Beer Science – Why Hangovers Hurt More After 40

, Beer Science – Why Hangovers Hurt More After 40

ACB’s Jeff Chenault and Tom Bobak – both over 40

You might have noticed that as you get older, hangovers seem to get more brutal and you just can’t bounce back like you once could.  According to The Wall Street Journal’s, Andrea Peterson there are several reasons why this happens…

Age Amplifies Everything

Older people simply can’t handle alcohol in the way they could during their college years when drinking daily was a way of life.  And Peterson cites sober health experts to explain this transition:

Part of the issue is that people in their 40s and older simply tend not to drink as much or as often as those in their 20s and 30s, which lowers tolerance. “You’re becoming more work-oriented, more family-oriented,” says Robert Pandina, director of the Center of Alcohol Studies at Rutgers University. So when you do drink “you might have a more sensitive response to alcohol because you’ve lowered your exposure to alcohol over all.”


Body Mass Changes Significantly

As many of us know all too well, our bodies change significantly as we age – muscle mass lessens and fat unfortunately increases.

Dr. Reid Blackwelder explains that these changes in our body’s composition can accelerate the speed with which alcohol enters our bloodstream, and that that alone can be consequential….

, Beer Science – Why Hangovers Hurt More After 40Alcohol isn’t distributed in fat. People also have less total body water as they get older. So if several people have the same amount to drink, those with more fat and less muscle and body water will have more alcohol circulating in their bloodstream. (This is also partly why women of any age tend to feel alcohol’s effects more than men.)

The amount of water in our system is also a HUGE factor…

“A lot of older people are borderline dehydrated. They have less body water just from the natural effects of aging,” Dr. Blackwelder says. It helps to drink water and have a full stomach when knocking one back.

Cognitive Decline

With age also comes differing degrees of wear and tear, and past behavior heightens drinking’s consequences.

Health specialists now feel that even normal age-related decline in brain functions impacts the hangovers we suffer as we get older. “Particularly beginning in the 50s and 60s, the brain is more sensitive to alcohol,” Peterson reports. “Booze basically enhances normal age-related cognitive decline. Neurons lose speed. “

Alcohol Effects Sleep Patterns

One of the most common ways that people combat hangovers is to stay in bed and try to sleep it off. Unfortunately deep sleep itself gets more elusive and fragmented as we age

Peterson notes that as we get older we’re simply “more affected by alcohol’s impact on sleep, a fact that can turn a mild hangover into a must-stay-in-bed-all-day affair.”

Bottom Line

It’s been said that “with age comes wisdom.” And while we hope that’s true, clearly everything else falls apart.

So keep that in mind as you drink your way into 2022…. especially if you’re looking back at 40.


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