“Happy New Year!” is a cry heard round the world exactly at midnight, leaving the old year behind and bringing in the new, with horns and other noisemakers in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other. In fact, it is a holiday that is most synonymous with heavy drinking. Otherwise sensible people combine their excitement about the coming year with dancing the night away while swigging down lethal combinations of champagne and other alcoholic drinks. At the end of the party, drinking coffee to sober up after heavy drinking is a widely held belief, but not only is this information false, it can also be dangerous.
Alcohol and Caffeine-Polar Opposites
A report by Marina Kushner, founder of the Caffeine Awareness Association, says, “Alcohol and caffeine have opposite effects on the central nervous system - while alcohol is a depressant, caffeine is a stimulant. While the understanding of the effect alcohol and caffeine have on the body is correct, the belief that one cancels out the effect of the other and that an interaction of the two is beneficial is incorrect and misguided.”
Perception vs. Reality
An interesting analogy in a story on Fox News says it best; “O'Brien used the analogy that mixing caffeine (a stimulant) with alcohol (a depressant), is like getting into a car and stepping on the gas pedal and the brake at the same time. Students whose motor skills, visual reaction times, and judgment are impaired by alcohol may not perceive that they are intoxicated as readily when they're also ingesting a stimulant," said O'Brien.” In other words, the caffeine can give an intoxicated person the impression that they are sober, but a test of motor skills will show otherwise.
How long does it take to get sober?
Alcohol begins to leave a person’s body within 15-45 minutes after consumption but the rate at which this happens varies greatly from person to person. Factors like gender, weight and health all come into play. Because of the physiological differences in men and women when it comes to muscle, fat and water in the body, women are more affected by alcohol consumption. Also, a healthy liver is able to process alcohol better than an unhealthy one.
5 Ways to Stay Safe
Instead of putting yourself in harm’s way, whether with thoughtless words or making promises that won’t make sense in the light of day, or worse, getting behind the wheel of a car and endangering yourself and others, here are a few ways to stay safe.
1. Early/Limited Consumption
Decide in advance how much you intend to drink this New Year’s Eve and give yourself several hours to the lower your blood alcohol level by switching to non-alcoholic drinks like sodas, fruit juices and water early on.
2. Plan a Sleep Over
If you plan to get your party on this New Year’s Eve, stay over if possible. That way you can relax, enjoy yourself and get a good night’s sleep before making your way home.
3. Drink Non-Alcoholic Beverages-
Give yourself and your friends a wonderful gift and volunteer to be a designated driver.
4. Be a Responsible Host-
If you plan to host a party, keep your guests safe by putting away the alcohol at a certain time and serving interesting non-alcoholic cocktails and foods making sure that everyone has time to sober up before leaving.
5. Holiday Coffee Cocktail idea-
Take a nice glass, add 1/3 cold coffee, crushed ice, mix 1/3 non-alcoholic eggnog a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg top with a spoonful of whipped cream. You could even make that hot and it would be delicious.
Happy New Year!
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