Whether you’re having your first night out as a student fresher or enjoying a ‘quiet one’ down the pub, most of us like to have some alcohol now and then. Whereas we like the drink, we certainly don’t like the morning after. The dreaded hangover. So with that in mind, I have scoured the net to bring you the best hangover tips and tricks.
Now according to some experts, different techniques can be better in different situations. I’m going to organise the best tips into sections:
Prior to drinking
- Eat. People who say ‘eating is cheating’ are the ones that will end up feeling worse for wear in the morning. Line you stomach with food to slow down the absorption of alcohol. You could also try a glass of milk, as this apparently has the same effect.
- Drink plenty of water through the day. When you consume alcohol, your kidneys send most of the water from your drink straight to your bladder instead of absorbing it into the body (which is why you always need the toilet on a night out). So if you are already slightly dehydrated, drinking will make this worse!
- Keep yourself in good shape. The reason women’s recommendations for alcohol consumption are less than men’s is that women naturally have a higher body fat percentage than men. Alcohol cannot distribute as well in fat as it can in muscle, so more will be held in the bloodstream. That means those with less fat and more muscle can in theory handle more drink. Check out the exercise section for tips on keeping in shape.
After a quiet night (up to 12 units)
- Drink 1/2-1 pint of water before bed. The theory behind this is as follows: alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it removes fluid from the body. As most symptoms of a hangover are caused by dehydration, the water before bed aims to rehydrate you. However, if you’ve had a heavy night, drinking water will probably make you sick, causing you to be even more dehydrated and ultimately give you a worse hangover in the morning.
- Painkillers can help. Aspirin is effective at getting rid of a headache, although it can aggravate an already upset stomach. Ibuprofen does the same job but is softer on the stomach. Always keep to the recommended doses.
- Drink water, again. Ok, this is getting a bit repetitive but drinking water when you wake up will help rehydrate your body.
- Eat something. Many sources say a fatty breakfast can help with a hangover. I have to agree but this only seems to work after quiet nights. After a heavy night, I prefer something dry like toast as it’s a lot easier on the stomach.
- Get some sleep. When you’re drunk, your sleeping pattern can be disrupted. Not only did you get to bed late but the quality of sleep you’ve been getting isn’t very good. If you’ve got the day off work, get yourself wrapped up in your duvet and sleep it off.
- Get some exercise. I appreciate that this isn’t for everyone and quite different from sleeping it off. The thought of exercising with a hangover isn’t a good one but it could help you. Sweating out the alcohol is a myth, but exercising can release endorphins to help you feel better. Just make sure you drink plenty of water while working out.
After a heavy night (over 12 units)
You really are in trouble here. You’re never drinking again, ever! There isn’t much that can help you but I’ve found the best remedies for you:
- Sleep. As mentioned above, sleep can help your body recover. When you’ve really indulged in the drink, time is a great healer. Speed up the process by resting up.
- Be sick. Now don’t get me wrong, making yourself sick should only be used as a last resort. If you don’t feel queasy then don’t make yourself sick. However if you have drunk a massive amount and feel ill, it could be good to get the remaining alcohol out of your body. This will probably make you hungry, so be sure to get some food afterwards.
- Try to eat. Dry food is much better than greasy food if you’ve been sick. Stick to toast or crackers. You could even try dry biscuits for an added sugar boost.
Other notable tips
- Some studies have found that drinking pear juice or eating pears before an alcohol ‘session’ can reduce absorption of alcohol.
- Cucumber, tomato and watermelon are great sources when looking to rehydrate your body after a night out.
- Always drink responsibly!
Do you have any good hangover tips? Share them in the comments below!