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Planning Your Night – No Planner, Spreadsheets, or Detailed Itinerary Required!

Oct. 27, 2022
Hands holding beer glasses toasting with person in background smiling

When you’re thinking about your next fun night out, making a plan may sound like a boring, tedious task – and the furthest thing from fun. However, making a plan doesn’t have to take a lot of time, and taking a few minutes to make a plan can save you from regret and hangovers the next day.

So what do we mean when we say “make a plan for your night out”?

Planning your night can be one simple step: determining how many standard drinks you should drink to stay in your Sweet Spot and not consuming more than this number of standard drinks.

The Sweet Spot is described as feeling a “buzz” and is the feeling one gets when they are experiencing the positives of alcohol and less of the negatives (like lack of control, hangovers, black-outs, and regrets. The Sweet Spot is measurable, and it is based on the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream, also called your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content). The Sweet Spot is experienced at a BAC of about 0.05.

Your BAC is influenced by your individual sex and weight, the number of standard drinks it takes for someone to reach the BAC is different. You can calculate your BAC using a BAC calculator and entering your sex, weight, the amount that you drink, and how fast you drink.

This sounds like a lot of math. Does this mean I have to do a lot of math before I go out?

While there is some calculating involved, the good news is that you don’t have to do complicated calculations before going to every party. There are lots of tools to calculate your BAC and plan your night (like this one!) and if you have a general pattern that you follow when you go out, you can figure out how much you want to drink before going out, and stick to that plan for most of your parties!

Okay, so I used a BAC calculator, and I know how many standard drinks I should drink to stay in the Sweet Spot... but are all drinks created equally?

As a reminder, a “standard” drink may not mean that one beverage is the same as a standard drink. As a rule of thumb, one 12 oz beer, one 5 oz glass of wine, and 1oz of hard liquor are equivalent to 1 standard drink.

This means that what’s in your cup may contain more than one standard drink. You can ensure that your beverage is one standard drink by checking the labels of what you’re consuming and mixing your own drinks. You can also use an online calculator to find out how many standard drinks are in your beverage of choice. If the drink you selected contains more alcohol than one standard drink does, consider drinking less of it or sipping it to make it last for longer and waiting longer until you reach for your next beverage.

Speaking of time, it’s also a good idea to plan when you will drink. If you’re planning to be out for 3 hours, consider limiting yourself to 1 standard drink per hour for women and 2 standard drinks per hour for men, for a total of no more than 3 or 6 drinks during the night, respectively. This tool can help you determine a more personalized number for you depending on the number of hours you plan to drink. Don’t forget to choose beer or mixed drinks rather than shots to make your drink last longer!

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*note – your BAC is based on biological sex, not gender. This is due to differences in body composition by sex, including levels of the hormone alcohol dehydrogenase and differences in fat and water content by sex.