Substance Use

Alcohol Night Sweats: When to be Concerned

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Alcohol-induced night sweats are not uncommon in those who drink regularly or excessively. Shakiness, dizziness, heart palpitations, nausea, headaches, or fatigue may also result. While some people may experience night sweats occasionally due to drinking alcohol, if they become a frequent occurrence, then it may be a sign of alcohol addiction, alcohol intolerance, or an underlying health issue.

If this is the case, alcohol detox and addiction treatment will be very helpful.

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What are Alcohol Night Sweats?

Alcohol night sweats refer to the occurrence of excessive sweating during the night, often affecting the face, chest, back, and arms. (1) Individuals experiencing alcohol night sweats may wake up feeling cold due to the body’s production of sweat in response to alcohol consumption. 

These night sweats can be unsettling and disruptive to sleep patterns, requiring attention and understanding.

Causes of Night Sweats

Alcohol stands out as a primary cause of night sweats, as it can lead to an increase in body temperature and trigger the body’s cooling mechanisms during sleep. (2) Beyond alcohol, other common causes of night sweats include hormonal fluctuations, infections, medications, and underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or certain cancers. (3)

Understanding the various factors contributing to night sweats is key in determining the appropriate action for effectively addressing this symptom.

Immediate Effects of Alcohol

Yes, overconsumption of alcohol can cause night sweats. The body processes the alcohol in your system by breaking it down into compounds such as acetaldehyde and ethanol. (4) This process causes a rise in your body temperature, leading to sweating during the night.

Additionally, drinking too much alcohol suppresses the function of the hypothalamus, which is the part of your brain that helps regulate body temperature. This can also cause night sweats. (5)

Night sweats can also be a sign of alcohol withdrawal.

Alcohol Intolerance

Alcohol intolerance is a physical reaction that occurs when the body struggles to process alcohol efficiently. (6)

Symptoms may include:

  • Facial flushing
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Rapid heartbeat

It’s essential to distinguish alcohol intolerance from addiction, as the former is a response to the body’s difficulty in breaking down alcohol rather than a psychological dependency.

People with alcohol intolerance may experience discomfort even with small amounts of alcohol, prompting them to avoid it altogether.

Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal refers to the set of symptoms that individuals may experience when they abruptly reduce or stop drinking after prolonged alcohol use. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Night sweats

Night sweats during alcohol withdrawal involve excessive sweating during sleep, leading to waking up feeling cold due to the body’s response to the absence of alcohol. Recognizing and addressing these symptoms under medical supervision ensures a safe and supported recovery process.

Underlying Health Conditions

In addition to alcohol-induced night sweats, there are a variety of other medical conditions that are causes of night sweats. (7)

These include:

  • Infections such as tuberculosis or HIV/AIDS
  • Endocrine disorders such as hypoglycemia and hyperthyroidism
  • Cancer
  • Medication side effects
  • Hormonal imbalances, such as those caused by menopause
  • Damage to the nervous system caused by diabetes

If you experience night sweats that are not due to alcohol consumption, it is essential to seek medical attention. Your doctor can diagnose the underlying cause and provide treatment for any health conditions causing the symptoms.

Night sweats, characterized by excessive sweating during sleep, can manifest across various parts of the body, including the face, chest, back, and arms. This symptom often leaves individuals waking up feeling cold as a result of the moisture generated by the body. 

Beyond the apparent manifestation of sweating, night sweats may accompany additional symptoms, contributing to discomfort.

Chills, where the body experiences sudden cold sensations, can accompany night sweats, adding to the disruptive nature of the experience. Nausea, a feeling of sickness or an inclination to vomit, may also be present, further contributing to the distressing nature of the condition.

Additionally, fatigue, a persistent sense of tiredness or weariness, often accompanies night sweats, potentially impacting overall well-being. 

How to Prevent and Manage Night Sweats

The best ways to prevent alcohol-related night sweats are to: (1)

  • Drink in moderation
  • Drink plenty of water when you have alcohol
  • Avoid binge drinking

If you are struggling with an alcohol use disorder, ask your doctor about treatment options such as counseling or medication-assisted treatment.

You should also speak to your doctor if you think another underlying health condition may cause your night sweats. They may be able to suggest medications, lifestyle changes, or therapies that can help reduce the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and substance abuse.

When to Be Concerned

If your night sweats are accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, chills, or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical attention immediately. It is also important to see a doctor if your night sweats become more frequent or intense over time.

In addition, if you experience night sweats due to alcohol consumption, it may be a sign of alcohol addiction. If you believe you may be struggling with an alcohol use disorder or alcohol abuse, seek medical advice.

If you experience night sweats due to drinking alcohol, it’s essential to be aware of other signs that could indicate a problem with excessive alcohol consumption.

These include:

  • Loss of control over how much and when you drink
  • Spending a significant amount of time thinking about drinking or recovering from drinking
  • Feelings of guilt or embarrassment related to drinking
  • Drinking in dangerous situations
  • Experiencing common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, like delirium tremens, or the DTs, when you don’t drink (8)
  • Using alcohol to cope with stress or other difficult emotions
  • Drinking in secret or lying about how much you drink
  • Needing to drink more to get the same effect
  • Continued drinking despite negative consequences such as relationship problems, health issues, financial difficulties, or legal trouble

If you notice these signs or have concerns about your drinking or any added health problems, speak to a doctor or mental health professional. They can help you determine if there is a problem and assist you in finding healthcare treatment programs.

Alcohol Addiction and Its Effects on Health

If you drink more than the recommended limits and are experiencing negative consequences, you may struggle with alcohol addiction. Alcohol addiction and alcoholism are closely related but have some distinct differences.

Alcohol addiction is the compulsive need to drink, regardless of the consequences. It is when someone regularly drinks to excess and has developed alcohol dependence.

Alcoholism, on the other hand, is a chronic health condition characterized by an inability to control drinking, physical dependence, and withdrawal symptoms when drinking is stopped.

Excessive alcohol consumption and substance use disorders can be life-threatening in the short and long term. (9)

Short-term effects of alcohol can include:

  • Impaired judgment
  • Slurred speech
  • Slowed reflexes and coordination
  • Lowered inhibitions and confusion
  • Delirium tremens
  • Hot flashes
  • Overdose, coma, and death
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure

Long-term alcohol effects can include: (10)

  • An increased risk for certain cancers
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Problems with the central nervous system
  • Weakened immune system
  • Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
  • Memory loss
  • Brain damage

Stop Drinking Alcohol With Zinnia Health Today

With personalized strategies and comprehensive support, Zinnia Health is committed to helping you achieve a life free from the constraints of alcohol. Take the first step towards a brighter, alcohol-free future with Zinnia Health today.

Zinnia Health is here to provide the support, guidance, and effective treatment you need to start living a life free of alcohol addiction. Our detox facilities, group counseling, medical advice, and outpatient services focus on helping those struggling with cravings for alcohol learn how to cope with them. We understand that addiction can be a difficult journey, which is why we have an alcohol hotline available 24 hours per day. Call us today at (855) 430-9439 for help and support.


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(855) 430-9439
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