You think it’s OK to overdo it every so often
“There’s a notion that everybody drinks too much sometimes, but that’s not true. Many people never binge drink, period,” says Peter Hendricks, PhD, associate professor at the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Public Health. Ladies, if you find yourself knocking back four drinks in two hours, you just engaged in binge drinking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For men, five drinks in two hours is considered a binge drinking episode. And though binge drinking and college seem to go hand-in-hand, surprisingly, binge drinkers age 65 and older actually binge drink more often (five to six times a month, on average) than young adults age 18 to 34, according to the CDC. Binge drinking is twice as prevalent among men than it is among women.
You’re tired or moody after a night of drinking
Got eight hours of rest but still woke up tired and groggy? If you drank the night before, that’s probably why. “Alcohol suppresses the REM cycle and results in poor sleep. That’s a big sign you’re drinking too much,” says Dr. Hendricks. Hangovers don’t just come in the form of a pounding headache or queasy stomach; people who wake up feeling overly tired, anxious, sad, or irritable might actually be experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, he says. These factors could affect how quickly you get drunk.