Posted by Nicole on September 25, 2014

Most people don't set out for the night thinking that it will be a wonderful morning of headaches, nausea, and general malaise, but that's exactly what happens when they ingest too much alcohol. Everyone knows the general rule of thumb, “Drink more water!”, but that isn't the whole story. Here are a few bad habits that can lead to drinking, and why you should avoid them.

- Don't compete. One of the most common ways to over drink in a social setting is to watch, and try to pace, the alcohol intake of other people in the room. It's not exactly uncommon to do so, either; in many species, the ability to both ingest and survive poisonous or dangerous substances is seen as a mark of physical fitness and genetic quality. In the human species, it often means attempting to go toe-to-toe with someone who may have more body weight, lower levels of body fat, or a generally higher tolerance for drinking. Diet, exercise levels, and even gender all play a role in actual level of intoxication versus alcohol consumed. In other words, trying to race with alcohol is almost always a bad idea. Drink at your own, comfortable pace.

 -Stay loyal. Another mistake? Switching the type of alcohol that you're drinking. If you begin drinking with a nice ale, switching to a cocktail can mean ingesting more alcohol per fluid ounce. It's important to note that ingesting alcohol can actually inhibit your ability to taste or otherwise determine just how boozy that drink may be. In other words, the more you have, the “smoother” the next drink will be. It's fairly easy to see that this can turn into a disaster when you upgrade to drinks which have a higher ABV than what you started with. The smart thing to do is to keep pace with the drink that you know.

Make friends with light drinkers, or even better, those who don't drink. This most often comes in the form of advice on selecting a designated driver, but having a friend who doesn't drink also makes it less likely that you will over drink. Social drinking introduces a group mechanic of gauging level of intoxication, and the willingness to push it, by the general demeanor of all members in that group. If even one member is sober, it can be an anchor for keeping everyone firmly rooted to the floor, as opposed to lying on it. 

Avoid smoking. Studies have shown that cigarette smoke will actually worsen your hangover the next day, even if you're not the person smoking. Inhalation of carbon monoxide alone is enough to set off a few health warning indicators, but when it's combined with inflammation and a body that wants to flush toxins as rapidly as possible, oxygen is a very precious thing to compromise. How can smoking cause you to over drink? It's actually quite simple; it makes you thirsty. When you become thirsty, naturally, you reach for another drink. way. Avoid those as well.