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How to Sober Up

Like it or not, there comes a time when you have to acknowledge the party’s coming to an end. You’ve had a ton of fun, but now it’s time to shift your focus away from partying and toward the task at hand: sobering up..

How to Sober Up From Alcohol Fast

Whether you couldn’t turn down those last few tequila shots or it just felt wrong to leave the club before finishing that final bottle of wine, you are feeling the alcohol. You take one more sip of beer, pull out your phone and Google “how to sober up from alcohol fast.

A massive number of results are now staring back at you from the screen of your phone., but you don’t have time to read through all this stuff.! You need to sober up immediately!

No need to waste precious time doing online research; we’ve got you covered.

How Long Does It Take to Sober Up?

The truth is there’s no miracle cure or secret recipe to reverse the effects of all the alcohol you drank. All the tricks and old wives tales you learned in college were designed to make you appear sober, but they didn’t do a thing to bring down your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). And when it comes to sobering up, your BAC number is what matters.

So, is it possible to sober up in a matter of minutes? Can you sober up enough to avoid puking? Can you safely drive home after you’ve been drinking? Are there any shortcuts to lowering that all-important BAC number?

Let’s take a deep dive and find out.

Fact-Check: 6 Ways to Get Sober Fast

If you consume alcohol, your body feels its effects and you run the risk of a hangover the next day. There’s nothing you can do to kick your liver into overdrive or make it process alcohol at a faster rate.

If you evaluate all the sober shortcuts floating around online and passed down through word-of-mouth, you’ll notice the shortcuts tend to focus on making you more alert. But they don’t do anything to make you less intoxicated. Alertness and intoxication levels are two totally different ball games.

Let’s look at the following six sober shortcut examples.

#1 Drink Water

Drinking a lot of water in between shots of liquor, cold beers, or glasses of wine does help your body metabolize alcohol, but it doesn’t dilute the alcohol in your bloodstream. And as we already discussed, it’s that BAC number that determines your level of intoxication. So even if you drink an 8oz glass of water between every shot of whisky, your BAC will be the same. What drinking extra water will do, however, is ensure you stay hydrated, and that’s the best way to avoid a hangover.

#2 Eat Food to Absorb the Alcohol

During a night of drinking, it doesn’t matter if you sit down to a feast or snack on the bowls of stale popcorn that have been sitting on the bar at your local watering hole for the past three months. Eating food after drinking doesn’t help to sober you up and it won’t help to lower your BAC. It’s definitely worth mentioning, however, that eating a meal before you start drinking might help to slow down your body’s absorption of alcohol.

#3 Jump in a Cold Shower

While a cold shower – or just splashing your face with cold water – is an easy way to wake yourself up or get a quick burst of energy, it won’t do a thing to help reverse the effects of alcohol.

#4 Drink a Lot of Coffee

You obviously know that alcohol is a depressant, and that means it can make you drowsy. Coffee, on the other hand, is packed with caffeine, which is a stimulant that gives you energy.

People often think that combining the two will somehow negate the effects of alcohol in your system. The truth is that coffee doesn’t do a thing to make your body metabolize alcohol faster than usual. In fact, when your body encounters both alcohol and caffeine, it puts dangerous stress on your heart.

#5 Work Up a Sweat

 

This tip might conjure up memories of Richard Simmons’ selling his “Sweatin to the Oldies” VHS tapes, but there’s no need to break a sweat when drinking alcohol. That’s because alcohol is in your bloodstream; it’s not excreted in your sweat.

#6 Just Puke Already

Speaking of excreting things from your body,  you’ve likely heard that making yourself throw up can be an effective way to sober up instantly. But wait…before you go sticking your finger down your throat, you need to know that throwing up won’t lower your BAC at all. Again, the alcohol is in your bloodstream, not your stomach.

How Long Does It Take to Sober Up from Alcohol?

It typically takes 1-2 hours for your body to metabolize one serving of alcohol.  The more you drink, the longer it takes your body to metabolize the alcohol.

Here are the standard drink sizes:

  • 1.5 ounces of spirits (one shot)
  • 5 ounces of wine (one glass)
  • 12 ounces of beer (standard can or bottle)

When you drink alcohol, it enters your bloodstream and makes its way to your liver for processing. If you drink alcohol faster than your liver can metabolize it (more than one serving per hour), your BAC goes up and your cognitive functions go downhill.

You’ll  find examples of alcohol’s effects according to BAC levels in the table below.

BAC (%) Behavior Impact
0.001–0.029 The average individual appears normal Subtle Effects Police Officers Can Detect With Tests
0.030–0.059 Mild euphoria
Relaxation
Joyousness
Talkativeness
Decreased inhibition
Poor Concentration
Talking Louder Than Usual
More Outgoing in Public
0.060–0.099 Reduced sensitivity to pain
Heightened Euphoria
Lack of All Inhibitions
Extraversion
Reasoning
Depth Perception is Off
Peripheral vision is Blurry
Glare Recovery
0.100–0.199 Over-Expression
Boisterousness
Possibility of Nausea and Vomiting
Reflexes
Reaction Time Decreases
Generalized Lack of Motor Control
Staggering
Slurred Speech
Temporary Erectile Dysfunction
0.200–0.299 Nausea/Vomiting
Emotional Mood Swings
Anger or Sadness
Impaired Sensations
Decreased Libido
Possibility of Stupor
Severe Motor Impairment
Loss of Consciousness
Memory Blackout
0.300–0.399 Sedentary in a Stupor
Central Nervous System Depression
Loss of Understanding
Blacking In and Out
Slight possibility of death
Loss of Bladder function
Erratic Breathing Patterns
Dysequilibrium
Irregular Heart rate
0.400–0.500 Severe Central Nervous System Depression
Coma
Possible Risk of Death
Breathing Slows
Heart Rate Slows
Positional Alcohol Nystagmus
Call for Emergency Help
>0.50 High possibility of death Dial 911 Immediately

How To Sober Up Before Bed

You already know there’s no instant fix that will help you sober up before bed, but there are some things you can do to help your body sober up while you sleep. Be sure to get enough rest so your body has a chance to process and rid itself of the alcohol.

Here’s what you can do to reduce the chances of a bad hangover when you wake up. Before bed, you should:

  • Drink a big glass of water. Dehydration really is the biggest culprit behind hangover headaches and fatigue.
  • If you’ve already thrown up or think you might throw up during the night, get your hands on some electrolyte drinks (Gatorade, Pedialyte, etc.) They’ll keep you hydrated.
  • Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory for preemptive headache relief. Be sure to take the recommended dosage and eat a little something when you take the medication.
  • If you have to wake up early the next day, be sure to set an alarm or two.
  • Keep a bucket or trash can next to your bed in case you get sick.

How to Sober Up the Morning After

Hangovers tend to go away within 24 hours, but in order to make yourself feel better, try the following tips to help you sober up the morning after:

  • Drink glasses of water to rehydrate your body
  • Place an ice pack or cold cloth on your head to help soothe a headache
  • Keep your blinds closed or wear sunglasses if you’re struggling with increased light sensitivity
  • Be sure to eat breakfast. You’ll want to include healthy fats and proteins since they play major roles in balancing your blood sugar.
  • Just say “no” to the hair of the dog. Consuming more alcohol will not make you feel better, but it will start the hangover process all over again.

Is There a Way to Sober Up Fast to Drive?

In short, there is no safe driving if you get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking. The only thing that can ensure a safe driving experience is time – your body needs time to process and rid itself of the alcohol in your bloodstream.

Still impaired by all the alcohol you drank? Pick up your phone and call an Uber, a Lyft, or a sober friend to pick you up when you’re ready to leave. It’s never a good idea to put yourself at risk for being pulled over for a DUI, or worse, causing a drunk driving accident and risking the lives of everyone on the road.