As a college student, you hear a lot of mixed messages.
Partying is fun, but studying is important. You have a final tomorrow morning, but your hot neighbor is hosting a beer pong tournament.
We don't have to tell you there's no worse feeling than rolling into class really hungover with your brain totally fried and your stomach in a dangerously fragile state. And to be perfectly honest, hangovers kind of make you dumber.
A 2013 study conducted out of Keele University found hangovers impair the ability to think clearly and do simple arithmetic. The study also found hangovers slow reaction time; a hungover person in his or her 20s has the same reaction time as someone in his or her 40s.
But enough depressing alcohol-related facts.
We're here to deliver some good news about alcohol as the school year gets going: When consumed in moderation, alcohol can actually enhance your academic performance.
Here's why you shouldn't hate yourself for stopping by happy hour before the library.
1. Alcohol can improve your creativity.
A hangover may render you unable to think about much of anything, but a drink or two could be exactly what you need to get the creative juices flowing.
One University of Illinois study polled 40 men on their study habits and found a man was more creative when he had a blood alcohol content of about .075.
As for actual memory capacity, though, participants' memories were slightly better when they hadn't had anything to drink.
What you can take away from this: If you have a creative task on your plate, alcohol can help! But only a little bit of it. Don't get really drunk while studying, text someone you shouldn't text, fail your test and blame it on us.
2. Alcohol can make you smarter.
As if giving you a spark of inspiration wasn't enough, moderate alcohol consumption can also keep your brain sharp over time.
Another study conducted on alcohol in 2011 found ethanol (another word for alcohol) helps the neurons in your brain "[protect] against the development of dementia in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases."
Don't forget, though, it's about moderation. Binge drinking is not good for your brain in any way, shape or form.
3. Alcohol can even help you beat that annoying cold.
Ever noticed you seem to get sick at the most inconvenient times ever? Like when you have a final right around the corner? Well, whiskey works wonders, especially if you have a sore throat.
Whether your spent too much time shouting at that super loud frat party last weekend or you feel a cold coming on, try adding a spoonful of whiskey to a cup of warm water and gargling with it to numb your throat a bit. If you want more of a soothing quality, add a teaspoon of honey to the mix.
Want something on the cooler side that's also packed with Vitamin C? Try blending up a whiskey cherry smoothie.
What are you waiting for? Grab a beer and start studying!