It’s the morning after your birthday. It was pretty wild. You had a 50-man conga line going at one point. Someone’s pants are in your fridge. Brian broke your speakers halfway through the night, but it was fine because OF COURSE Matt brought his guitar along and broke out Wonderwall.
And now, we’re here.
Your head’s pounding. Your throat’s dry and it tastes like something died down there. Your muscles are achy, you feel sick as a dog, the anxiety is mounting. Welcome, friends, to the hangover.
But what’s actually going on inside to make you feel this crap? A lot, as it turns out. Alcohol might just be the helping hand you need when you’ve been pulled up to sing ‘Like a Virgin’ at karaoke night, but it’s really doing one over on your body.
Hangover problem #1: generally feeling like absolute crap
It’s true - on a hangover, it feels harder to do absolutely anything. Even taking the bins out is a massive mission that requires half an hour of prep. That’s because booze messes with your nervous system, throwing it off kilter, both while you’re drinking, and when your body’s still processing it the next day. This is what causes some of that nausea, shaking, sweats, and general feeling of bleh that comes with a hangover. It’s also what causes that ‘hangxiety’ or ‘the beer fears’ feeling the day after drinking.
What’s worse is - alcohol is broken down into acetaldehyde, which is between 10 and 30 times MORE toxic that alcohol itself, so while the alcohol’s being broken down, your body’s suffering even more.
Hangover problem #2: dehydration
Alcohol is a diuretic: it causes your kidneys to create more urine, so ultimately you’ll make more trips to the bathroom. Ever heard of ‘breaking the seal’? Yeah, that urban myth - When seal’s broken from the moment that first drink comes out. Dehydration is what causes that nasty headache, dizziness, and dry throat the morning after.
Hangover problem #3: upset tummy
You might love a drink. Your stomach, on the other hand? Not so much. Alcohol messes with your stomach lining, causing inflammation and overproduction of digestive juices and gastric acid. That time you threw up in a McDonald’s car park when you were 15 after mixing vodka, beer and wine? Yeah, that’s why. Sorry for bringing that up if the memory still haunts you.
This is also something that contributes to that feeling of nausea in the morning. It’s your stomach telling you it’s not happy about the all gin and tonics you put away last night.
Hangover problem #4: low energy and fatigue
This happens for two reasons: one, alcohol messes up your glucose production, leading to low levels of the stuff. As glucose is your body’s main energy source, this is going to leave you pretty weak and tired.
Two, a drink or two will likely ruin your sleep. After drinking, you’ll spend significantly more time in deep sleep, with little to no REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, or dream sleep as it’s also known. So, when you wake up, you’ll feel the opposite of refreshed. We at BioOnics love sleep, A LOT. If you want to know more about the benefits of sleep, click here.