The Science Behind Hangovers

Ever wondered why you get hungover?

The truth is, scientists don’t perfectly understand hangovers. People are most familiar with the theory of dehydration. Alcohol makes you urinate, causing you to lose a lot of volume. This dehydration can really make you feel terrible the next day. It can cause headaches, fatigue and just plain icky.

However, there are multiple components of why hangovers happen.

Chemical Component | Acetaldehyde is what alcohol metabolized into in the body. If this builds up, it produces a lot of nasty side effects, especially jitters and fatigue.

Mood Component | Alcohol is a major depressant in your system, so your body rebounds excitation when you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. Your body is revved up after being depressed from alcohol.

Withdrawal Component | Some believe that a hangover is actually mild alcohol withdrawal. This is why the theory “hair of the dog” (having a drink when hungover) was created.

Type Component | Darker alcohols are more likely to give you a hangover than lighter alcohols. Darker alcohols have a lot of byproducts of fermentation called congeners (other elements aside from alcohol made through fermentation).  Whiskey, bourbon, red wine and tequila are more likely to give you a hangover.

Volume Component | The amount of alcohol you drink is directly proportional to the severity of your hangover.

Science aside, the only thing that will cure a hangover is time. Cheers!

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