In the past, I have blogged about the dangers of highly caffeinated alcoholic beverages such as Four Loko–which was temporarily taken off the market a few years ago and then quickly re-introduced with a lesser amount of ResearchBlogging.orgcaffeine and alcohol. The biggest danger of Four Loko and Red Bull-vodkas is that people tend to not cognitively realize how drunk they are, increasing their risks for alcohol poisoning. My attendance at alcohol research conferences has also forced me to walk past posters that show the double-whammies that high amounts of caffeine coupled with alcohol present for the brain; both increase neurotoxicity which leads to pre-mature death of neurons. They also accelerate the risk of addiction via dopamine, dopamine, dopamine! I say that I’m forced to walk by these posters because I don’t practice what I preach: Red Bull-vodkas are my go-to drink when it’s a late night out. Four Lokos are horrifically disgusting by the way  (see video below).  Much like other people, I prefer Red Bull-vodkas because of the nicely blended tastes of sweet and tangy and for their cognitive-enhancing coupled with behaviorally-disinhibiting effects. Well, a study published by the alcohol addiction institute at my alma mater–Brown University-found that caffeinated alcoholic beverages have minimal effects on nighttime sleep and next day sleepiness (ie. hangovers).

The researchers gave presumable Bruonians some Red Bull-vodkas to drink to the point that they were blowing a 0.12 on a breathalyzer. That’s pretty drunk. Despite this drunken-ness, there were few effects on sleep parameters including total sleep, the time to sleep onset, or next-day sleepiness. And now you know why I drink Red Bull-vodkas. So much for my usual public service announcements….

Rohsenow DJ, Howland J, Alvarez L, Nelson K, Langlois B, Verster JC, Sherrard H, & Arnedt JT (2013). Effects of caffeinated vs. non-caffeinated alcoholic beverage on next-day hangover incidence and severity, perceived sleep quality, and alertness. Addictive behaviors PMID: 24090620