We’ve all been there. On a night worth celebrating, you just can’t help have that extra glass of prosecco or a shot of whiskey to enjoy and get those feet moving on the dancefloor! While there are no scientific cures for a hangover, here’s some advice on how you can avoid those post-party blues and avoid the inevitable headache, which usually creeps in the next day.
How to prevent a hangover
Eating is not cheating! Drinking on an empty stomach is a sure-in to waking up with a headache, or worse… When you’re out on the sauce and celebrating, the best foundation for a great party is, of course, a good meal!Fill up on foods which will line the stomach well, such as grains and pasta. During the evening, make the most of the tasty canapes being served around the bar and social areas of an event.Eating is definitely NOT cheating in this case – you’ve got to party like a pro! Eating a good amount of food before drinking alcohol will help soak up the liquid before it hits your bloodstream too fast, meaning you can enjoy the night steadily as to feeling sick just as the night is kicking off.
Drink alcohol you know your body can cope with. Dark coloured drinks contain natural chemicals called congeners, which are by-products that form during the fermentation process. Congeners can irritate the blood vessels and tissue in the brain – a simple cocktail to set you up for a killer hangover. Types of dark coloured alcoholic drinks include whisky, tequila and cognac, so take it steady with these kinds of spirits.
Avoid fizzy drinks. Drinking fizzy drinks can actually help speed up the absorption of alcohol, so stick to a drink which isn’t carbonated. A useful tip is to alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks throughout the night to help keep your body hydrated. Types of non-fizzy alcoholic drinks include spirits with juice mixers, ale, wine (excluding prosecco), drinking spirits neat over ice, and some cocktails.
Drink a pint of water before you go to bed and take a couple of painkillers to avoid a looming hangover headache in the morning. The best painkillers to take if you have drunk a small amount of alcohol are ibuprofen and paracetamol.
Sounds obvious, but naturally, the best way to avoid a hangover is by drinking less (who’d have guessed!), or to stop drinking during the night. Sadly, it’s hard to argue against science: the severity of your hangover is based entirely on the volume of your alcohol consumption. Body weight and the type of drink can influence your blood alcohol levels, so be mindful of the ratio you intake compared to the level your body is physically able to cope with.
Symptoms of a hangover
You may (or not) be familiar with the symptoms of a hangover. Often a sign of a good time, the following symptoms are no stranger to those who have enjoyed a few beverages the night before:
So, what helps a hangover?
Food glorious food! Drinking large amounts of alcohol can result in low blood sugar, which is often associated with a hangover. Low blood sugar can make you feel nauseous, weak, and tired (let alone feeling hangry!), so fuel up on a nutritious breakfast to replace the minerals and nutrients your body may have lost while digesting all the booze.
Rehydrate yourself – recharge those electrolytes. Everyone gets to that point in the night when they’ve ‘broken the seal’. That’s because alcohol is a diuretic, which means the more you drink, you will be popping to the loo more often to release fluids including those all-important electrolytes which help our body function. Think Lucozade or dioralyte (really!): oral rehydration solutions and sports drinks high in sugar are a good cure drink to help you replace the water and electrolytes you’ve lost throughout the night. Sadly, scientifically it’s best to avoid drinking too much caffeine as this is also dehydrating.
Take a nap. Catching up on sleep is one way to improve a hangover, and sometimes is the only way for some – Alcohol disturbs your sleep. Studies have shown that often people who have enjoyed a few drinks wake up in the night, wide awake and unable to fall back into a deep slumber. That nightcap might seem like less than a good idea now! Use the day after the party to catch up on the sleep you’ve lost and get an early night to catch up on some z’s.
Hair of the dog. Just. Don’t. Do. It. Well, only if you must (you may have another party to attend!).The science behind hair of the dog is, when you drink, methanol in the body is converted into a compound which causes the symptoms of a hangover. However, by continuing drinking alcohol (ethanol) this can prevent the conversion process and therefore reduces the side effects of drinking.In essence, hair of the dog may seem effective, but it may delay the side effects of a hangover, and you’ll potentially feel worse and more fatigued the following day. No one wants a two-day hangover!
Hangover survival kit
If that handover has got to the stage of unbearable, use our hangover survival kit to help you cure a hangover and feel more refreshed after a night on the town.
Eat for a quick hangover cure – your blood sugar may be low, so replenishing your system with good food should wean off those hangover symptoms