During seasonal holidays almost everyone forgets to pull the breaks when drinking is an issue. Heavily drinking can lead you to a heavy hangover the day after. After partying hard, somewhere in between you realize that you shouldn’t have done it in a first place. And now you want it to go away. The questions is – how to do it?
The only way to avoid a pounding head and queasiness the morning after is to drink in moderation, or to stay away from alcohol entirely.
Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it removes fluids from the body, so drinking too much can lead to dehydration. Dehydration is what causes many of the symptoms of a hangover.
Alcohol can upset your stomach and give you a bad night’s sleep. You may still have some alcohol in your system the next morning.
Hangover cures are generally a myth. There are no cures for a hangover. There are tips for avoiding hangovers and easing the symptoms if you have one.
The best way to avoid a hangover is not to drink. If you decide to drink:
- limit how much you drink on any single occasion
- drink more slowly
- drink with food
- alternate with water or non-alcoholic drinks
To avoid a hangover, don’t drink more than you know your body can cope with. If you’re not sure how much that is, be careful.
To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level if you drink most weeks:
- men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis
- spread your drinking over three or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week
- if you want to cut down, try to have several drink-free days each week
Tips To Avoid Hangover
- Drink water or non-fizzy soft drinks in between each alcoholic drink. Carbonated (fizzy) drinks speed up the absorption of alcohol into your system.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Before you go out, have a meal that includes carbohydrates or fats. The food will help slow down the body’s absorption of alcohol.
- Drink a pint or so of water before you go to sleep. Keep a glass of water by the bed to sip if you wake up during the night.
- Don’t drink dark-coloured drinks if you’ve found that you’re sensitive to them. They contain natural chemicals called congeners (impurities), which irritate blood vessels and tissue in the brain and can make a hangover worse.
The Day After
If you wake up the next morning feeling terrible, you probably didn’t follow this advice. Although there are no real cures for hangovers, there are ways to ease the symptoms.
Treatment involves re-hydrating the body so it can deal with the painful symptoms, though the best time to re-hydrate is before going to sleep.
- Over-the-counter painkillers can help with headaches and muscle cramps. Paracetamol-based remedies are usually preferable, as aspirin may further irritate the stomach and increase nausea and sickness.
- Sugary foods may help you feel less trembly. In some cases, an antacid may be needed to settle your stomach first.
- Bouillon soup, a thin vegetable-based broth, is a good source of vitamins and minerals, which can top up depleted resources. It’s main advantage is it’s easy for a fragile stomach to digest.
- You can replace lost fluids by drinking bland liquids that are easy on the digestive system, such as water, soda water and isotonic drinks (available in most shops).
- “Hair of the dog” – drinking more alcohol – does not help. Drinking in the morning is a risky habit, and you may simply be delaying the appearance of symptoms until the alcohol wears off again.
If you’ve had a heavy drinking episode, hangover or not, doctors advise that you wait at least 48 hours before drinking any more alcohol to give your body tissues time to recover.
Sometimes, of course, a hangover makes that advice easier to follow.