Whether you are welcoming the new year immensely hungover or Spartan fought for a treadmill at the gym this morning, chances are you celebrated the beginning of 2016 in one fashion or another. While almost a quarter of people in the US were asleep before midnight, a great majority of you kool katz were out pretending to know the words to Auld Lang Syne while toasting 2016 with a bubbly drink. Some of you might have even had an extra drink to make a “beer blanket” to keep you from feeling the cold chill of the winter night and had the thought “Why the heck does this even happen?” Or better yet, “Does this even work?”
While that extra swig of alcohol may have made your skin feel warmer, your core body temperature (the one that keeps you alive) decreases with consumption of alcohol. Normally when you feel cold, blood flows from the skin into the organs, increasing the core body temperature. When you drink, the process is reversed making your skin feel like
while your insides feel like
Also, studies have shown that alcohol impairs your shivering reflex and increases your rate of sweating which lowers body temperature further.
"Well shoot, but what about those famous St. Bernard dogs that would carry small casks of liquor to save those trapped in the snow?" While St. Bernard dogs saved around 2,000 people over 200 years from the snowy Alps, they would keep their stranded travelers warm by lying on top of the person until help arrived. The saving-someone-from-freezing-via-liquor tactic is as much of a fairytale as a New Year’s party that isn’t overrated, overcrowded, or overpriced.
So next time you are out and want to keep warm, opt for a coat instead of a drink. You will reduce your risk of hypothermia and your insides will thank you. And if a coat will ruin the sequined shirt you break out once a year, you can always have a St. Bernard come and sit on you. I’m sure Beethoven wouldn't mind.