Why Does Alcohol Cause the Spins?

viewapart, istock/getty images plus
viewapart, istock/getty images plus

You lie down to get some sleep after a long night of drinking, and the room seems to be spinning uncontrollably. What gives?

The spins happen because of an odd effect alcohol has on your ears -- specifically, on three tiny, fluid-filled structures called the semicircular canals. Inside each of these canals is a fluid called endolymph and a gelationous structure called the cupula, which is filled with cells covered in fine, hair-like stereocilia.

As you move around, the movement of the endolymph lags behind the more solid cupula, distorting and bending it -- and those little hairs. When the hairs bend, the electrical signal they send to your brain is altered, helping you to make sense of the rotations your head experiences on each of the three planes the canals sit on -- movements up and down, left and right and backward and forward -- and keep your balance.

Booze throws this system out of whack. Alcohol thins the blood, and when boozy blood travels to the inner ear, it creates a density difference between the cupula and the fluid in the canals, and distorts the cupula's shape. The little hairs bend and send a signal to your brain that tells it you’re rotating when you’re really not, and this illusion of motion makes it seem like the room is spinning.

Some of the things that you most want to do when you’re good and drunk, like lie down and close your eyes, make the sensation worse, since you don’t have any visual or physical cues to counteract the false sense of motion. Looking at a fixed object and keeping your feet planted on the ground can help lessen the effect, but there's no real way to stop it.

Love Red Wine But Hate the Stains It Leaves on Your Teeth? Wine Wipes Can Help

yula/iStock via Getty Images
yula/iStock via Getty Images

How your mouth looks after a glass of red wine depends on your genes and hygiene habits. People with strong enamel and not a lot of plaque can emerge from a wine bar with a relatively clean smile, but for those of us without those markers of exceptional dental health, red wine usually leaves dark, unsightly stains. If you fall into the latter group, there's a way to enjoy wine and preserve your smile without sticking to whites and rosés.

Using Wine Wipes is a convenient way to remove red wine stains from your teeth. The wipes come in individually wrapped packets like wet wipes. If you suspect your mouth is looking more purple than you'd like it to, tear open a packet, remove the wipe, and rub it over your pearly whites to make them pearly white again. The wipes comes in an orange blossom flavor, which won't spoil your palate in case you want to have another glass of wine or two.

Woman with wine wiping teeth.
Amazon

The Wine Wipes are billed as toothbrush alternative for when you're drinking outside your home, but wiping your teeth may be even better that brushing them if you want to remove wine stains. The bristles of a toothbrush can scratch enamel, creating entry points for dark pigments. While brushing your teeth can help reduce stains if you do it 30 minutes before you start drinking, or after you’ve had your last glass, Wine Wipes can be applied between glasses.

A package of 12 2-inch wipes is now available on Amazon for $5.74. If you want to stay extra prepared, the wipes also come in packs of 36, 48, and 60.

Wine Wipes packet and box.
Amazon

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Host an Epic Summer Party at This 40-Seat Pop-Up Bar—Without Leaving Your Backyard

The Yard Bar
The Yard Bar

Wishing you could go down in history as the host of the best backyard summer bash that your neighborhood has ever seen?

With the Yard Bar, you can. The portable bar, created by husband-and-wife team Andy and Kerri Marin, is 30 feet long, seats up to 40 people, and comes with virtually everything you need for an unforgettable party: wooden bar stools and high-top tables, a flat-screen TV and commercial sound system, recessed lighting, running water, a generator, and plenty of room for a fully stocked bar. And the retractable awning will prevent any actual rain from raining on your parade, wedding, birthday party, or whatever offbeat summer holiday you might be celebrating.

You’ll have to provide the alcohol yourself, but don’t worry if you don’t have much bar-stocking experience—the Marins can work with you to create specialty cocktail recipes for your event, and they’ll even help you figure out how much alcohol you’ll need depending on the size of your party.


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If your own yard isn’t quite ideal for such a legendary affair in the making, feel free to book the Yard Bar for somewhere less conventional. “If you can imagine it somewhere, it can probably go there,” Kerri Marin told Philadelphia Magazine, “It’s even been on top of a boat!”

The simple, rustic elegance of the Yard Bar achieves the perfect blend of indoor warmth and outdoor freshness, and it’s a great solution for people who love the idea of going to a bar, but aren’t so keen on the crowded, rowdy, noisy nature of hordes of strangers drinking in a contained space.

The Marins have seen such success with their Philadelphia-based bar that they’ve now expanded to upstate New York and several areas of Florida, including Orlando, Tampa, and Miami.

If you’d like a portable pub with more of an Irish vibe, be sure to check out The Shebeen or the inflatable PaddyWagon.

[h/t Philadelphia Magazine]

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