It seems like a raging hangover would be enough to deter anyone from drinking again … but, as will surprise no one who’s woken up Saturday morning feeling woozy only to hit the bars again Saturday night, a new study finds that hangovers actually have very little impact on when we have our next drink.
And not only do they notdissuade us from drinking more, it’s also a myth that they encourage us to go for another drink in an attempt to relieve our pain, “hair of the dog” style. It should be noted, however, that the public health researchers arrived at these results by asking 386 US college students and other young adults—not, say, middle-aged people—to keep a drinking diary for three weeks, the BBC reports.
Each morning, subjects reported whether they had a hangover and rated how likely they were to drink later that day, and researchers found that there was no difference in the ratings between mornings subjects had hangovers (even bad ones) and mornings they did not. (Amusing note: Some diary entries were blank, perhaps because the subjects were too hung over to put pen to paper, the researchers theorize.)
However, researchers did then look at subjects’ actual drinking and found that having a hangover did delay the timing of the next drink … by six hours, from 38 hours to 44, LiveScience reports. “The message here for clinicians is that it is probably a waste of time to discuss hangovers when trying to motivate a problem drinker to drink less or drink less often,” says one expert, according to the Star-Ledger.