Science of the Sesh

Updated: Aug 26, 2019

Authored by Kane Bastick

5-7pm: ‘Big sesh tonight lads, best get 4 scoops of curly fries at dinner’

According to the DSU, your mum and probably anyone older than you trying to give alcohol-related advice, having a big meal is always the best thing to do before a heavy one. Whilst lining your stomach will delay the rate of alcohol absorption, especially when eating carbohydrate and protein, it won’t prevent alcohol from reaching your system [1]. In summary, if you go heavy you will still get bevvy - but it’s the sensible thing to do so you don’t delete yourself before 10pm.

11 pm

Usually the exact moment where things tend to go south is when the bombs and Sambuca comes out. The myth of mixing drinks, or even drinking certain alcohols on top of one another (‘beer before wine and you will be fine’) making you more drunk is false. Your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is what determines how drunk you are, so it is the alcohol percentage of the shot that contributes instead [2].  However, if you start on vodka then move to something like beer, the fact that you have reduced your alcohol ABV per drink means that you will not realise how much you are drinking any time after, so you are more likely to put back more than what you would if you had just been on the beers in the first place.

1 am: Time to dance

Acting as a neurological depressant, your pres from a few hours before now begin to act to both reduce physical and mental alertness whilst decreasing pre-frontal cortex function. Essentially you get confident and messy at the same time, just in time for Come on Eileen.

2 am: Paddy’s

Why is it that after 2 bottles of Echo Falls and a Woo-Woo pitcher your vegan clean eating friend turns into a carbohydrate eating machine, their one desire for the rest of the night is to destroy a large box of cheesy chips and a meat feast pizza? Alcohol acts like a dimmer switch for all many inhibitions to say the least, including your food habits, reducing feelings such as stress and guilt for tucking into 2500+ calories in one sitting. Because what we drink is technically a poison, there is a noticeable drop in blood pressure after consuming alcohol, also causing an apparent drop in blood-glucose content, increasing hunger, making you take a B-line for the naughty Hatfield boy holding a box of cheese-filled delight.

2:30 - morning: ???

‘I remember buying my Paddy’s then I made it home… wait no I went back for post-drinks … wait who was even with me?’

‘You cried, vomited and passed out in the kitchen Amy, then I put you to bed’.

Its only when you flick back on your phone from the night before you can sometimes piece everything that went on, and sometimes even that is a struggle. It’s no wonder - unlike popular believe that alcohol causes short-term memory loss, it prevents memories forming at all. Alcohol causes the disruption of activity in the hippocampus, a brain region that plays a central role in the formation of new memories. When you consume large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time, partial (short-term) blackouts become complete (en bloc), periods in time where memory formation is completely blocked to maintain well established long-term memories [3].

Sometime after midday: Never. Again.

Well, not for another 7 hours at the very least. More properly known as veisalgia, hangovers include feelings of nausea, severe dry mouth (alcohol is a diuretic), drowsiness and deep filled regret. A high blood alcohol content also shifts the equilibrium of an essential coenzyme, NAD+, into its electron-rich state, NADH. Whilst this equilibrium is crucial for controlling glucose metabolism and electrolyte transport, many studies suggest that those with severe hangovers to not have reduced metabolic function [1].

The ‘cure’ to a hangover has long been disputed. Whilst there is no hiding that the only thing that physically removes alcohol from your bloodstream is time, a large proportion of Brits across the country turn to a fried breakfast in an attempt to soften the blow. Interestingly over a quarter of post-sesh foods contain egg, which is rich in the amino acid cysteine [1]. Recent studies with rats have suggested that a small dose of cysteine can decrease the toxicity of acetaldehyde, a metabolite of ethanol that is 30 times more toxic than alcohol itself [1]. But, humans aren’t rats – well most at least.

Drink responsibly Kids:


[1] D. Davidson, \"Alcohol Hangover: Mechanisms and Mediators,\" Alcohol and Health Research World, 2009.

[2] G. Cocktaills, \"Blood Alcohol Content (BAC),\" [Online]. Available: .

[3] A. M. White, \"What Happened? Alcohol, Memory Blackouts, and the Brain,\" National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

[4] D. Mellor, \"Lining your stomach and other alcohol myths,\" [Online]. Available: