You know the drill. After a grueling commute home from work wherein everyone on the road sucks at driving except you, your only recourse is to crack open a very cold beer and hope it stops your shakes. Twelve crispy boys/hours later, you stumble into your office again and start your mental countdown to the weekend.
Friday night floats by in a haze of Old Fashioneds and Jack & Dianes, but when you crawl out of bed the next afternoon, only a Laura Palmer will ease the throbbing in your frontal lobe. And then a mimosa. And then... a Long Island? Sure, why not. Before you know it, it's Monday morning again, and you've alienated all your friends, and who knows what you said in that deleted group text to your family? The only reason you don't sneak a shot of something into your coffee is because coffee makes your tummy hurt.
Why Drinking Makes You Run Faster, Jump Higher, and Live Forever
OK, that might be overselling it. But in moderation, some of this is true. A 1967 study of over 6,000 participants showed that people who consumed between 1 and 30 alcoholic drinks per week had significantly greater cognitive functioning than teetotalers.
The research team drew the conclusion that alcohol (beer, wine, or liquor) improves thought processes because it increases blood flow to the brain. Another study at the University of Auckland found that moderate amounts of alcohol improved the memories of lab rats - and may even protect against diseases like Alzheimer's. And we don't just mean a glass of wine at dinner. A 2013 study found that doubling down at brunch can help, too. That is: drinking up to three glasses of champagne over the course of a week can help "delay the onset of degenerative brain disorders, such as dementia."
As if that's not proof enough that you should imbibe at will, a 20-year study of 1,824 participants proved that heavy drinkers outlive* those who abstain. So drink up.
(*Disclaimer: In the name of responsibility, I should point out that the researchers linked the alcohol / longer lives connection to more active social lives. This means downing a bottle of vodka all by yourself during a Game of Thrones marathon doesn't count.)
Your teeth are yellowing, your skin is dry and leathery, your clothes smell like Satan's ashtray... and you're spending upwards of $50 per paycheck on something you kind of hate. Lung, throat, and mouth cancer aside (not to mention emphysema, COPD, and birth defects), smokers are jokers. It's gross. And it's annoying. You know when you're in the middle of a conversation and you suddenly turn around and disappear out to the alley to suck poison into your face and dick around on Instagram for 10-20-30 minutes? Yeah, the non-smokers in your life hate that. Also, you stink.
How Nicotine Helps Your Brain
In one blind study of elderly non-smoking subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), participants who were given nicotine patches for 6 months were shown to have improved attention and psychomotor speed. They also regained 46% of normal longterm memory for their age. The control group who had placebo patches got 26% worse. Of course, here we're talking about patches, not cigarettes - which means it may be time to ditch your Pall Malls for one of those fancy new e-cigarettes, which contain nicotine but fewer poisonous additives (allegedly). To ease your cravings, you can even get them flavored like tobacco, or like mango or birthday cake or whatever that smell is supposed to be. Just make sure to blow that ~vape~ away from my face, pal.
The next time you walk down a residential street late at night, think about the scenes in each of those dark rooms with drawn curtains that you pass by. Inside, one or more people is lying on a raised platform (a "bed," if you will), maybe flat on his or her back, maybe curled up on his side, breathing deeply, completely still, completely unconscious, at a reasonable hour - like a creepy humanoid robot on a lab table, only temporarily unplugged.
Also, they'll be like that for about 8 whole hours, which is a third of each day (and, in turn, presumably a third of their whole life). They'll probably wake up at a reasonable time - but since you're going to be up so late tonight, you'll probably be asleep tomorrow when that guy is up, about, and eating lunch (not to mention his breakfast).
You'll sleep right through the LA Marathon, through Saturday morning cartoons, the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and a pick-up game with your friends. You won't be able to stop your mom from telling you how the whole world is going on without you, passing by right outside your window. Get out of bed already, she'll say. Get a job.
Why You Should Stay in Bed
While scientists don't fully understand the nuances of sleep or exactly how it affects our bodies, they do know that a lack of sleep can have many detrimental side effects.
A 2000 study in new Zealand found that people who drove vehicles after being awake for 17-19 hours performed worse than those with blood alcohol levels of .05 - the legal limit for drunk driving in most Western European countries.
Getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night can affect reaction time, coordination, and judgment - and can increase anxiety, stress, and depression. Scientists call sleep an "anabolic" (building) process, and it is the time when our bodies rebuild and restore muscle tissue, among other things.
Adequate sleep affects our personalities, memories, tolerance levels - even our sense of humor. And have you ever looked hard in the mirror at the tail-end of an all-nighter? Yikes. So remind your mom that you were awake much later than she was and, by all means, get some rest.
Imagine this: You reach down and push a tiny button hidden under your favorite stuffed leather chair. As the seat reclines, a bottle of lotion (with aloe) rises from a small table on one side of you; from the other, a box of Kleenex. In front of you, the walls split to reveal a massive hi-def screen on which a naked chick (or dude), the kind you like, writhes and moans through the surround sound speakers installed in every wall and in the ceiling. The best part: There's no one else home.
If you imagine this kind of James Bond villain-style wank den every time you hear your roommates' wheels back out of the driveway, you're not alone. If you need a letter opener to physically pry apart the monitor and keyboard every time you open your laptop, you might be overdoing it, though, and you should probably wash... well... something. And if your girlfriend is going to bed frustrated and angry every night because you pay more attention to RedTube than you do to the warm human body beside you, you might have a real problem.
Why Masturbation Is, Like, Really Really Good for You
But don't fret! There is such thing as a healthy amount of masturbation - and it's probably more than you think. Through a 2003 study, a team of Australian scientists concluded, in their upside down lab, that the more men ejaculate between ages 20 and 50, the less likely they are to develop prostate cancer. More specifically: Men in their 20s who ejaculate 5+ times a week are one-third less likely to develop prostate cancer later in life. So just think about how much prostate cancer you're preventing!
Earlier studies had linked frequent sexual activity to an increase in risk of prostate cancer, but the variable here was the second party. There's a lesson here: To preserve your health, do it yourself.