Why Does Alcohol Make You Feel Hot?
June 17, 2022
Have you ever had a glass of wine in the wintertime, some whiskey around a campfire, or a few beers at a tailgate and noticed how the alcohol makes you feel warm? This seemingly warm and fuzzy feeling has a scientific explanation, but it’s to be regarded carefully because it's actually doing the opposite of “warming” your system. Read on below to learn more about what some have called the “beer blanket,” and why you may experience that warm alcohol feeling.
Why Do I Get Hot When I Drink?
Why do drinks seem to give us the warm and fuzzies? Or maybe even make us think we can make that quick winter walk to the bar without a coat?
Alcohol is a vasodilator meaning it widens the blood vessels. This redistributes blood flow to the outer layer of your skin giving you a false sense of warmth. The danger is that this redistribution means the body is actually sending blood away from vital organs. This effect of alcohol, combined with slowed brain activity, is a dangerous combo if you’re drinking out in the cold: it actually increases your risk of hypothermia. When the outer layer of the skin has a false sense of warmth and thus cannot detect lower temperatures, you think you are warmer than your body actually is! If you are doing any cold-weather drinking, be sure to drink responsibly and keep this in mind.
This “beer blanket '' phenomenon is somewhat similar to one of the other effects of alcohol: sleep quality. In both cases, at first alcohol makes you think it’s better, but in the long run it’s worse. While the first few drinks you feel tired, or may make you think you’re warming up, in the long run you’re actually losing body heat more rapidly, and getting lower quality sleep. Alcohol is sneaky in this way and should be enjoyed in moderation!
Other Reasons for That Warm Alcohol Feeling
Another reason for that warm alcohol feeling may be something completely different if you have a condition. Perhaps you’ve heard of Alcohol Flush, also called Asian Flush. This condition is one in which the drinker actually lacks an enzyme needed to properly metabolize alcohol, and a toxin called acetaldehyde builds up in the system. Acetaldehyde buildup has a range of symptoms like headaches, redness in the face, that warm feeling throughout the body, and even nausea and dizziness. This reaction to alcohol is very different from the “beer blanket,” feeling, but can definitely make one feel very warm even after a few sips.
Is There Anything to Lessen the Effects of Alcohol?
While you may enjoy that warm and fuzzy initial feeling, remember that it’s actually doing the opposite to your body. It’s important to know what’s happening in your system so you can drink responsibly. If you are asking “why do I feel hot when I drink,” because you don’t like it, perhaps try some mocktails. Or, if you’re someone who feels the effects of alcohol quite strongly the day after drinking, our Flyby Recovery Capsules may help you to mitigate the next morning’s haze. Try just three capsules before drinking and another three before bed, and experience the results for yourself!
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