In many organisations, the countdown to the office year-end party or D&D would have started. While you might have sought our HR guide to keep order during the party, you might not be aware what the aftermath of the party means for your employees.
According to Bensons for Beds, office workers in the UK are likely to have the worst night’s sleep of the year, when they finally make it to bed after the party.
In a recent poll, 65% of staff attending their work Christmas party said they had less than five hours sleep on the night, and felt the sleep they did get was low quality.
Moreover, eight in 10 of those who went to work the next day said they were less productive, spending most of the day wishing they were back in bed.
It takes 24 hours to fully recover from a hangover, which is bound to worsen at specific times throughout the day, depending on the amount of alcohol present in one's system.
The research also identified what happens in your body during and after the Christmas party, as well as the period when a hangover is likely to hit you the hardest:
On the night of the party
7pm - After hitting the party and consuming seven units of alcohol (each unit at about 10 ml), you’re likely to feel hungry and head to the buffet. This is because the alcohol causes blood sugar levels to fluctuate, which in turn sends signals to your brain that make you feel hungry, even though you might not actually be.
9pm – After nine units, the alcohol inhibits the release of an anti-diuretic hormone that tricks your body into thinking it is more hydrated than it actually is, causing regular trips to the toilets.
11pm – At around 12 units, your coordination is seriously limited. The alcohol causes a disruption of neurotransmitters in your brain, resulting in large amounts of dopamine being released all at once, so you feel on top of the world.
1am - The party starts to wind down and on your way home, you may experience blurry vision as your eyes are not able to respond quickly enough to lights. This is due to the impairment of brain function and weakened eye muscle coordination.
While you are sleeping
2am – You collapse into bed and pass out instantly. The 10 units of alcohol in your system are still suppressing your nervous system, helping you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly at the start of the night.
4am - The alcohol sedation wears off and the rest of your sleep would be less restful and restorative. There is also a chance that you might experience a nightmare.
7am - When you wake up, you would feel aches all over and feel as though you had only up to three hours sleep. You slowly and carefully get ready for work, still feeling a little tipsy, tired and groggy.
The hangover at work
9am -At work, you may experience withdrawal-like symptoms, in the form of temporary depression and increased anxiety.
11am - The alcohol has caused a build-up of lactic acid and increased pancreas and intestinal secretion in your body. These cause you to endure stints of vomiting and diarrhea throughout your recovery.
1pm - Now feeling less nauseous, your body starts to crave for sugary foods due to your low blood sugar levels.
3pm - The food made you feel a bit better, but you will still be feeling tired. There is no alcohol left in your bloodstream, but the short energy boost from the fatty and sugary foods has worn off and your blood sugar levels are crashing again.
4pm - You make it through the last couple of hours at work and head straight home. At this point your body has broken down all of the harmful toxins from the alcohol but your attention span and memory are still debilitated even when alcohol in the blood is no longer measurable.
How can you prevent these issues?
- To prevent yourself from experiencing these symptoms, try to halt the sugary foods and drinks a few hours before going to bed. This will give your body a chance to burn them off, giving you a better chance of a good night’s sleep.
- While Christmas parties are meant for you to go all out to celebrate, it is good to set a curfew, and stick to it. If you are heading off to work the day after the party, try to get six to eight hours of sleep in order to function properly the next day.
- Control your carbohydrates and fatty foods' intake and replace them with a vegetable-based broth for vitamins and minerals, which can top up depleted resources whilst being easy to digest.
Here's the information on the aftermath of Christmas parties in an infographic:
Note: This article does not comprise any medical or health advice.
Infographic / Bensons for Beds