What happened last night?
This is a question at least readers of this piece have asked themselves at some point. It has to do with the hangover – not the humorous movie – but rather the serious condition that accompanies a great night of partying and alcohol (over) consumption. A hangover results in a breakfast of painkillers, hours spent “sweating it out,” nausea, and intake of large amounts of water.
Like many people, you’ve probably had more than your fair share of pain-filled mornings as a result of partying. You’ve probably been bedridden for a while too, as your body tries to shake off the lingering effects of vodka.
So, let’s try and answer a question as old as the human race, how do you cure a hangover?
As you will see, there are countless ways to manage the unwanted hangover. However, upon closer inspection, you’ll find that it all boils down to a couple of aspects that will help you survive the morning after. First, hangover is a side effect of dehydration. See, alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it pushes liquids out of the body. When it has managed to do that, the body draws water from internal organs, including the brain (hello headache!). To avoid, or at least minimize, the headache that comes with a hangover, drink lots of water before, during and after the partying. And eat as well. Alcohol intake on a full stomach is much slower than on an empty one. If you do these two things, you’ll be thankful to yourself when you wake up in the morning.
As human beings, we are more likely to tolerate an experience if we plan for its occurrence. If we are aware that we will probably drink more than our fair share of alcohol at the party, we’ll probably take steps to minimize the effects that come afterwards. Chances are you’ll arm yourself with a bottle of water and also make sure to eat well before you reach for the beer bottle.
Eat and drink
Eating beforehand and drinking water cannot be stated enough. These two ways alone will make a huge difference in the magnitude of the hangover you experience in the morning. For every glass of alcohol you intake, consume an equal amount of water. No matter how fun the night is turning out to be, always be aware of what’s in your glass.
The good thing about our livers is that the more they’re exposed to a certain kind of alcohol, the better they become at metabolizing it. For example, if you make it a habit to down two beers after work every day, your liver will build tolerance towards it. This is probably the part where many parents will take issue with the piece, but your pattern of drinking dictates how well you are able to tolerate alcohol. Simple.
Drink what you can handle
Each person is created uniquely, and this is evident in our levels of alcohol tolerance. Some people can handle wine better, while others might consume beer and whiskey much better than you might. If you’ve been drinking for a while, it’s fair to assume you know which alcohol type your body has no issues, and which type makes your tummy grumble funnily. It’s when you start mixing alcohol types that the experience takes a turn for the worst. When it comes to an evening of fun, stick to what you know and are comfortable with.
Avoid too much sugar
Imbibing too many sugary drinks will lead to a hangover. Alcohol is metabolized in the body as sugar, and the more added sugar a drink has, the more likely it will result in a hangover. Many wines have added sugars to increase the alcohol levels, which spells doom for you should you fail to consume them with care.
Keep it classy
Alcohols that have darker colors (whiskey, red wine) often have substances called congeners that contribute to some of the symptoms of hangovers. Go for the light-colored alcohols, and if possible, keep to the classy booze. Take it up a notch with the top-shelf alcohol, and you’ll be thankful in the morning.
Don’t sleep right away
The classic response to excessive drinking is to go to sleep right away. It might seem like the best thing to do, but sleeping slows down metabolism, which means the alcohol stays in your system longer before it is metabolized. If possible, don’t go to bed just yet. Try staying up and keeping entertained, at least for an hour, before plopping on the bed and sleeping away.
Lose the pills
Some people like to swallow an Alka-Seltzer or painkiller before hitting the sheets, but such medication only serves to irritate the stomach. Some research has shown that some of the substances in painkillers can cause liver damage, if taken constantly after drinking.
Many over-the-counter pills claim to cure hangovers, but many are just ineffective and a waste of money. Hydrate before you go to bed and after waking up. In the morning, you can try a sports drink. It’s filled with electrolytes that will replenish the ones lost the night before. Fruit juices like apple and cranberry also help boost the recovery process, and give you some much needed sugary energy to get through the day.
Skip the booze
The only sure to get deal with a hangover is to skip the alcohol altogether. You’ll sure look odd being the only guy/girl at the club sipping on water, but who said you can’t have fun sober? Just be prepared for the digs and jokes directed your way.
There you have it, effective ways to deal with a hangover before, during and after a day or night of drinking. Please, always drink responsibly.