As sore heads and achy bodies take hold post-Christmas/New Year parties… the question on everyone’s lips is “How can I get rid of this awful hangover…?!”
Splitting headache, sickness, dizziness, dehydration… no thanks!
Of course, we all really know that the only sure-fire tip in dodging this is to drink in moderation. However, at this time of year, overindulging and being a little naughty is likely, we know!
Alternating drinks with water or a non-alcoholic beverage can help you slow down and stay hydrated. Still end up with a hangover? Unfortunately, hangover remedies and cures are generally a myth.
There are tips for avoiding hangovers and easing the symptoms (as follows), but sadly, there are no cures!
- Drinking on an empty stomach should be avoided. Before you go out have a meal including protein with healthy carbohydrates or fats to help slow the body’s alcohol absorption.
- Be wary of dark-coloured drinks. Many of us are sensitive to these as they contain natural chemicals called congeners (impurities), which irritate blood vessels and tissue in the brain, making a hangover worse.
- Remember to alternate your drinks with water or a non-alcoholic beverage.
TOP TIP: Hydration is your hero! Drink a pint of water before you go to sleep. Keep a glass nearby to sip if you wake up during the night, too.
What to eat, drink and do next…
Alcohol is a diuretic (it removes fluids from the body), so excessive drinking will lead to dehydration, which causes most (if not all) hangover symptoms. Treatment involves rehydrating the body so it can deal with these pains (remember, the best time to start to rehydrate is before going to sleep).
You can replace lost fluids by drinking bland liquids that are easy on the digestive system. Water, soda water, isotonic drinks, green tea, mint tea.
Hair of the dog does not help and is a risky habit. You only delay the symptoms until the alcohol wears off again. Hangovers feel bad because alcohol is toxic; give your body a chance to recover! A’ Virgin’ Mary (rather than a ‘bloody’ one) is a much better choice the morning after.
Over-the-counter painkillers will help with the ouchy head. Paracetamol-based products are preferable as Aspirin may further irritate the stomach, increasing nausea/sickness.
Try Bouillon soup, a thin vegetable-based broth. Easy for a fragile stomach to digest and a good source of vitamins/minerals to top-up depleted resources.
Many people swear by it, but avoid the fry-up. Greasy food is only going to give you heartburn. Instead, eat light, stay hydrated. Get some sensible food on board ASAP, though.
Don’t try and “sweat it out” (alcohol/other toxins) in a sauna. The last thing you need is to disrupt normal blood-flow patterns by extreme heat in this way. If you’re already dehydrated anyway, then excessive sweating can be harmful.
Get some Sleep. After a night drinking, the chances you’ve slept well? Slim. Despite alcohol putting you to sleep quickly, when it begins to wear off, the withdrawal your body feels can rudely wake you, and sleep deprivation, as you may know, makes the symptoms worse. So if you have the luxury of “sleeping it off” or napping the next day, go ahead. Your tired brain and achy body will thank you for the recovery time. Like to know how to perfect your napping skills? Read this!
To try and minimize risk of future health problems, men shouldn’t regularly drink more than 3-4 units/day. Women shouldn’t regularly drink more than 2-3 units/day.
Don’t drink more than you know your body can cope with. If you’re not sure how much that is, take care.
If you do go overboard at the Christmas party, remember that in the end, the only sure-fire hangover treatment is time, plenty of water, and rest. So grab the DVD’s you were given on the 25th, have a light breakfast (when you can stomach it), grab a bottle of chilled water and head for the sofa.
Where possible, wait 48 hours before drinking more alcohol, too; give your body time to recover. Sometimes, of course, a hangover makes this advice easier to follow!