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Health & Wellbeing

Why You Wake Up Anxious After a Night Out

Why do we feel so bad after a night out?

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Everyone gets that feeling when waking up after a night of intense drinking, that low-thrumming anxiety and confusion.  “The Fear”, for the uninitiated. As it turns out, there is a scientific explanation for these feelings.  

The reason that people drink alcoholic beverages is usually not to satisfy a refined palette but to relax.  Drinking past relaxation impairs brain function. It’s normal to begin acting out of character and becoming unable to perform certain tasks (like driving).  Essentially, alcohol is an intoxicant that messes with your brain.

Then, sobering up normally restores normal brain function. However, the after-effects of alcohol can include more than just a headache and stomach sickness.  The morning-after can be brutal on some people. Embarrassment, anxiety, and fear relating to the previous night’s events becomes palpable. While these feelings are attributed to having acted out while intoxicated, there is also a scientific explanation for them.

According to Liz Burns, a lecturer specializing in the effects of alcohol in Mental Health Nursing at Salford University, explained other effects of alcohol that the public may not be aware of.

In an interview with the Manchester Evening News, Burns said,

“Feeling anxious the next day is down to the interaction of chemical compound glutamate[…] We may feel fearful because we can’t remember everything that happened the night before; it’s not at the forefront of the mind […] We may be able to piece together moments, and memories can sometimes come back to us when we’re stimulated by something.”

Via Manchester Evening News

Heavy alcohol consumption also affects sleep, as it is impossible to reach a deeper rest while the liver is still working to break down the alcohol in your body.  

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