A hangover is caused from consuming too much alcohol. It can include a huge variety of symptoms and none of them are any fun. Some of the most common hangover complaints are headache, light and sound sensitivity, tiredness, and nausea. However, this short list doesn’t even begin to touch how you may feel the day after consuming too much alcohol. But you don’t have to be one who suffers!
Preventing a Hangover.
Since there is no real cure to a hangover, even with scientists studying it, it is best to prevent the hangover in the first place. You can do this with the choices you make and a few before bed tips that can help out a lot.
1) Don’t drink too much. While this is often easier said then done, only you know how you react to alcohol. Try to set a limit and stick to it. The farther you get past your limits the easier it will be to keep going until you have dropped off the edge of humanity and are visiting with the toilet bowl.
2) Always eat before you start drinking. There is no doubt about it, eating on an empty stomach makes things a whole lot worse. Here are a few more food tips. Often we drink with some greasy food combo (pizza or cheeseburgers and fries), this slows digestion and can make it harder for our bodies to process the alcohol. Instead pick something starchy which will make for a good source of carbs and help for the absorption of alcohol. Pasta and garlic toast anyone? A glass of milk before you begin is also a good idea. It coats the stomach and can help ward of the nausea.
3) Choose your drinks carefully. One part of alcohol that gives a hangover are called congeners. These are metals and non-ethanol based alcohols that give certain drinks their flavor. As a general rule, the darker the drink the more congeners it has in it and the worse the hangover can be. Vodka and gin are really the best alcohol to add to your mixed drinks, but choose your alcohol based on your limits and your colors. Having more then one type of alcohol can also do it. Stick to just one or two types and remember the rhyme: “Beer before liquor never sicker, liquor before beer in the clear”.
4) Drink water or juice in between drinks. It may not seem cool to order an orange juice, cranberry juice, or just plain water, but these can help you stay hydrated and avoid the morning after headache. A little known fact is that drinking water will also make your buzz feel stronger. This has to do with keeping hydrated and continuing the break down of the alcohol just a bit faster. Juice will provide sugars and other nutrients that your body is quickly losing as well. Oh, and make sure you skip the carbonated drinks. They will make it harder for your body to metabolize alcohol and make bad mixers and drinks in between because of it.
5) Realize how fast your body metabolizes alcohol and try not to over load it. Your body can metabolize 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, and 1/2 ounce of liquor in an hour. Realize that your mixed drink probably has at least 1 ounce of liquor and many contain a lot more then that. Nurse your drinks and give yourself the water and juice in between.
6) Before bed drink lots of water. You should try to drink 32 ounces of water before going to bed. This will help with the dehydration, which is one of the biggest causes of that headache you are dealing with.
7) Don’t take any pain medication before bed. Many of us think that popping the pain pill is a preventative, but it doesn’t work that way. Plus many of the pain medications irritate the stomach (something that is already irritated) and some such as acetaminophen can cause other really bad things when mixed with alcohol (such as the liver exploding). Just hold off and take it in the morning if you need it. Some suggest that you take a multivitamin before bed though to help you body get back many of the vitamins that it lost while you were drinking (particularly the B vitamins).
Getting rid of a hangover.
Unfortunately there is no miracle cure, though many products are sold as such and many home remedies are offered as such. Science has shown that many of the products sold as such are just there to get your money. Instead take things slow and try a few scientifically endorsed things.
1) Drink more water. Yep, it is all about the hydration. Juice is good too since it helps get sugars back in your blood and will make your brain feel better. Avoid coffee because caffeine can make the headache worse. Milk or milkshakes can also be gentle on the stomach and provide cysteine which can help get your body back to normal. However, milk is bad if you are sure you are going to throw up!
2) Pop some pills. Now is the time to take aspirin as long as you aren’t throwing up blood or don’t have a medical reason not to. Take two and don’t be tempted to try more then that because it is bad for your stomach. It is also a good idea to take another multivitamin or a B vitamin complex.
3) Eat. I know your stomach feels like a nasty pit of some dark world, but eating is important. It will help get back some nutrients and can ease the pain. Some recommendations are toast and crackers which can help to ease nausea, bananas which are packed full of nutrients, and plenty of water and juice. Honey is also a good way to help get sugar back into your blood.
4) Exercise. I know. It sounds insane, but exercise does two things which are good at helping to get rid of hangovers. First you start to sweat out the toxins of the night before. And second you are getting more oxygen which improves brain function and helps to get you back to normal quicker. Don’t feel like you have to go run a marathon. Just throw on something suitable enough to go around the block and take a walk. It can do wonders.
5) Rest. Your body needs to recover from an overdose of toxins. To do this, rest is one of the best medicines. Try to sleep, watch some TV, or do some other no brain required activity. It really will help.
Your best bet is to work at preventing the morning after discomforts. There is no magic cure and I can’t give you some nasty drink that will be hard to get down, but make the world all right again. Instead, take it careful and plan ahead. You can have a lot of fun without the next day drama and pain.