No, we can’t tell you what you did the last time you blacked out, but we can tell you what happened to your brain. “Blacking out” occurs when heavy alcohol consumption impairs the brain’s ability to form new memories. Drinking shuts down receptors in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for forming new memories.

Black outs can occur either as one massive block (say buh-bye to everything that happened during that chunk of time) or in bits and pieces— also known as a brown out. And while the amount of alcohol and speed of consumption affects blacking out (duh?) so does the number of black outs you’ve had before. Many medications can also make black outs more likely, so do your research! Of course, you can always stay sober to ensure you remember the night.

The Takeaway: Staying sober is the surefire way to avoid a black out, but medications and the number of black outs you’ve had before can affect how much you black out.

Go Out Gluten-Free

Anyone who doesn’t eat gluten can tell you avoiding it while out on the town can be especially tough. Check out the Greatist guide to partying hard while staying safely gluten-free.

Fun Quote:

“Alcohol gives you infinite patience for stupidity.” — Sammy Davis, Jr.