Irish people talk about ‘the fear’ on Mondays after a sociable weekend

There is one really simple step you can take to reduce this. Rehydrate properly before going to bed. If you go to sleep without drinking enough water to rehydrate after alcohol, your brain shrinks (dehydrates). As a result, the chemicals responsible for mood, sleep, energy, motivation just do not work as well.

You can experience anxiety along with other nasties such as carb cravings, sweating, increased heart rate, shakes, clumsiness and low mood. The after-effects of alcohol is carb-bingeing leading to weight gain. You reduce the risk of this if you re-hydrate.

Water promotes brain waves within a few minutes of drinking it

Half of our brain is water and nearly all of the body’s chemical reactions occur in watery medium. Brain neurons generate electrical signals called brain waves and drinking water has been shown to promote alpha-wave activity within a few minutes.

Studies have shown that mood and brain function decline when we are dehydrated. Bad breath, dry mouth and lips, not peeing very much, tiredness and clumsiness are all signs of mild dehydration.

When we drink alcohol: we urinate more; losing fluid; dehydrating the brain and reducing brain waves. After a night out, if we go to bed without re-hydrating, we can see the dehydration in our skin the following morning (wrinkles and pinched skin) and we feel it (headache).

Brain neurons find it difficult to function without water so it is no surprise that we experience increased anxiety, ‘fear’, and lower mood after alcohol. From the diagram below you see the neurotransmitters being released (small red balls) and they ‘swim’ across a ‘watery’ synapse to bind to the green coloured receptors and create an effect e.g. feeling happy and energised after our Monday morning coffee! Dehydration affects this process.

Drinking a pint of water between drinks or every 2 drinks is sensible and protects your brain. Oxidative stress damages the brain and the brain is slow to heal.

In general, aim to drink filtered or mineral water, caffeine-free tea across the day as you work at home or in an office. Vegetables and fruit are a particularly good source of clean water.

If you experience low mood after alcohol, make it a rule to re-hydrate before you sleep so that your brain can function well the next day. Ideally do not drink late into the night and enjoy early evening drinks. Alcohol disrupts sleep, especially as you get older.

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