You simply Cannot Sleep Off a Hangover

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A new study from Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies in Providence, Rhode Island concluded that the effects of intoxication last long after the alcohol is out of the blood system, which not just gives people a hangover but slowing reaction times and the ability to concentrate the next morning.

The researchers discovered that did not make a difference whether the alcohol consumed was clear such as vodka or dark such as bourbon, the level of brain impairment was equal the next morning. "People will be impaired the morning after - after the alcohol leaves the system," Dr. Damaris Rohsenow head researcher.

The study looked at the effects of heavy drinking on 95 young adults between the ages of 21 and 33. The participants spent two nights at the Boston test facility. The first night they were given alcohol (either vodka or bourbon mixed in cola) the second night they were given a placebo. Researchers checked their blood alcohol levels and were able to determine their sleep patterns and ability to think quickly and over a long period of time.

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Prior research demonstrated that symptoms of a hangover such as headache, nausea, and sleepiness lift within a few hours of waking, however, this study did not measure how long impairment lasted, Rohsenow said, "It's likely that the performance effects probably lift within a few hours."

Researchers also looked at quality of liquor. Vodka and bourbon appear on each extreme of alcohol purity meaning vodka is the most free of impurities while bourbon has the highest level and all other alcohols appear to be between. Past research shows that the higher the impurities the worse a drinker is will feel the day after however, this new study suggests the impairment was the same. "Bourbon versus vodka didn't make a difference; the biggest thing was the alcohol itself," Rohsenow said.

Subjects given alcohol the night before "thought their ability to drive a car was as good as or better" than those who were administered placebo, Rohsenow said. It "might be a good rule of thumb to wait until they don't feel so lousy the next morning before doing any activities that might involve operating dangerous equipment."

This age group was selected because they are more heavy drinkers among this age group of 21-33. "Older adults could be affected differently for physiological reasons and experience reasons," Rohsenow said.

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