How Alcohol Really Affects Your Body

Drinking culture is common on most college campuses, even here at Penn State. Those familiar trips to downtown frats or apartments are full of fun, friends, and most likely alcohol consumption. Most people know that consistent heavy drinking can affect your liver and other parts of your body in the long-run, but how does just one night of drinking make a difference? Valley has the ins and outs of how your body changes after that wild Saturday night.


Wonder why you wake up the next morning with a red, puffy face? Or even that dreaded beer belly? Alcohol starts to waste away all of the water in your body, and in order to compensate, your systems store any water you take in within its tissues. This causes your face and even stomach to appear bloated and puffy due to the alcohol you have been drinking. Let’s not forget that late-night drinking also leads to trips to Canyon or an order of Pokey Stix at 3:oo a.m., only adding to the bloating your body is experiencing.

Your Skin

Dehydration is the basis of most of your drinking side effects. Our bodies need water and when we’re deprived of that, it shows. Our skin can appear dry or even start to breakout due to lack of hydration and nutrients. To add to these side effects, inflammation and redness is common.

Energy Depletion

Drinking makes you feel tired, and even sluggish. Yes, it partly has to do with your high-energy attitude slipping into the early hours of the morning, but alcohol can slow down your metabolism and make you feel down. It gets in the way of your sleep cycle, which is why you wake up easier on a Sunday morning than you do for those 8:00 a.m. classes. Worst of all, running to the gym the next day won’t exactly work as a solution. Frequent alcohol consumption can break down muscle, and even add to the inflammation you’re already experiencing from drinking, making your workouts less effective.

Feeling Sick?

Your immune system is shot after you’ve been day-longing and hitting up the bars at night. We have all experienced some dreadful form of an illness since coming to college due to the shared-dorms and crowded dining halls, but drinking every other night makes it more likely that you’ll contract an awful cold, or something worse.

Here’s Your Solution

Hydrate. Make sure your body is taking in enough water to combat the dehydration that your body is undergoing. Most importantly, take it easy. It’s not hard to get carried away, especially when pressured by friends to make it out three nights in a row. Skip that third drink, or slow down your intake. Giving your body a rest, whether that’s skipping the bar one night, or avoiding an entire weekend of drinking altogether can make a big difference.

Although many may be skeptical to try this, watching what you drink can also help you avoid some of these outcomes. Be careful with mixing alcohol, and avoiding the bubbly chasers will reduce that bloated feeling. Ladies? Wash that makeup off before going to sleep. It can seem like an exhausting task, but your skin will thank you in the morning.

The morning after a night of drinking isn’t always pretty, and it doesn’t feel great, either. Understanding how your health is affected after alcohol consumption can help you make healthier choices, and hone in some control before you become too familiar with those negative long-term side effects.

Valley does not support underage drinking. Please remember to always drink responsibly.