No one likes a hangover. They really get you contemplating your life and wondering why you bother consuming alcohol. Funny enough, they don’t really stop people from going out on a big one the week after… or even a few days later.
Personally I hate hangovers, they make me hate alcohol; the feeling is awful, you waste a day recovering and the worst part of it is that whilst you’re feeling sorry for yourself, no one gives a crap and you aren’t getting any sympathy for this self-inflicted pain.
So why do we get hangovers?
We all know the answer to this… too much booze. If you’ve consumed way beyond your limit in one night, the chances are you’re going to have a hangover the next day. To get abit science-y on you, the culprit of the horrible symptoms of a hangover is a metabolite of ethanol (alcohol) called acetaldehyde. This is a really toxic metabolite and can remain at a high in the body for many hours after alcohol consumption. This produces many of the sickly symptoms. In addition to this, alcohol is a diuretic, which means it removes fluids from your body and this causes dehydration and removal of electrolytes. These together cause symptoms of headache, dizziness, nausea, body ache and much more. In other words, you feel sh*t!
Having spent 5 years at University, I can safely say I learnt how to tackle some pretty awful hangovers, and so here 10 ways to prevent them including things to do before and during drinking… but honestly, the after drinking tips are probably where you’ll be looking!
Before the night…
1. Line your stomach – We’ve all had our parents give us this advice before a big night out, and it turns out this is pretty good advice. An oily/greasy meal will line your stomach with fatty acids which slows down alcohol absorption, so you may well wake up without the splitting headache.
2. Drink lots of water – This goes without saying for all stages of your night and also the next morning. Keeping hydrated at all parts of the night will better serve you in the morning as the main cause for the headache is the dehydration. Drinking alcohol can make you expel up to four times as much water so be sure to maintain that hydration.
During the night…
3. Avoid mixing drinks – Simple really but different alcohols have different chemicals, strengths and effects and will impose this on your body throughout the night. Mixing these together can only really lead to a mess… and an absolutely roaring headache.
4. Pace yourself – It takes roughly 1 hour for the body to break down 1 unit of alcohol so it goes without saying that loading your body with alcohol all at once, isn’t gonna end nicely. It’s hard to do on a bender, but the best thing you can do to not over-do it, is to take it easy and sip water throughout or after every drink.
5. Hit the Lucozade – It’s surprising how much I find this works! When you get home at the end of the night, drink at least 1 bottle of Lucozade sport or any type of sports drink (Gatorade etc) and you will feel like nothing went down the night before! Why? Sport/energy drinks are designed to hydrate you and restore nutrients and minerals lost from the body when there’s a big loss. When you consume lots of alcohol, you just as quickly lose electrolytes and nutrients that keep you feeling healthy. Restoring these before you hit the sack will help you avoid that headache in the morning. The only thing you’ll feel in the morning is tired because of the energy drinks… but sleep is essential to cure a hangover anyway!
After the night…
6. Lemon water – We know that plenty of water is essential to fighting a hangover, but one thing I like to drink the morning after is water will half a fresh lemons juice. Lemon hydrates you further and cleanses your system, helping to remove toxins from the body. It will also give you energy by helping to boost blood sugar and vitamins. Add a slice of ginger in your lemon water too. This will settle the stomach.
7. Calorific breakfast – When you are hanging, you want to get calories back into your system as soon as possible. People often go for a big fry up, which is good for replacing fatty acids which in turn break up alcohol in the liver, however they can make some people feel sick. Try sticking to mild flavoured carbohydrates like toast, crackers and potatoes.
8. Supplements – And by this I mean rehydration salts and supplements such as Dioralyte and Berocca. Both have been seen to nicely reduce the hangover symptoms of sickness and headache and it’s because of rehydration properties. Dioralyte is used a lot on holidays when you’ve suffered from an upset tummy and need to rehydrate yourself. This is another one of those situations where you need some! I took Dioralyte to Vegas earlier this year and it worked wonders!
9. TLC – Pamper yourself. If no one’s going to feel sorry for you, feel sorry for yourself and indulge a little. Have a nice long bath, slap on a face mask and laze around, painting your nails, drinking tea, eating pizza and watching chick flicks. If you’re going to waste a day, at least look good doing it!
10. Sleep it off – The key to surviving a hangover is letting your body recover and relax. The best thing to do is wake up, drink lots of water, take a paracetemol and go back to bed. Wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go.
If all else fails… you know what they say! Hair of the dog… keep drinking! Generally this is not recommended though as you are making things so much worse for yourself when you do finally stop drinking. Your body needs to recover and metabolise everything you’ve consumed. So give it a rest!
Now you can enjoy your next night out knowing you won’t have a hangover the next morning (YEAH RIGHT)!