How to prevent hangovers
It’s New Year’s Eve tomorrow, or if you’re in Scotland Hogmanay, which of course means a late night and far too much bubbly (or whisky)!
Every year I adore dressing up to visit friends or host a party, bringing in the bells, or watching the fireworks, and having maybe one too many glasses of wine, or one tequila shot too many! Which inevitably means that dreaded new year hangover, and who on shiny blue ball of a planet actually enjoys a hangover?
I absolutely loathe hangovers and the dry mouth, sore stomach, and general grogginess they bring.
Too much alcohol means a sleepless night, dehydration, nausea, anxiety over what we may or may not have done whilst inebriated and all in all an absolutely terrible following day! And given it’s the new year – who wants to start 2018 with a horrible day, let alone a hangover?
Over the years, I have learned a fair few tricks for keeping those pesky hangovers at bay and trust me when I say I will be following these tips and tricks tonight and tomorrow to ensure I bring in the new year as the best me possible – despite how much wine (or whisky) I have tomorrow night.
Remember, the following is what works for me, and ensures I wake up each post-drinking morning hangover free, and will more likely than not also help you on your journey to responsible drinking and a hangover-free morning. Everyone metabolises alcohol differently, and it also depends on what you drink and eat throughout the night. Always drink responsibly, and remember there is no one in this world more important to you, than you.
Eat Before You Drink!
Forget carbs – there is no bread or pasta heavy foods in your pre-drink meal. You want fat or protein heavy food! I don’t know why this works, but it does. I guess maybe focussing on low-glycaemic foods helps in metabolising alcohol? I’m not a dietician, I can’t be sure why it works, all I know is that it does work. If you want to get drunk fast – eat pasta or toast. If you want to drink, have fun, and not go over the edge and feel sick? Stick to foods that are high in protein and fats, such as a meat pizza, steak bake, or curry.
Skip the Sweet Drinks
Do you drink 8 glasses of cola in a night? No? Exactly. But, you will have 8 Bourbon and Cola right? Yeah… Our bodies aren’t used to that much sugar in such a short period of time and it plays all kinds of games with us. I truly believe most hangovers are due to the sheer amount of sugar we consume in the name of getting drunk rather than how much alcohol we’ve had – sweet wines, mixers such as lemonade and cola, and ciders are the main culprits of the morning after death wish. I tend to stick to dry wines, or vodka and soda to reduce the amount of sugar I am consuming. Plus, a vodka soda or dry white wine have fewer calories!
Know when to stop and have a glass of water
The very second you can feel yourself slipping into drunkenness you need to stop, take a breath of air, and a very large glass of water. The second you can say to yourself “yes, I am drunk” is the second you have had enough to drink, as anything after this point will only get messy. So, may as well drink a nice tall glass of water (or cup of tea) at this point to help maintain that nice buzz we all want. I mean, a buzz is nice, but being blind drunk is just not fun and leads to more anxiety than fun. After all, who wants to check their phones the next morning to see photos they don’t remember taking? Those tweets you tweeted at 1am have likely already been screenshot. Your ex will wake up at any moment to see those texts… We’ve all been there and not one of us has enjoyed the aftermath or a messy night.
Order singles, not doubles
Sure, maybe order a double for the first drink, maybe two, but that’s a standard you can’t and shouldn’t maintain through the night. Get your buzz, maintain it, don’t over do it. If you need to blink to focus, if you need to hold onto the wall in order to walk, you need to skip those doubles, have that water, and go back to the singles if you feel (not think!) you can handle it.
Eat more food
If you’ve been drinking for a few hours and are starting to feel a little bit off, don’t be scared to eat some more protein rich foods. As before – not sure why this works, but hey there’s a reason the munchy box or late night kebab is so popular! Don’t be ashamed to get your greasy food on – if you’re with people who you’re too embarrassed to eat greasy food around, you are around the wrong people.
Drink as much water as alcohol before bed
Did you drink a whole bottle of wine to yourself? That’s 750ml of water you should drink before bed. Two bottles? Aim for 1L of water, and another litre by the bed to sip throughout the night. Your best bet for reducing a hangover is ensuring you are hydrated before bed, and remain hydrated throughout the night. Turn off the heating, snuggle into the duvet if you’re a bit cold, because right now you need to maintain what hydration you have, whilst replenishing what you lost throughout the night. If you drink at least 1:1 alcohol to water throughout the night, you should be waking up feeling better rather than worse – although maybe a little tired.
If you’re worried you’ll wee your bed throughout the night after so much water – that’s not how the bladder works. Stop making excuses and have a glass of water.
Don’t forget your multis in the morning!
It doesn’t matter if you’re hungover or not, if you have been drinking your body is likely missing a vitamin or two so grab some Berocca to give you back that b-b-bounce! I tend to take a multi-vitamin, soluble gelatin, and some antioxidants the morning after to ensure all pistons are firing on full and I can be not only human, but a responsible adult once more.
Eat – again and sensibly…
Once upon a time in Sydney I had an amazing night out with girlfriends, one of whom drank far too much. The next morning she had pasta for breakfast, and thus had a horrible hangover the rest of the day. Carbs do not cure a hangover – protein and fats do. Again, don’t ask why, just do what works for you and that bacon sandwich, bap or bun? That will work for you.
Now, this advice regarding food isn’t an excuse, nor permission, to over eat or binge. Don’t be silly and make sure you’re still counting your calories, but ensure the calories your eating are the right type of foods to prevent alcohol related tummy woes.
Although these tips and tricks may not be endorsed by science or medicine, although they may be and I am just too lazy to do the research required to back up my opinions, they are what works for me, and have worked for me since I was 18 and had my first big night out.
More importantly though than simply curing or preventing a hangover, is responsible drinking and looking after yourself and your friends. Alcohol impairs your judgement, so just be careful of the decisions you and your friends make under the influence. Be careful tonight!
(now, who doesn’t love some tacky myspace-esque glitter text!)
xx Bry Jaimea