Are Night Sweats a Normal Part of Drinking Alcohol?
There’s no question that it’s unpleasant and uncomfortable to wake up in the middle of the night, clammy and drenched in sweat. These so-called night sweats can be caused by a variety of completely normal circumstances, from menopause to being side effects of prescription medications such as antidepressants.
How Does Alcohol Cause Night Sweats?
Even moderate alcohol consumption can cause night sweats. Your body tries to get rid of alcohol because it’s toxic to your system. Alcohol increases your heart rate and widens your blood vessels, which causes you to sweat. Night sweats can also be a symptom of being allergic to alcohol, which is a genetic condition.
People who are allergic to alcohol lack the enzymes to allow their bodies to properly break down alcohol. Other symptoms of alcohol allergy include hives, stuffy nose, nausea and facial redness.
But the most likely alcohol-related cause of drenching night sweats if you’re a heavy drinker is withdrawal from alcohol.
If you are a heavy drinker, you can have withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit drinking. Alcohol withdrawal can be very dangerous and quitting drinking is safest when done under medical supervision in a rehab setting.
What are the Other Causes of Night Sweats?
If you frequently experience night sweats, alcohol could be the cause. According to the American Family Physician, night sweats can be due to many causes. While it’s possible that your night sweats could be due to hormonal imbalances, hypoglycemia or even cancer, it could also be related to alcohol consumption or alcohol withdrawal.
Looking to blame the symptom on causes unrelated to alcohol abuse can be a form of denial. The more often you drink, the more likely it is that your night sweats are due to a physical dependence on alcohol.
How to Make Yourself More Comfortable
Night sweats can occur after a night of drinking, even when you’re not physically dependent on alcohol. If you wake up drenched in sweat, try some of these tips:
- Take a cool shower or rinse off your skin. This will remove the salt left behind by dried sweat.
- Put clean, dry sheets on your bed.
- Avoid using too many heavy blankets.
- Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature. Most people sleep better in a cooler room, whether or not they have night sweats.
What are the Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal?
Only a doctor can rule out other causes of night sweats. But you have good reason to suspect alcohol withdrawal if you are a regular heavy drinker and have any of the following symptoms when you try to quit drinking:
- Shaking or twitching
- Anxiety and nervousness
- Poor concentration
- Difficulty sleeping
- Nausea and vomiting
What Happens if You Keep Drinking?
Experiencing night sweats after drinking alcohol could be just a normal response to an occasional event of heavy drinking. But it is more common that when you experience night sweats, alcohol consumption is too much. If you only drink on infrequent occasions, you may be able to avoid night sweats by drinking less.
But if you are a regular heavy drinker and are frequently experiencing night sweats, it’s definitely a sign that you need to cut back on drinking. If you continue drinking, your withdrawal symptoms will get worse.
Delirium tremens, or DTs, are signs of severe alcohol withdrawal and include hallucinations, body tremors, disorientation and seizures. The symptoms of DTs are most common within 48 to 96 hours after your last drink. DTs are a life-threatening medical emergency that require professional help.
If you need help with quitting drinking, call our compassionate experts today at 800-839-1686.