Why does alcohol make me feel terrible? And what can I do about it?
Alcohol is one of the most widely consumed psychoactive substances in the world. It is a central nervous system depressant that can have a range of effects on the body, including impairing judgment, slowing reflexes, and causing fatigue. One of the most common symptoms of alcohol consumption is feeling tired or fatigued. This fatigue is caused by a combination of factors, including dehydration, changes in brain chemistry, and disruptions to the normal sleep cycle. Why does this happen?
Alcohol and Dehydration
One of the most significant ways in which alcohol affects the body is by causing dehydration. When you drink alcohol, it increases urine production, which leads to increased fluid loss from the body. This loss of fluid can leave you feeling thirsty and fatigued.
Alcohol also inhibits the release of a hormone called vasopressin, which is responsible for regulating fluid balance in the body. When vasopressin levels are low, the kidneys excrete more water, leading to dehydration. This dehydration can cause a range of symptoms, including headache, dizziness, and fatigue.
In addition to causing dehydration, alcohol can also impair the body's ability to rehydrate. This is because alcohol has a diuretic effect, meaning it increases urine production and fluid loss from the body. As a result, even if you drink water while consuming alcohol, you may still become dehydrated.
Alcohol and Brain Chemistry
Alcohol can also affect brain chemistry, which can contribute to feelings of fatigue. When you drink alcohol, it acts as a depressant on the central nervous system, slowing down the transmission of signals between nerve cells in the brain. This leads to a range of effects, including impairing judgment, slowing reflexes, and causing fatigue.
Alcohol also affects the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, which can contribute to feelings of fatigue. For example, alcohol increases the levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, which is responsible for producing feelings of relaxation and drowsiness. This is one reason why people often feel tired or sleepy after consuming alcohol.
Another way in which alcohol affects brain chemistry is by disrupting the normal sleep cycle. Alcohol can cause you to fall asleep more quickly, but it also disrupts the quality of sleep, leading to poorer sleep overall. This can leave you feeling tired and fatigued the next day, even if you got a full night's sleep.
Alcohol and Energy Production
Alcohol can also affect energy production in the body, which can contribute to feelings of fatigue. One way in which alcohol does this is by interfering with the production of ATP, which is the primary source of energy for the body's cells. When ATP production is disrupted, it can lead to feelings of fatigue and lethargy.
Alcohol can also interfere with the body's ability to metabolize glucose, which is another important source of energy for the body. This can lead to a drop in blood sugar levels, which can contribute to feelings of fatigue.
In addition to interfering with energy production, alcohol can also affect the body's ability to absorb nutrients, including vitamins and minerals that are important for energy production. For example, alcohol can interfere with the absorption of thiamine, which is a B-vitamin that is essential for energy production. This can lead to feelings of fatigue and lethargy.
Alcohol and Exercise
Alcohol can also affect physical performance and energy levels during exercise. When you exercise, your body needs to generate energy to fuel your muscles. However, alcohol can interfere with this process, leading to decreased performance and increased fatigue.
One way in which alcohol affects exercise performance is by impairing the body's ability to metabolize glycogen, which is a stored form of glucose that the body uses for energy during exercise. When glycogen levels are low, the body has to rely on other energy sources, which can lead to increased fatigue and decreased performance.
Alcohol can also interfere with the body's ability to regulate body temperature during exercise. When you exercise, your body generates heat, which needs to be dissipated to maintain a stable body temperature. However, alcohol can impair the body's ability to regulate body temperature, which can lead to overheating and fatigue.
Furthermore, alcohol can also affect the body's ability to recover after exercise. After you exercise, your body needs to repair and rebuild muscle tissue, and replenish energy stores. However, alcohol can interfere with these processes, leading to delayed recovery and increased fatigue.
Alcohol and Sleep
Sleep is essential for the body to repair and regenerate, and lack of sleep can contribute to feelings of fatigue. However, alcohol can interfere with the quality of sleep, leading to a cycle of poor sleep and increased fatigue.
When you consume alcohol before bed, it can help you fall asleep more quickly. However, it can also disrupt the normal sleep cycle, leading to poorer quality sleep overall. For example, alcohol can interfere with REM sleep, which is a stage of sleep that is important for cognitive function and memory consolidation. This can lead to feelings of fatigue and cognitive impairment the next day.
Alcohol can also increase the likelihood of sleep apnea, which is a condition where breathing is interrupted during sleep. Sleep apnea can lead to snoring, choking, and gasping for air, which can interrupt sleep and lead to fatigue.
Furthermore, alcohol can also increase the likelihood of insomnia, which is a condition where it is difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Insomnia can lead to chronic fatigue and a range of other health problems.
What can I do about it?
To fight the wide range of effects alcohol can have on the body, including causing fatigue and dehydration, you need to rehydrate, replenish electrolytes, vitamins and minerals, and address other symptoms. At NextDay, we specifically designed our product to address exactly these problems. DHM for processing alcohol faster, caffeine + B12 for no-crash energy, B6 for nausea, vitamin C for immunity, and other essential vitamins and minerals to replenish electrolytes and hydrate. All in a low calorie (that's officially less than 40 calories per the FDA), great-tasting drink.
The fatigue caused by alcohol is a result of a combination of factors, including changes in brain chemistry, disruptions to the normal sleep cycle, and interference with energy production in the body.
Overall, while alcohol can be a fun and enjoyable social lubricant, it is important to be mindful of its effects on the body and to consume it in moderation to avoid negative consequences such as fatigue and dehydration. Get a NextDay so you feel great after your night out!
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