Freshers’ week is a time for making friends, joining societies, and settling in, but let’s not lie – there’s probably going to be a lot of drinking going on too. Here are the top seven alcohol myths that you and your flatmates might have fallen for:
1. Beer before liquor, never been sicker; liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.
Myth: The theory is that beer is a ‘soft’ alcohol while liquors are ‘hard’, so downing shots to start with then slowing down with beers is your best bet to steer clear of the toilet bowl.
But the fact is, how many drinks you have overall is what actually matters. While it’s true that fizzy drinks irritate the stomach lining and help speed up absorption, the effect of chugging stout compared to spirits is basically the same.
2. Never mix.
Myth: The idea that you should never mix different types of alcohol in one night is a really popular one.
But scientists say there’s really no truth in it. Similar to above, it’s a myth that there’s such a thing as ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ drinks, so it makes no real difference what you drink. What matters is how much you drink.
3. But, bacon…
Myth: Before dressing, showering, brushing their teeth, wiping off last night’s make up, or making conversation with anyone, the first thing most people will do the morning after is reach for the frying pan.
But the deputy director of the NIAAA says that there’s no such thing as a hangover-curing fry-up, and what you eat before a night out is most important. If your stomach’s still busy digesting rice, bread and other carbs, alcohol will enter the bloodstream slower and you won’t become as drunk as quickly.
4. Coffee and a cold shower.
Myth: You’ll sober up with some caffeine and a cold shower.
On average, the human body can process around one drink per hour. While the shock of caffeine and the sudden drop in temperature might temporarily make you less tired, dizzy or cranky, nothing can give you a superhuman, speedy liver. You’ll just have to think about your life and choices while you sit the hangover out, like the rest of us.
5. A bottle by the bed.
Myth: Hair of the dog is the way to avoid the worst hangovers.
Think of Dumbledore next time you’re tempted to crack open another drink in the morning when your head is pounding: “numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.” Although it’ll hold off the hangover for a while, as soon as your blood alcohol levels hit zero, you’ll be feeling worse than ever.
Instead, a glass of water and a bottle of Lucozade will be your best friends.
6. Popping pills.
Myth: A lot of people take Paracetamol or Ibuprofen before they go to bed, thinking it’ll stave off the morning’s aches and pains.
This myth is actually a dangerous one: as well as being completely pointless, because by the time your hangover kicks in the painkiller will have already worn off, it also irritates the stomach lining, letting more alcohol into the bloodstream and potentially landing you with liver damage in the long term.
Though waiting an hour for the tablet to start working will be miserable, taking one or two once you’ve woken up is the best thing to do.
7. Breaking the seal.
Myth: Once you go to the toilet, you’ll be going all night
The effects of alcohol on our cells and hormones mean that a lot more liquid is sent to our bladder than if we were drinking water or juice. But the concept of “breaking the seal” is a total myth – regardless of when you first go, get ready to make a lot of new drunken friends in the bathroom queue.
By Alice Hiley