A hangover is basically alcoholic karma. The harder you partied the night before, the harder you pay for it in the morning. It can be especially devastating when you still need to ‘function’ the following day. So let’s take a look at what happens when the dreaded hangover comes knocking, how you can avoid it and most importantly, how to tackle it when it’s too late.
A hangover can last from 8 to 72 hours depending on how much alcohol you downed the night before. Because alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it makes you pee a lot, your hangover symptoms are a combination of the ethanol in your blood and dehydration.
Symptoms vary from person to person, they include headaches, sluggishness and sensitivity to light and sound. Because alcohol irritates your stomach lining, it also leads to diarrhoea, nausea and a poor appetite.
Avoiding a Hangover
The most stupidly obvious solution is to not drink at all. But that’s not always avoidable or fun! So here are some ways to enjoy the night and survive your next morning.
Know your alcohol tolerance
Tolerance varies from person to person but usually correlates to body mass. It is also dependent on your drink. Basically, you want to stop when you hit the sweet spot of ‘fuzzy high’ before you slip into ‘loss of judgement high’. While a self-awareness of your alcohol tolerance comes only after a period of trial and error, you can try balancing on one leg as a simple check-in. If you’re not able to balance on one leg for more than 30 seconds, it’s a good time to slow down on the drinks.
Eating Before Drinking
Treat yourself to a carbohydrate-rich meal like noodles or rice before drinking. This can slow your body’s ability to absorb alcohol and reduce your peak blood-alcohol concentration by as much as a third.
Drink water and juice between Drinks
Chances are that you’ll be making quite a few runs to the toilet, so rehydrate yourself between drinks. Opt for juice over water if you can as the fructose can increase your body’s ability to break down alcohol. However, stay away from fizzy drinks as it’ll speed up alcohol absorption in your body!
Choose Clear Liquor (If you’re drinking hard liquor)
Darker liquor like bourbon and tequila have a chemical compound called congeners that might amplify the effects of your hangover.
Rehydrate Before Sleeping
The best time and your last chance to stave away your hangover is right before you sleep. Down a glass of orange juice or water and keep your fingers crossed.
Easing a Hangover
It’s too late! The ethanol in your blood is back with a vengeance. Here are some things you can do ease the symptoms and tide the hangover out:
Drink Lots of Water
The night before has probably dehydrated your body quite a fair bit. Now it’s time to get some water back in your system.
Eat Something Simple
You’ll want to avoid anything too rich or difficult to digest. Your stomach is still sore from all the abuse, so go for something bland and simple. Soup or toast are both great options for the hungover morning. Banana and juice are also good options to replenish the lost potassium and electrolytes from your excessive peeing the night before.
Light Exercise Outdoors
When you feel better, it’s good to take a stroll or light jog outdoors. Avoid anything too intense or rigorous as your body is still trying to rehydrate.
Ginger has been suggested to be helpful when dealing with nausea. So if your head is still swirling, a warm cup of ginger tea might just do the trick.
Painkillers and Antacid (only if necessary)
If your headache is unbearable or if your stomach is terribly upset, you can consider popping pills as well. However, this method is not recommended as some of them might cause liver damage in the long run.
A hangover is never fun. So before you go on a drunken rampage next time, spare a thought for next-morning you and stay classy.