Who among us hasn't fallen asleep mid-pizza after one too many glasses of wine? Or run away from friends, cackling like mad, after perhaps sliiiightly overdoing it on the bourbon? And then there are the beer sleepies and the gin giggles. Everyone has their own map of what alcohol will bring out which feelings, but this "gin makes me crazy" stuff has always been anecdotal — until now. A new international study shows that the type of alcohol you consume can affect how you feel.
According to The Guardian, researchers from across the U.K., including public health agency Public Health Wales, surveyed 30,000 participants about how they react to different kinds of alcohol. And the results, which were recently published in the peer-reviewed medical journal BMJ Open, are interesting:
[S]pirits are often associated with feelings of energy, confidence and sexiness – but on the flip-side anger and tearfulness – while red wine is the drink most commonly linked to relaxation, but also tiredness.
In fact, the research showed that "29.8% of respondents reported feeling aggressive when drinking spirits, compared with only 7.1% when drinking red wine." So if you're looking to chill out, beware the tequila, I guess.
This seems pretty obvious to anyone who has had a casual glass or three of wine on a weeknight or who has gone out to get crunk on a Saturday. But as the study notes, it has lived in the "beer before liquor" realm of old wives' tales before this extensive survey was released.
So now, when you start falling asleep at 7:30, a glass of nice oaky, berry-and-smoke Malbec in your stomach, you have proof that it's the wine, not you.
And at least now you can use this study to plan your nights accordingly.
But that's not the only take-away from the research.
Men were more likely to report "feelings of aggression" where women were more likely to report feeling "various emotions" while imbibing, depending on what they were drinking. And most participants reported that varying emotions "generally increased with overall heaviness of drinking."
In other words, if this research is to be believed, there's a reason you go from woo-ing your face off to crying in the bathroom by the end of the night. The more you drink, the more intense your emotions. And if you're more of an out-on-the-town person, that heightened emotion can be a double-edged sword:
[C]onfidence, sexiness, energy – and feeling ill or aggressive – were more likely when out.
Nothing like knocking back a whiskey to give yourself the confidence to dance. And then also feeling like you need to go home right-effing-now or you're going to literally die.
But really, most exciting were the results for the wine-at-home crowd and beer geeks:
Drinking was found more likely to be linked to feelings of relaxation and tiredness when done at home. [...] 53% of participants said drinking red wine made them feel relaxed – an emotion that was also linked to beer by nearly 50% of participants, and white wine by nearly 33%.
Well, duh. Everyone knows that wine makes you sleepy. And now we can say that it is, in fact, a great way to wind down.
In fact, more than 60 percent said they associate red wine with feeling sleepy, so you might as well just give into your sweatpants-and-Netflix impulses.
So this study is a vindication, of sorts.
Now you can tell your friends who want to do Whiskey Wednesday because they're missing their college days that you just can't risk ending your night pantsless and in tears, and you can point directly to this research. "See?" you can say. "Science says I shouldn't partake."
At the same time, the results of this research could be misleading, as the participants self-selected, and self-selection bias is a common problem with surveys like these. They might, therefore, be more inclined to feel more heightened emotions when drinking anyways. So take them with a grain of salt.
That said, if these results are true, they could have serious implications for research that says the drunk you is the real you. That means you could secretly just be aggressive or self-confident or sleepy.
But other research shows that alcohol has the very real ability to affect your personality. You could become a caretaker, a depressed stoic, an angry monster, or the life of the party, according to Shape. So perhaps there is something to this new research about how our surroundings and our drinks of choice affect our behavior.
Hey, next time you're out, you should log how you feel depending on what you drink. Note: gin and tonic makes me feel fancy, white wine makes me feel lethargic, must return to gin.
You know, for science.