How the Christmas Party affects your body, in 24 hours

New research from Bensons for Beds reveals that UK employees have the worst night’s sleep of the year on the night of their work’s Christmas party.
From a survey of over 2000 Brits, 65% said they had less than five hours sleep on the night, and 80% of those who made it to work the next day said they were five times less productive, spending most of the day wishing they were back in bed.
When drinking alcohol, your body takes 24 hours to fully recover, with your hangover worsening at specific times throughout the day, depending on how many units are in your system.
Here’s how the Christmas party affects your body, and when your hangover is most likely to hit.

On the night

7pm – After hitting the party and consuming 7 units of alcohol, you’re likely to feel hungry and head to the buffet. Your body may crave sugar for energy, and stress may also impair your body’s ability to regulate sodium, leading to salt cravings.

9pm – Ever find you need to pee a lot after drinking? After 9 units, the alcohol inhibits the release of an anti-diuretic hormone which aids the process of water absorption. Your body is tricked into thinking its more hydrated than it actually is, causing regular trips to the grim bar toilets.

11pm – At around 12 units, your motor skills are impaired, meaning your coordination is seriously limited. The alcohol causes a disruption of neurotransmitters in your brain, resulting in large amounts of dopamine being released all at once, so you feel on top of the world.

1am – Your vision is now blurred as your eyes are not able to respond quickly enough to lights. The sedative effect from alcohol has kicked in, and your blood sugar levels have rapidly dropped leaving you exhausted


2am – The 10 units of alcohol in your system are still suppressing your nervous system, helping you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly at the start of the night. You are in a sedated state but your heart rate is elevated by 13 beats a minute.

4am – The alcohol sedation wears off and the rest of your sleep contains a higher than average level of Rapid Eye Movement (REM), meaning it’s less restful and restorative, and also causing you to have a nightmare.

7am – The alarm goes off. Everything aches and you feel like you’ve only had 2 to 3 hours sleep. You slowly and carefully get ready for work, still feeling a little tipsy. The lower REM rates of your initial sedated sleep cause worsened feelings of fatigue and grogginess.

The hangover

9am – You’ve been sat at your desk staring at the same email for half an hour now. Your brain, having adapted to receiving high amounts of endorphins caused by the constant intake of alcohol, is now experiencing withdrawal-like symptoms, in the form of temporary depression and increased anxiety.

11am – So far you’ve managed not to be sick, but that’s about to change. The alcohol has caused a build-up of lactic acid and increased pancreas and intestinal secretion in your body. These cause you to endure stints of vomiting and diarrhoea throughout your recovery.

1pm – Now feeling less nauseas, you’re ready to eat everything in sight. You treat yourself to a beige buffet and grab supplies of sweets and chocolates to get you through the rest of the day. Your body is craving sugary foods due to your low blood sugar levels.
3pm – The food made you feel a bit better, but now you’re really tired. There is no alcohol left in your bloodstream, but the short energy boost from the fatty and sugary foods has worn off and your blood sugar levels are crashing again.

4pm – You make it through the last couple of hours at work and head straight home. At this point your body has broken down all of the harmful toxins from the alcohol but your cognitive abilities, like attention and memory, are still debilitated even when alcohol in the blood is no longer measurable and you’re still tired from the restless night’s sleep.