Its the festive season. You’ve got your Christmas work-do, you’ve got to visit your annoying family you only see once a year, nan has got the sherry out and new years eve is only round the corner. You can see why most of us tend to over indulge over the festive period; because “f**k it, its Christmas”.
Drinking copious amounts of alcohol seems all well and good at the time but not when you wake up from a heavy night, feeling like a bird has made a nest in your mouth and you feel like the whole world is swirling around you. “I am NEVER drinking again” you promise yourself…..
I don’t know how many times I have googled ‘how to cure a hangover’ and tried everything that the glorious internet has churned up and I must admit, some of the tips I found have actually helped me, but everyone is different, so what works for me, might not work for you.
However. I have THE answer. The answer to NEVER getting a hangover.
….drum roll please….
DON’T DRINK ALCOHOL!
Bit too late for that if you are reading this right? But it is true. The only way you can truly prevent a hangover is to skip the alcohol all together. Obvious right?
So these ‘tips’ may only ‘help’ reduce the discomfort of a hangover. Unfortunately there is currently no scientific evidence that anything can cure a hangover; except to forego alcohol altogether. Boo.
So armed with that deflating knowledge let us continue…
BEFORE YOU DRINK
Take a multivitamin
Hangovers are caused by the body responding to the toxins entering your body causing inflammation and oxidative stress. Prevention is better than cure so keep your body topped up with antioxidants which will help prevent damage later on. Normal over the counter multivitamins are good or you could drink an acai or pomegranate juice before you go out.
Food is King
A hangover isn’t just related to how much you drink, but how you metabolise alcohol – and that all depends on what you eat before you drink. A good hearty meal will help to prevent a hangover – but not just any old meal will do, you have to properly fuel your body with good carbs, good protein, and good fats. Try to avoid anything laden with salt as this cause you to be dehydrated, which, as we know, makes your hangover worse.
Have a word with yourself
Make a promise to yourself. “I will stop drinking when I feel tipsy”. “I will pace myself” “I will only drink one kind of alcohol tonight”. Setting yourself a boundary before you even start drinking is going to save you in the long run. Know your limits and stick to them. Your future self will love you for it.
WHILE YOU DRINK
Watch WHAT you drink
If you know that champagne always gives you a hangover; don’t drink it! Stick to the drinks which you know you already have a tolerance too. Try not to be peer pressured into downing shots either if you are feeling a bit worse for wear. (You can always try ‘accidentally’ tipping yours over if you are….you’re drunk and clumsy right?!)
Water. Alcohol. Water. Alcohol.
For every alcoholic drink you consume, make sure you consume one of the same size of water or an electrolyte drink. Coconut water, smoothie, lucozade or gatorade are good choices. Electrolyte drinks help to replace the nutrients you lose when you consume alcohol and helps to prevent dehydration.
Ultimately, experiencing a hangover and feeling sick while intoxicated is due to the amount of alcohol consumed and the time period it’s consumed over. A healthy adult body is only able to eliminate one standard drink (or 10 grams of alcohol) per hour. If you are consuming more alcohol than the body is able to eliminate then the likelihood of feeling sick increases. So don’t be in a hurry to chug those drinks as fast as you can!
In between drinks make sure you eat some snacks like protein rich nuts to slow the rate at which alcohol enters the bloodstream. Even something carby like chips and dip are good.
When I was a teen, I used to social smoke when I drank, but I found that when I did, my hangovers would be 1000 times worse than if I didn’t smoke. Nicotine can lead to the release of cytokines which result in headaches and nausea which is obviously going to make your hangover worse!
Stick with clear, high quality liquor
Darker alcohol like borbourn has a higher concentration of congeners – which is a by product of the fermentation process and the nasty hangover giving stuff – than gin or vodka. In one study, 33 percent of those who drank an amount of bourbon relative to their body weight reported a severe hangover, compared to 3 percent of those who drank the same amount of vodka. So spend a little bit more money on purer and clearer alcohol. Plus the more expensive the drink, the less you buy, which means the less you drink, which means the less severe your hangover! Win Win!
Juice mixers instead of soda mixers
Fruit and vegetable juices contain extra vitamins which are always better for you than soda – and what did we say about vitamins earlier? They are good for your hangover! So swap out that coke for some refreshing OJ!
BEFORE YOU GO TO SLEEP
Don’t overdo it on the water
It’s true that hangovers can happen when your body gets too much bad liquid (alcohol) and not enough of the good kind (water). But by this point the damage has been done and no mater how much water you drink it’s not going to magically erase your hangover. Also, drinking a ton of water before bed is only going to cause you to keep getting up to go to the bathroom which is going to disrupt your sleep and make your hangover worse. So after a night of heavy drinking, drink one glass of water and leave a full glass on your bed stand to treat dry mouth in the morning.
Although its probably too late by now to absorb all that alcohol in your system (and it has already entered your blood stream for sure) but from my personal experience, eating a piece of dry bread before you go to bed has always done me the world of good.
Block out the light
We all know what we get like if we don’t get enough sleep. Cranky, irritable and even run down which will all be negative contributors to your hangover. If you are going to bed in the early hours of the morning, you only have a few hours until the world wakes up causing you to be constantly disturbed. Wearing a sleeping mask, earplugs and getting yourself some blackout blinds is going to block out any unwanted light and sound.
Take an ibuprofen
If you really have overdone it, take an ibuprofen and even a multivitamin before you go to bed. An anti-inflammatory will directly attack the inflammation that alcohol causes. Always avoid painkillers that contain acetaminophen though: You can seriously damage your liver and kidneys if you take them with alcohol.
THE MORNING AFTER
Yes. This is a REAL thing. Pioneered in Sydney, Australia, these clinics basically offer high doses of vitamins and even painkillers through an IV drip. Although prices are often highly inflated, often starting at the £200 mark and clinic aren’t really available outside big cities.
Go for a walk
It may seem like the last thing you want to do as you wallow in your own self pity but a brisk walk can do wonders. Moderate exercise will increase circulation, bring more blood and oxygen to the brain and muscles which helps offset hangover symptoms like headaches and achy muscles.
Take a shower
Ok, so this isn’t going to help get rid of your hangover, as ultimately its all down to the alcohol leaving your body, but a nice refreshing shower is going to help perk you up and make you feel less groggy and more human!
Obviously don’t continue drinking
I’m sure you have heard of “the hair of the dog that bit you” thing. Experts agree that it’s straight-up stupid to booze it up the morning after heavy drinking. It only delays the inevitable: a hangover that’s even worse than the one you’ve got.
Ditch the greasy fry up
Greasy and heavy food could lead to heartburn and indigestion which will make you feel even more sick and bad. Eggs should be your go to as they are a source of cysteine, which helps break down a headache-causing toxin that’s produced when your body digests alcohol. Toast will give your stomach something solid to work with and bananas are a great source of potassium. Almonds are great too because they contain vitamin E and fats that support liver function. Avocados are full of healthy fats, potassium, fiber, and B6 vitamins to help get your muscle function back on track and keep sodium at bay.
Drink a Super Smoothie
If you can’t stomach the idea of eating anything, then a super smoothie may be your best bet. Its easy to consume and digest and won’t sit so heavy in your stomach.
My friend Julia over at ItsBlitzzz has the best hangover/detox smoothie ever!
So thats it! Let me know if you tried any of these tips and if they worked for you!
Whats the worst hangover you’ve ever had? Let me know in the comments!