How Long Should You Wait Between Drinking Red Bull And Alcohol?

If you're at a bar with your friends and you're exhausted from a long day of work, you might consider telling the bartender you'd like a Red Bull and vodka. Though the combination may appear harmless at first glance, it can actually be a recipe for disaster. Once you learn about how Red Bull and alcohol function in the body, you may understand why you should keep the two at a distance. 

According to Healthline, Red Bull contains 75 milligrams of everyone's favorite pick-me-up — caffeine. Although the ingredients in Red Bull can help you stay awake and alert after a restless night, they also carry potential side effects that are harmful to your health. Excessive intake of Red Bull is particularly dangerous because it can elevate heart rate and blood pressure, increasing the risk of a heart attack. 

Most alcoholic beverages, on the other hand, don't contain caffeine. Alcohol is considered to be a depressant, whereas Red Bull falls under the classification of a stimulant, as explained by The Filtery. A few alcoholic drinks can make you lose your balance and slur your words, as the alcohol flows through the bloodstream and expands blood vessels (per NIDirect). 

Because each beverage carries its own unique risks that make them an incompatible match, it's wise to wait a few hours between drinking any caffeinated beverage and having alcohol, Julia Zumpano, R.D., told Cleveland Clinic. "The more time you have between those two substances, the better," Jamile Wakim-Fleming, M.D., also explained to Shape

Why you should wait a few hours before drinking alcohol after consuming Red Bull

When combining Red Bull and alcohol, the risk of experiencing each of the drink's individual side effects becomes greater, as pointed out by Riverside Recovery. It's dangerous to mix the two as it can lead to alcohol poisoning in some cases, which can elevate blood pressure and heart rate, or contribute to anxiety attacks and seizures. 

The caffeine in Red Bull reduces sensations of drunkenness in the body, making people feel as though they aren't as intoxicated as they really are. This could prompt someone to overindulge in more drinks than is considered healthy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), binge drinking is 4 times more likely to occur in drinkers between the ages of 15 and 23 who combine their alcohol with energy drinks. 

Drinking Red Bull with alcohol has other serious consequences that affect judgment and behavior. As explained by Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, individuals who consume alcohol and energy drinks may be more likely to make high-risk decisions that are dangerous to themselves and others, like driving while intoxicated or getting in a car with a drunk driver. 

To prevent experiencing any of these adverse reactions, you should wait at least a few hours before drinking alcohol if you've recently consumed Red Bull. Additionally, there are other tips you can keep in your back pocket that will help you drink responsibly the next time you go out. 

How to avoid the consequences of drinking Red Bull and alcohol together

Besides waiting a few hours between drinking a caffeinated beverage and alcohol, Julia Zumpano, R.D., suggests choosing a caffeinated beverage that contains less caffeine than energy drinks (per Cleveland Clinic). Instead of reaching for a Red Bull, it's healthier to choose a small cup of tea or coffee if you're planning to drink alcohol later that night. In addition, you should mix your preferred alcohol with club soda or flavored seltzer instead of Red Bull when you order a drink at the bar. 

To keep yourself safe during a fun night out with your friends, you can adhere to other low-risk drinking guidelines, as noted by Behavioral Health Centers. It's recommended that women don't consume more than three alcoholic beverages a day and seven alcoholic beverages per week. Men should drink no more than four alcoholic beverages a day and 14 alcoholic beverages a week. Anything greater is considered heavy alcohol use by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

As explained by Vervata Health, it's important to keep track of how many drinks you've consumed on a night out in order to avoid overindulging. You should also be aware of the amount of caffeine, sugar, and other stimulants in any beverage before you drink it. In addition, you can create a safety plan by deciding how much you will drink and around what time you will stop in advance, GoodRx points out.