Late Night Adventures

Written on December 1, 2008. Written by .

The Bar at the IFC
Spicy night-life without compromise.
Photo courtesy of Stuck in Customs

Social adventures are an appealing aspect of a spicy lifestyle which often consist of meeting new people in a high energy setting and playing subtle psychological games with them throguh conversation and body language. These adventures provide plenty of opportunity for humor and exposure to interesting people and culture, making them worth going out of your way for. But this begs the question of how far you are willing to go. Would you sacrifice your health and well being? That is what many people do, and it is something to consider carefully.

There are two issues that arise relating to social adventures. The first is that most people need alcohol to loosen up. One gets the general impression from the medical literature that alcohol is fine in modest doses, and there is even some evidence that alcohol itself (as opposed to other ingredients in alcoholic beverages) may have some health benefit by promoting better vessel health. On the other hand, there was also an MRI-based study that found a statistically prominant correlation between alcohol intake and brain atrophy even at levels of one to seven drinks per week. [Link] Another study showed an increase in the risk of breast cancer in drinkers who have just 1-2 drinks per day. [Link] It is also well known that alcohol causes damage to the dendrites of nerve cells in the brain, which is repairable, but can cause memory loss. [Link] Then of course there is a potential risk that you will become a heavier drinker which is known to cause numerous health conditions. So from a health standpoint it seems that the optimal level of alcohol consumption would be low, less than two drinks per day. If you do drink, red wine is a good option since it contains antioxidants that are thought to boost heart health. Unfortunately, social adventures usually entail excessive consumption of alcohol. Often drinking is the central focus of a party, making it seem necessary to drink a lot. This issue can be resolved without compromises by imposing strict limits (two drinks say) and then drinking non-alcoholic beverages that people will assume are alcoholic. When it comes to losing your social inhibition, it is probably best to not rely on alcohol. It is definitely possible to train yourself to lower your inhibitions in general, and studies have shown that people given non-alcoholic placebo drinks act just as disinhibited as their friends who are given real alcohol.

The other issue is that people only get rowdy at night. People do things at night that they would never do during the day. Drinking may play a large role, but the darkness does too. This creates a problem if you have to wake up early for work because sleep deprivation is a serious health issue, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. Quoting from WebMD, “Studies show an increased mortality risk for those reporting less than either six or seven hours per night. One study found that reduced sleep time is a greater mortality risk than smoking, high blood pressure, and heart disease.” [Link] Another study indicated that adults who sleep less than seven hours a night are significantly more likely to be obese, and obesity is highly correlated with many other health conditions. [Link] Furthermore, insufficient or irregular sleep has been correlated with cancer, heart disease, and diabetes by disrupting hormones and proteins that play a role in these diseases. [Link] This doesn’t mean that you should sleep as much as you can either, too much sleep can cause other problems. Each individual has their own needs for sleep and there are some individuals who need much more or much less sleep than others, but consistency is beneficial for everyone. It is possible to continue enjoying late night adventures without compromise. First of all, you don’t need to stay out all night to have a good time. It is possible in some places to leave before midnight and still have a couple solid hours of fun. By optimizing your morning routine, you can push your sleep schedule back so that you can consistently stay out later. Of course, this is not enough for full intensity partiers. Sometimes you need to stay out all night to get the full experience. This can still be accomodated without compromise by waiting for extended vacations or working out a deal with your employer to work a later shift. If these options aren’t feasible, then you can always find a different employer that is more cooperative. Then you can install opaque blinds in your bedroom and use an electronic system to simulate sunrise at noon. This will allow your sleep schedule to be permanently shifted so that you can still get consistent sleep. Missing out on so many hours of sunlight each day might not be desirable, but I think it is a much smaller issue than sleep deprivation, as long as you get enough vitamin D.

In conclusion, I think that you can have it all if you play it smart. There is no need to make compromises when there are so many possibilities.

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