Had a little too much to drink last night, eh? Maybe the sexy waitresses did too good of a job enticing you to order “one more drink.”
No worries, no one’s judging you for the weekend binge. After all, the week’s stress has to be burned off somehow, right?
Of course, you might have to pay the price for taking it too far. The constant throwing up, headaches, dizziness, and throbbing all over your body are the hangover tax that comes with any drinking spree where you take it too far.
But what if we told you that it doesn’t have to be that way? What if you could take steps to ensure that you remain a functional (even if barely) human being after a brutal bender?
Before we unravel this ancient tome of legendary knowledge, let’s take a look at the basics of that headache of yours.
What Causes A Hangover?
Alcohol is the great equaliser, they say. Sounds like a great way of uplifting people, but all alcohol does in the name of “equalisation” is ensure that you and all your mates sleep on the floor.
It also “equalises” a variety of essential vital body functions like dehydration level, inflammation, vasoconstriction, and digestive irritation.
Alcohol is a diuretic or a substance that promotes the production of urine. Excess consumption of alcohol leads to a large amount of urine being passed, and of course, if you don’t drink enough water to make up for it, you can get dehydrated, leading to dizziness, headaches, and disorientation.
When taken in large quantities, alcohol can also provoke an immune system response that leads to inflammation all over your body, causing you to become forgetful, demotivated, moody, and generally feeling like a sack of manure – if this isn’t already your normal, non-alcoholic state. It also causes your blood vessels to contract, increasing blood pressure.
On top of all this, alcohol is a stomach irritant that can make you throw up, dehydrating you and further ruining your day, and can even prevent proper sleep patterns, making you still feel tired even when you’ve died on the couch after your glorious night on the town.
How Can You Prevent A Hangover?
With these things in mind, let’s take a look at steps you can take to prevent a hangover.
1. Eat a heavy meal before the drinking begins
The way your body breaks down alcohol contributes directly to the kind of hangover (or lack thereof) you experience afterwards. Chow down on a burger, steak, or other meal that’s heavy in fat, carbohydrates, or protein before you take that first shot. These nutrients will help counter the negative effects of alcohol, as well as give your stomach something else to do besides get annoyed at all the alcohol. Just don’t have a soft drink or anything sugary to go with this meal!
2. Grab some electrolyte-heavy sports drinks as your chasers
A large part of your hangover comes from the dehydration associated with alcohol. Dehydration isn’t just loss of water – it’s also the loss of nutrients and electrolytes that go with the water. Replace these electrolytes with a sports drink like Gatorade, and sip it as the night descends into madness. Just don’t confuse “sports drink” with “energy drink” – the latter might contain caffeine, which will worsen the effects!
3. Skip the champagne
Champagne’s a lovely choice for some social drinking, but when your goal is to get destroyed, you don’t want the bubbly as your drinking buddy. Anecdotal evidence and small-scale studies show that champagne, specifically the carbon dioxide gas that causes the bubbles, may increase alcohol absorption. That means taking everything you drink in a night and amplifying its effects. And you thought a regular hangover was bad enough. So don’t be tempted to add champagne to your Bucks Night if you were already thinking about it!
4. Enjoy a breakfast after the fact
Your hangover might come with a drop in blood sugar, which will make it even harder to get up in the morning. Force yourself to anyway, and ensure that you have a glorious breakfast ready to eat as you awaken to restore your blood sugar levels. Try having a little takeaway from the bar that you can wolf down to get yourself back in tip-top shape.
Drink In Moderation
Of course, really knowing how to avoid a hangover best involves not drinking too much in the first place. Gags aside, while we like to believe and tell ourselves that alcohol reduces stress, in the long run, it actually puts stress on the body. It’s great to feel a little tingly and loose every once in a while, but it’s really best to drink responsibly!