What happens to your body when you go raving?
by Daniel O'Shaughnessy - Registered Nutritionist DIP ION IFMCP mBANT
Whether you are clubbing or at a festival, it usually means hours of extended time on the dancefloor. Whether a seasoned partier or the new kid on the block, you will know that spending a whole weekend raving away can be quite taxing.
Not only is your brain fired up and alert for extended periods, your muscles are tired, you’re probably not eating a proper meal for a long period of time, you’re more likely to be dehydrated and chances are you are making your body work overtime to mop up the damage you are doing to it.
By having some of the knowledge of what happens when we rave, it can help you make conscious decisions about safer partying.
Your brain gets alert
Neurotransmitters are chemicals in your body which relay messages while controlling reflexes, emotion and memory. A key neurotransmitter is serotonin which controls appetite, sleep, learning and mood. When something great happens in your life, serotonin is produced, making you feel happy. This is released in everyday life but can be more so when partying with your friends when you feel the euphoria of your favourite song being played; your body gets a hit of serotonin alongside other chemicals such as dopamine and noradrenaline to intensify the happiness and feelings of contentment.
The surge of these chemicals may mean you’re feeling great at the time but when you get home, it’s hard to sleep until your brain breaks down the neurotransmitters until you are back to a natural state. Sometimes we feel quite tired, suffer from low mood and can feel unmotivated the next week when back to work as it takes a while to build the serotonin back up to normal levels.
Your liver gets overloaded
Your body has a sophisticated way of eliminating toxins that involves the liver, kidneys, digestive system, skin and lungs. Your liver in particular does the dirty work of filtering and disposing of any unhealthy things we might consume. Whilst your liver is great at doing its job and managing all the stress from daily life, you can overwhelm it by partying which can mean it the poor guy is overworked with many jobs queueing. Activities such as drinking too much can mean your body has reduced ability to carry out its normal functions such as detoxifying.
You have more chance of being dehydrated
Hours in the sun dancing or even in a sweaty club can mean you’re at higher risk from suffering from dehydration. Your body regularly loses water through sweating and urination. If the water isn’t replaced, you become dehydrated. Symptoms can be mild to severe which include fatigue, dry mouth, dizziness and headaches.
You lose sleep
Chances are if you are going to a rave then you are going to have your regular sleep routine out of balance. You may even find when you get to bed that you can’t sleep, feeling wired from night. Sleep allows your brain to recharge itself and remove toxic byproducts accumulated throughout the day. Not sleeping well or missing a night's sleep can impact quality of life and lead to health consequences including emotional stress and mood disorders.
Your muscles get tired
Dancing for hours on end can be considered a good workout but can lead to exhaustion and muscle fatigue. This usually isn’t a long term issue with one or two nights out but can lead to some muscle cramps and soreness the next day.
The bottom line
If you are going to be a party regular then you need to understand what it is doing to your body in effort to help mitigate some of the potential effects on the body. By understanding how your body works, you can begin to do a few things which may help mitigate some of the damage or prevent it from happening.
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