It Takes Time to Sober Up

A night of heavy partying follows you into the next day. 

Contrary to popular belief, only time will sober you up.

The rate that alcohol leaves the body is constant, regardless of gender, body type or size. It leaves at a rate of .015% per hour (.25-.30 ounce of ethanol, which comes out to about 1/2 drink per hour). 

If a person went to bed at 2 AM with a BAC of .20, the next 15 hours might look like this:

Time Activity Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

2 AM

Leave the bar, get food, stumble home

BAC .200

3 AM

Drunk-dial friends

BAC .185

4 AM

Crash in a chair

BAC .170

5 AM

Awake with neck cramp, move to bed

BAC .155

6 AM

Restless sleep

BAC .140

7 AM

Wake up, search for water, go back to bed

BAC .125

8 AM

Restless sleep

BAC .110

9 AM

Hit snooze repeatedly, pounding headache

BAC .095

10 AM

Realize you accidentally shut off alarm, jump out of bed, pull on sweats, grab gum, then hustle to class (DUI possible if you drive)

BAC .080

11 AM Contemplate whether food is a good idea -- decide it's not -- go home and sleep like the dead BAC .065
Noon Alarm wakes you -- contemplate skipping next class BAC .050
1 PM In class, irritable BAC .035
2 PM Head clearing, skip the gym and go home BAC .020
3 PM Feeling better, decide to eat BAC .005
4 PM Sober at last BAC .000
5 PM  Make plans for the evening that don't involve drinking  

Want your day-after to be great? Check out Stay in the Blue.

Adapted from Choices Interactive Journal from The Change Companies.