Sometimes Friday night's happy hour turns into Saturday morning drunch, and before you know it, culminates in a day-drinking-all-day Sunday barbecue.
A 48-hour buzz doesn't do any favors for your health, as you've already figured out come Monday morning. But now you can rest assured that it's not that bad. Assuming you side-step all the obvious dangers of drinking (like alcohol poisoning, dehydration, and any number of injurious accidents), a single drunk-a-thon probably won't permanently damage your body, says Michael Fingerhood, M.D., associate professor and division director of the Center for Chemical Dependence at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland.
That doesn't mean you get off entirely unscathed. Any time you drink for a sustained period, you take a beating in these ways:
1. You suffer from sleep deprivation. Because alcohol suppresses the deep, restful sleep that your body needs to function, your 48-hour bender can leave you overtired come Monday, when you'll feel less alert and focused.
Make it better: Try to get a good night's sleep before your boozefest begins, and nap in the early evening after day drinking if you plan to go out late that night, suggests Dr. Fingerhood. Every wink counts (even though it still doesn't replace good-quality sleep).
2. Your liver flares up. While a single party weekend won't permanently damage your liver (and you won't feel any physical symptoms, in most cases), the organ does need a break from binge drinking to fully recover.
Make it better: Take a few days off from drinking after a boozy weekend, and try not to schedule party weekends back-to-back, Dr. Fingerhood suggests. Your liver should heal itself in a few weeks' time—even if you go back to drinking moderately (i.e., a glass of wine with dinner) in the interim.
3. Your immune system suffers. Alcohol directly reduces your ability to fight off infection, Dr. Fingerhood says. So when you sober up after Coachella, don't be surprised if you come back with a cold.
Make it better: Rest up before a big weekend of drinking so you go into it with your defenses up, Dr. Fingerhood suggests.
4. You risk weight gain. When a party begins in the morning, it can last twice as long as a drunkfest that begins after dark. So it makes sense that you end up drinking more (consuming more calories in the process) when you start earlier in the day. You probably make worse dietary decisions when you're under the influence, so you'll house excess calories in that department too.
Make it better: Don't try to skimp on food to undo the damage of drinking loads of calories. Aim for regular meals instead of just snacking all day, and opt for lower-calorie drinks and mixers when you can.
5. You set yourself up for sunburn. You're less likely to think about protecting your skin when you're boozing, according to Dr. Fingerhood. If your negligence leads to sunburn just a handful of times, you could double your risk of melanoma, according to data from SkinCancer.org.
Make it better: Lather up with sunscreen before you crack your first beer when you know you're going to be partying in the sun. Set your phone alarm to remind yourself to reapply every couple hours.
6.You'll really get a case of the Mondays. You know that alcohol makes you feel daring and social and silly. But moods that go up must come down, and the low (i.e., feeling blah) outlasts the effects of feeling great, Dr. Fingerhood explains.
Make it better: There's not much you can do but wait for the gloom to pass, which could take hours or days. In the meantime, you could try to improve your mood with natural tricks. Or another drink. (Kidding.)
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.