Winter Drinking: Stay Healthy Without the Hangover

January 25, 2013

Snowman with a hangover

To the casual observer the biggest difference regarding drinking versus summer is that in the winteryour glass is filled with ale and mulled wine rather than lager and margaritas. But there are two things that are important to be aware of in order to have fun and keep yourself at your best.

1) Winter air is dryer, potentially exacerbating dehydration

Cold air is denser; the molecules are closer together. This means that cold air holds less water than hot air. It is less humid in the winter. Indoors, when this cold dry air is heated it expands, and the relative humidity decreases. That is, since the air is hotter, it wants to absorb more water, literally sucking moisture out of your skin.

This makes sense. We all have more trouble with dry hands and chapped lips in the winter.

What this means to drinking is that you must be more cognizant about the dehydration effect of alcohol. Use Brode to help your body retain the water in your body while drinking, and drink more glasses of water than you might need to when the humidity is more normal.

2) The warming sensation is true (but really a myth)

Alcohol can give you a warming sensation. That is true. But does it make you warmer? Not in the slightest. In fact our favorite MythBusters broke this one down. This is what really happens:

Alcohol may make your skin feel warm, but this apparent heat wave is deceptive. A nip or two actually causes your blood vessels to dilate, moving warm blood closer to the surface of your skin, making you feel warmer temporarily. At the same time, however, those same veins pumping blood closer to the skin's surface cause you to lose core body heat — the heat you need to survive, especially if you're stuck in a snowdrift . This effect could lead to fatal hypothermia.

Thanks MythBusters!