Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and found yourself covered in a cold sweat that you couldn’t quite explain? While sweating performs a bodily function — keeps you cool in warm conditions — and is often a sign your body is fighting off an infection, sometimes night sweats can be a sign of a more serious condition. If you’re dealing with alcoholism, you may also wake up in damp sheets.
Whether you’re enrolled in an alcohol detox program or trying to quit on your own, understanding the underlying causes of these sweaty nights can help you know if it’s a sign of something more serious. As you continue to wake up in a moist pile of blankets and sheets, you can’t help but wonder — why does alcohol give me night sweats?
Why Do We Sweat After Drinking?
You don’t need an alcohol addiction to experience increased perspiration after a night of drinking. Since beer, liquor, and whatever else you drink is considered a toxin, your body does its best to process it quickly before it can do any lasting damage. After a night at the bar, you may experience night sweats as your body continues to work towards flushing the toxic substances out of your system.
Excessive sweat also stems from what alcohol does to your body and its innate toxicity. Its presence affects our nervous system — everything from your heart, blood pressure, and body temperature. Your blood vessels widen, increasing your heart rate and causing you to sweat.
Are Night Sweats a Sign of Alcoholism?
The short answer is yes, night sweats can be, but they can also be more complicated than that. People have various reasons why they may have started sweating while they sleep that aren’t related to alcohol consumption. Night sweats can sometimes be linked to menopause, cancer, a new medication, or an autoimmune disease. Knowing when to seek medical help to eliminate other underlying causes can help you identify potentially serious issues before they worsen.
However, night sweats can be a clear symptom of an alcohol disorder in many cases. If you spend much of your spare time indulging in disordered drinking, your body is always trying to fight off the toxins, and the heavy usage leads to excessive sweating.
Can Night Sweats Be a Sign of Withdrawal?
Prolonged alcohol consumption fundamentally changes our brain chemistry to make our internal reward center associate further drinking with the release of dopamine and other happy chemicals. When someone who has become dependent on alcohol stops drinking, their body recognizes the sudden absence and doesn’t know how to respond. This is when they begin to experience withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms can begin to show in as little as two hours after their last drink and can last for days while they go through the process. One of the common symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be night sweats — but it ultimately varies on a case-by-case basis.
How your body responds to the sudden lack of alcohol in your system can change based on various factors. The high levels of stress as your body begins to readjust to life without this toxin can spark night sweats, headaches, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping, to name a few.
How to Deal With Night Sweats and Alcohol Recovery
When you decide to stop drinking and take your sobriety seriously, finding a treatment that can help you through every stage of your recovery can make a significant difference. Steps to Recovery provides our patients with an array of inpatient alcohol rehab programs to aid in their lifelong journey to sobriety. With individual and group therapies coupled with organized recovery programs, we aim to help you find the support you need to live the best life possible.
Night sweats might be a sign that you have a disordered relationship with alcohol, but with the right support system, you can work through your issues. If you or a loved one are struggling with an alcohol addiction or want to get sober, our staff is ready to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out and call us at 267.719.8528.