For many of us, a Friday night drink comes after a hard week at work – your body is often pumped up with stress hormones such as adrenaline, which cause the blood vessels to dilate in order to get the blood to the muscles faster (this is the so-called fight or flight response, which helped us survive as a species).
While I do not want to spoil the high for you, but let’s look at what happens in the body after you have had a few drinks :
- You feel shaky and sleepy. Low blood glucose levels are responsible for that shaky feeling, heavy sweating, dizziness and blurred vision. Low glucose levels also result in feeling tired.
- You crave fries or fatty food. To overcome the feeling of lethargy and tiredness, the body will be craving a carbohydrate boost, which is why many people feel hungry when they have been drinking.
- Feel feel sick the next day. When the liver is metabolising alcohol, it produces acetaldehyde, a vinegar-like substance that has toxic effects on the liver, brain and stomach lining, resulting in severe headache, nausea, vomiting and heartburn and the feeling of being unwell. Alcohol also plunder our stores of vitamins and minerals, which need to be in the correct function normally. The toxicity of alcohol can irritate the stomach, causing stomach upset, often resulting in vomiting.
- Your quality of sleep will drop. Though some people feel a nightcap helps them fall asleep, much scientific evidence suggests the quality of sleep will drop due to dehydration. People are still likely to feel tired after sleeping following drinking as they will have missed out on quality sleep.
- The toxic effects of alcohol can also cause inflammation of the oesophagus, the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach, causing heartburn.
- It disturbs that appropriate balance of minerals in the blood including potassium along with calcium, and sodium which are known as ions, is maintained by the kidneys. The level of each in must be maintained within narrow limits but dehydration caused by drinking, can affect the concentration of ions by draining potassium from the body, resulting in thirst, muscle cramps, dizziness and faintness.
- The liver needs water to get rid of the toxins from the body but as alcohol acts a diuretic there will not be sufficient amounts in the body, so the live rid forced to forced to divert water from other organs, including the brain which cases the throbbing headache.