After a night of drinking, you wake up, and feel a massive headache coming on. Your muscles ache, you feel groggy, and you didn’t get much sleep. These are all signs of a hangover; although typically harmless, hangovers can make it difficult to function the next day at work, and may cause you a lot of discomfort. An estimated 75% of people who drink alcohol to intoxication will experience a hangover the next morning as a result. Other symptoms, such as dry mouth, dizziness, rapid heartbeat and change in blood pressure may occur. What happens to your body when you drink alcohol that causes you to have a hangover the next day? Let’s look at what science has to say.
First, it all depends on what you have been drinking. Research says the darker in color your alcoholic beverage is, the more congener it contains – leading to more severe hangovers. When the body processes alcohol in its system, chemicals called congeners form, which increase the frequency and severity of hangover symptoms. Many people also become low in blood levels of various hormones, which effect the hangover as well – for example, alcohol inhibits the antidiuretic hormone, leading a person to urinate more frequently and become easily dehydrated.
Secondly, it depends on how much you had to drink and how you drank it. For example, a person who drinks quickly and has had little food to eat is more likely to experience a more severe hangover than someone who drinks moderately and has been eating throughout the night. A 2018 study published in the journal, “Addictive Behaviors” found that greater hangover severity predicted more future drinks per drinking day and alcohol problems. This makes sense, as many people who experience severe hangovers are likely heavy drinkers or drink dark liquors.
Lastly, the environment in which a person drinks can affect the quality of and their ability to sleep. Loud music, smoke, flashing lights, and more can all impact your experience the next morning. Based on the physical effects of drinking, how can you prevent a hangover? There are many ways:
- Significantly reduce or limit the amount of alcohol you drink
- Drink lighter-colored alcoholic beverages
- Eat a healthy breakfast the morning after
- Drink plenty of water the morning after
- Refrain from drinking altogether
Hangovers can certainly be uncomfortable, but if you are experience symptoms such as confusion, seizures, slow breathing, pale skin, low body temperature or another concerning sign, seek immediate medical attention. If you’ve been struggling with alcoholism, make the decision to seek help from a reputable treatment center today.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.