- REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
- New research shows hangovers can affect your brain’s performance long after alcohol has left your bloodstream.
- That builds off previous research which shows the negative effects of drinking vastly outweigh any health benefits.
- The study’s authors say more research needs to be done to fully understand how hangovers affect job performance, particularly in fields where employees drive long distances or use heavy machinery.
You might be regretting your Saturday night of binge drinking when you show up for work on Monday morning.
But the effects of your partying habits can lead to more than just regret: hung-over individuals have poorer attention, memory, and psychomotor skills like speed and coordination than sober people – even when there’s no more alcohol left in your bloodstream, according to a new study from the University of Bath in the UK.
“Our findings demonstrate that hangover can have serious consequences for the performance of everyday activities such as driving and workplace skills such as concentration and memory,” Sally Adams, one of the study’s authors, told Science Daily.
To investigate how hangovers affect cognitive function, the study’s authors conducted a meta-analysis of 770 published papers. The researchers qualified hangover-sufferers as those who had consumed alcohol the night before and had blood-alcohol concentrations of less than 0.02%, indicating their bodies had processed most of the alcohol.
“We found that hangover impaired psychomotor speed, short and long-term memory and sustained attention,” Craig Gunn, the study’s lead author, told Science Daily. “Impaired performance in these abilities reflects poorer concentration and focus, decreased memory and reduced reaction times the day after an evening of heavy drinking.”
The study’s authors also said that for high-stakes, technical jobs involving things like operating heavy machinery or driving long distances, there needs to be more research done on how hangovers can impact on-the-job performance.
While some studies have shown there may be benefits to moderate alcohol consumption, a new study published in the journal Lancet indicates that there is no “safe” level of alcohol consumption.
“Previous studies have found a protective effect of alcohol on some conditions, but we found that the combined health risks associated with alcohol increases with any amount of alcohol,” Max Griswold, the lead author of the study, said.
In other words, the risks of consuming alcohol vastly outweigh any perceived benefits – and that includes hangovers.
So before you go a little overboard at happy hour, remember that you’ll suffer more than just regrets the next day.