A new study is disproving the general perception that drinking stamina decreases as people get older, showing instead that the older you are, the less frequent and less severe your hangovers.
The hangovers of nearly 52,000 participants were analyzed, and participants were asked how they experienced thirst, exhaustion, headaches, dizziness, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting after an episode of binge drinking.
The study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, found that older people drink less than young people, but when they did binge drink they experience fewer hangover symptoms. Results were consistent even after accounting for the frequency of binge drinking, drinking with or without food, and drinking while smoking.
“While it is true that older individuals on average binge-drink less often than younger individuals, we did not find in our data that results were due to differences in drinking patterns,” said study researcher Janne Tolstrup, of the University of Southern Denmark.
According to the TheJournal.ie, the scientists listed four possible explanations for their results.
1. Binge drinking intensity decreases with age. The survey found that those in the 18- to 24-year-old age group defined binge drinking as nine drinks, while those 65 years old and up defined binge drinking as only six drinks. The study examined frequency of binge drinking and not intensity.
2. Older drinkers have built up a tolerance for alcohol.
3. Trial and error -- older people have usually developed an understanding of what hangover prevention or cure works personally for them to feel better the next morning.
4. Natural selection -- people who experience severe hangovers may simply give up and quit drinking as they get older.
“While there have been tens of thousands of studies on the more direct effects of alcohol, there have only been fewer than 200 published papers on the hangover,” said Tolstrup.