When it involves alcohol, the road between fiction and reality is usually blurry. Whether it’s at a celebration with buddies or via popular culture references, there are fairly just a few issues about ingesting alcohol that get misconstrued. 

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Things like so-called hangover cures, results of various kinds of alcohol and even how a lot alcohol we will deal with.

And whereas it might appear innocent to dwell by a few of these “tips,” a few of these alcohol myths can put your well being in danger.

Chemical dependency specialist Joseph Janesz, PhD, LICDC, helps clear up the confusion round alcohol so you’ll be able to drink smarter and extra responsibly. 

Myth 1: Drinking perks you up at events

One of the largest misconceptions round alcohol is that it offers you vitality, which can encourage you to drink extra, particularly throughout social conditions. 

“Especially throughout the holiday season, many of us struggle with fatigue and excess stress,” Dr. Janesz notes. “We may look to alcohol at a holiday party to dissipate that fatigue, enhance our energy level and relieve stress.”

But alcohol is a brain-depressant. It first acts by shutting off government features like judgment, temper management and pure inhibitions. Some folks expertise this as a way of thrill and pleasure. But others expertise the other: sleepiness, lethargy and even a depressed feeling.

The backside line? Alcohol interferes with regular mind exercise, irrespective of how you are feeling if you drink.

Myth 2: A beer earlier than mattress helps you sleep

Using any kind of alcoholic beverage to help you sleep is at all times going to backfire, even when within the second it feels prefer it’s serving to.

“Drinking a beer before bed may get you to fall asleep more quickly,” says Dr. Janesz. “However, it interrupts your deep sleep, and you’ll wake later on feeling not rested and hungover.”

Normally, your physique cycles via mild and deep phases of sleep. Alcohol inhibits refreshing REM (speedy eye motion) sleep and afterward causes “REM rebound,” with nightmares and bother sleeping.

Repeated alcohol use critically disturbs sleep and makes it tough to re-establish a traditional sleep sample. Often, this results in extra ingesting or to sedative abuse within the quest for sleep.

Myth 3: An Irish espresso will preserve you heat on the slopes

You might have heard that an alcoholic drink — particularly one thing like an Irish espresso or scorching toddy — can heat your physique up when it’s chilly. But that’s only a non permanent sensation you’re feeling. 

“Alcohol intake may make your skin feel warm,” acknowledges Dr. Janesz. “Yet it deceptively lowers the core temperature of your body.”

Your physique usually shops heat blood in its core to protect essential organ features. Alcohol artificially dilates blood vessels in your extremities, permitting heat blood to flee out of your core into your peripheral circulation, the place it cools. The outcome: Your physique can now not preserve important organs heat as your total temperature drops.

In different phrases, if you’re coping with harsh circumstances, don’t rely on a drink to maintain you toasty. 

Myth 4: A beer is much less potent than a cocktail

There’s additionally plenty of myths across the various kinds of alcohol and the way they have an effect on you. And whereas ingesting an off-the-cuff beer with buddies might really feel much less intense than a spirited cocktail, they’re extra comparable than you may assume. 

According to Dr. Janesz, whether or not you’re ingesting a pale ale or a Moscow Mule, you’re usually consuming an identical quantity of alcohol. But regardless, “Any alcohol beverage you consume will have a similar effect on your body and on your ability to function.”

This fantasy can particularly be dangerous if it causes you to drink more than you can handle — so at all times take note of the alcohol content material in your drinks and be trustworthy with what your physique can handle.

Myth 5: Coffee can sober you up if you’ve had just a few too many

While it might really feel like coffee is bringing you again to life in some ways, you shouldn’t rely on it to get alcohol out of your system. In reality, espresso has no actual impact in your blood alcohol degree, which is the main think about figuring out your degree of intoxication.

“Drinking coffee or other caffeine products after having one too many drinks can trick your brain into making you feel energized and more awake or alert,” warns Dr. Janesz. 

In different phrases, coffee may just mask the feeling of being drunk, which continues to be not good. In actuality, you must know when you’ve had too many or not. “The alertness can create the perception that you aren’t as drunk or intoxicated as you actually are, and you may decide to have another drink or to drive home,” he provides.

Instead, you must keep track of how long alcohol can keep in your system, drink lots of water and wait in your physique to clear all of it out. Unfortunately, there aren’t any shortcuts.

Myth 6: All sexes react to alcohol in the identical manner

Drinking tends to supply increased blood alcohol concentrations in women than men because of a difference in body weight and composition. This results in a larger diploma of intoxication for girls.

“Alcohol disperses in water, and women have less water in their bodies than men,” explains Dr. Janesz. “So, if a woman and man of the same weight consume the same amount of alcohol, her blood alcohol concentration will usually rise more rapidly than his.”

But whereas ladies might attain the “drunk driving” restrict — 0.08 % blood alcohol — sooner, alcohol can impair driving at a lot decrease blood alcohol ranges. So “don’t drink and drive” stays sound recommendation for everybody.

Myth 7: Drinking reduces stress and anxiousness

If you’ve ever heard the phrase that a few cocktails can “take the edge off” after a protracted week at work, you could imagine the parable that alcohol can calm you down. And whereas alcohol can initially make you are feeling looser and comfy (once more, as a result of it’s a depressant), the consequences don’t final lengthy. In reality, alcohol may very well cause more anxiety the day after.

So, whilst you might briefly really feel comfy within the second, you’ll be able to really feel extra confused the day after.

If you utilize alcohol as a way to numb your symptoms of anxiety, this may additionally make the signs worse down the road — because of the truth that you’re not studying how to deal with your feelings correctly. 

“Many of us look for a quick fix to resolve our pain. We all have developed habits of reinforcing immediate gratification and needing instant results,” explains Dr. Janesz. “Another issue with numbing your symptoms of anxiety is that over time, we develop a tolerance to alcohol and we are required to drink more alcohol for us to have the same numbing effect.” 

Myth 8: Alcohol solely hurts your liver

If a latest physician’s appointment instructed you that your liver is in fine condition, don’t assume that’s a free excuse to drink closely. In reality, ingesting can have an effect on other parts of your body as effectively. This contains your heart, blood strain, kidneys and psychological well being.

As Dr. Janesz explains, if you ingest alcohol, a lot of the alcohol is absorbed via the mucous membrane of your throat and esophagus, the place it enters your bloodstream and compromises all components of your physique. 

“Alcohol is also inflammatory and increases your risk of cancer and other diseases,” he says.

Myth 9: Mixing vitality drinks and alcohol is OK

You might imagine that mixing an energy drink with your cocktail will assist fight alcohol’s drowsiness results. But this isn’t a good suggestion.

For the identical explanation why you shouldn’t combine alcohol with caffeine, this energy-drink combo also can trigger masked intoxication — which may result in consumption of extra alcohol than your physique can deal with. It also can trigger elevated dehydration, sleep disruption and even coronary heart points.  

Myth 10: Drinking extra alcohol can remedy a hangover

Last however not least, the “hair of the dog” methodology is one other alcohol fantasy that will get repeated one too many occasions. Essentially, this “trick” claims that you may kill your hangover with extra alcohol. Of all of the shady hangover cures on the market, this one would be the most dangerous.

This is as a result of whereas it might really feel such as you’re taking the sting off your hangover and nausea by downing extra drinks, doing this can solely extend your restoration course of. All you’re doing is including extra toxins to your physique that’s already working time beyond regulation to wash out the alcohol you’ve already consumed. 

The backside line

Drinking responsibly doesn’t simply come right down to the quantity you devour, but additionally the way you devour it. You might hear plenty of tales round the best way to make ingesting “easier” or “healthier,” however in actuality, there aren’t any shortcuts or magic tips on the market. That’s why it’s greatest to devour alcohol safely and sparsely — with out shopping for into any myths.

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