Preventing hangovers

By Ali
Category: Social | Date: Sat 11 Oct, 2008

Since it’s Saturday, I’m guessing a few of you might be feeling a little the worse for wear. (Greasy fried egg butty anyone? No…?) I certainly had my share of hangovers as an undergrad. Here’s how to minimise the damage … without becoming a teetotaller.

Night Before

Eat before drinking

If you’re going to be downing pints all evening, eat something first. You get drunk much faster on an empty stomach. I know from bitter experience that spending two hours chain-drinking alcopops, < em>then thinking that food might be a good idea doesn’t work well …

Either have a meal before you go out, or order food at the start of the night, rather than once you’re already well on your way towards getting plastered.

Know your limits

Here’s a tip for anyone small and female like me: don’t try to match the hulking rugby-playing blokes drink-for-drink. Know your own limits – how much can you drink without suffering? – and stick to them. Don’t be swayed by friends: anyone taller, bigger or more used to drinking than you can consume a lot more before they see the same effects.

Avoid getting into buying rounds among your friends, as this will just encourage you to drink more. Instead, just buy your own drinks at your own pace, or agree to a certain budget with your companions.
How to Prevent a Hangover on Wikihow

Drink water

I’ve often heard the good advice to alternate between alcoholic drinks and glasses of water. Of course, hearing good advice and actually taking it can be a world apart. If you’d rather not be the gal/guy with a disgustingly healthy glow, sipping Evian in the corner, then at least drink a couple of glasses of water just before bed.

The headache you get with a hangover is caused by the dehydrating effect of alcohol – your brain shrinks slightly. I know that sounds like the sort of horror story your parents told you in the vain hopes it’d put you off drinking, but it’s true:

Headaches result from dehydration because the body’s organs try to make up for their own water loss by stealing water from the brain, causing the brain to decrease in size and pull on the membranes that connect the brain to the skull, resulting in pain.
How Stuff Works: How Hangovers Work

Morning After

Drink water

The first thing to do when you wake up is drink more water. If you’re feeling sick, don’t glug the water down, just sip slowly. If you dislike the taste of water, weak squash is a good alternative.

And don’t think you can switch the water for a “hair of the dog” – if it doesn’t make you sick, all it’ll do is keep you drunk for longer and delay the onset of the hangover. You’ll have to deal with it eventually …

Eat something

Hangovers are the one time I ever lose my appetite. My test for whether I’m hungover or just a bit knackered is whether the thought of chocolate makes me feel sick or not …

Try to eat some breakfast, even if you really don’t fancy it. Cereal is easy to eat, or toast. Getting food into your stomach will help settle the churning. Some people swear by a greasy fry-up, which probably works if you can stomach it. I’d imagine that porridge would be another good option (carb-rich and easily digestible) but can’t bring myself to try it when I’m feeling queasy.

Go for a walk

Getting some gentle exercise can banish the last vestiges of a hangover. A full-on workout is probably not such a great idea, but a gentle stroll in the fresh air will get rid of that “zombified”, out-of-it feeling.

If you’re feeling a bit more energetic after your walk, jogging is supposed to be a good way to get over a hangover. Or you could just try going back to bed…

Over to you

Further reading:

Got a great hangover remedy? Share it with us in the comments…


4 comments:

  1. Drinking fizzy soft drinks the morning after does it for me. Party Patches are really useful to fight the hangover before it starts and eating stale bread before going to bed also helps.

    Good luck with the partying

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