Photographed by Pheobe Chuason.
If you spent any portion of your weekend wishing you hadn't overdone it on those brunch mimosas, then you might be surprised by this emerging research: Hangovers might get easier as you get older. Although the article won't be published until early 2014, the data from the large-scale study of over 50,000 people is now available.
There's been plenty of research done into the acute effects of alcohol consumption and drunken impairment, but not much is known about the science of the hangover. (Though here at Refinery29, we did do our own not-exactly-scientific study of hangover cures.) Do different drinking patterns or types of alcohol make us feel worse? Though everyone's got an opinion, we don't really know.
What researchers DID find was that as people get older, their hangovers aren't as bad. By older, they mean beyond your 30s. Well, that's just because kids drink more, you might say. But, the researchers adjusted for drinking patterns, including frequency of binge drinking and amount of alcohol consumed each week, and they still found that older people's hangover weren't as bad. So, the urban legend of college kids bouncing bad quicker might not be true after all.
What can we attribute this to? Maybe we get more used to being hungover as we age — in which case, this news isn't especially great. Maybe younger people binge in ways that are even more extreme than older people, leading to worse hangovers the next day? Or — since hangover intensity does seem to have some genetic component — maybe many people who experience terrible hangovers when they're young quit drinking when they're older. That would skew the findings quite a bit.