million adults in the United States had AUD. This figure includes 9.8 million males and 5.3 million females.
Night sweats due to alcohol withdrawal are usually temporary but may last for several days. Other withdrawal symptoms include:
- aches and pains
- anxiety and depression
- loss of appetite
- sleep problems, including insomnia and nightmares
Some of the more severe symptoms include vomiting, fever, hallucinations, and seizures.
A person should seek immediate medical attention if they experience any of these symptoms.
Alcohol intolerance is a genetic disorder in which the body does not have enough of the enzyme activity necessary to break down alcohol.
Other symptoms include:
Sometimes, a person may appear to have alcohol intolerance but may be reacting to another ingredient in the drink. Doctors will use a simple test to determine whether or not alcohol is the issue.
Other factors, such as menopause or medication use, commonly cause hot flashes and night sweats. Drinking alcohol may make these symptoms worse.
A 2006 study that appeared in the Annals of Human Biology found that drinking alcohol during menopause may make night sweats worse. Of 293 people in the study, 36 percent of menopausal females had experienced night sweats.
However, hot flashes and sweating can affect other people, too, since alcohol can harm the endocrine system. This system makes and secretes hormones that can contribute to these symptoms.
People experiencing mild night sweats from occasional alcohol consumption may find relief using home remedies.
- drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated and replace fluids lost through sweat
- showering to remove excess salt and sweat from the skin
- keeping the bedroom at a comfortable temperature for sleep
- removing excess blankets and wearing light pajamas
People with alcohol intolerance may need to avoid drinking alcohol to stop night sweats from occurring. Some people may be able to improve their symptoms by limiting the amount of alcohol they consume.
People experiencing alcohol withdrawal linked to alcohol dependency should consider seeking help more urgently. A doctor can provide information and guidance on eliminating alcohol.
Sweating is a common effect of drinking alcohol. For many people, night sweats will be temporary based on the alcohol consumption of a particular occasion. They will not have any lasting impact.
People who experience night sweats regularly after drinking may have an issue with alcohol. There are many risks, including cancer and liver damage, of long-term alcohol use. For this reason, seeking help is advisable.
Those who believe that they have AUD or alcohol intolerance should see their doctor.
Others who regularly experience night sweats, especially if they have additional symptoms, should also make an appointment with their doctor to determine the underlying issue.