Why Do You Wake Up Early After a Night of Drinking?
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After a night of heavy drinking, nothing looks as good as your own bed. The deep slumber that follows a busy evening spent pounding your liver into submission is arguably the best sleep of all, and you fully expect to not open your eyes until sometime in the late afternoon.
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Ideally, right around the time the bars start to open back up.
But then you wake up at 3 a.m., still tired as hell, yet somehow wide awake. There you are, confined to a sleepless existence at the worst possible time, as the tiny alcohol demons racing through your veins are slowly starting to lose the battle with the dreary trolls of hangover. All you want to do is close your eyes and go back to the warm, dark place where pain doesn't exist. But there is no help, no release, and oh shit work starts in four hours.
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Everyone who's ever ingested alcohol has at some point encountered this weird, random phenomenon where you jerk awake for no reason, despite being tired and/or wasted as all hell when you go to sleep. This unwished-for wake-up call, and your subsequent inability to revisit Slumberland, is due to the rebound effect of alcohol. The hooch has activated the jumble of hormones and the metabolic pathways responsible for sobering you up.
As you drink, your body is hard at work metabolizing the poison you rudely keep pouring into it. This takes a considerable amount of time, and at the point where you've already been thrown out for vomiting on the pool table, your night may be over, but your liver's work is just beginning. It's churning away the alcohol while you hit Taco Bell, sext your boss, find the keyhole on the seventh try, and finally go to sleep. And then -- ping -- it's done. By that time, you're already sleeping peacefully, but your body doesn't give a good goddamn. Happy to be finally done with your ethanol bullshit, it enters a "thank fuck, we're finally clear" state, thus disrupting the hell out of your sleep cycle.
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Leaving you somewhere between "awake enough to feel pain" and "too sleepy to seek out Excedrin."
This effect can be dodged if you have no more than a drink or two, or presumably if you drink yourself into a full-on coma, but pretty much anything in between can send your internal alarm clock ringing, resigning you to a late-night whirlwind of Three's Company reruns and sex hotline commercials.
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