Drinking happens. Sometimes it happens against your best judgment and what you end up with is a painful, horrible, awful hangover. Here are some effective tips to avoid and treat a hangover.
Drinking is like a social lubricant, isn’t it? It can really get a party going, get the most straitlaced among us to let down their hair and make for some great (if hazy) memories of fun times! Many of us enjoy a drink but sometimes overdo it. Some of us get carried away in company…because sometimes you have to drink yourself silly just to keep up with the boys. Then there are those times when the office party had free booze…so you woke up feeling like death warmed over! If you’re familiar with that gruesome feeling the morning after the night before, when you’re staring out at the world bleary eyed, with your head pounding, wishing you could quietly die, this should help:
- Prepare in advance: Big party planned? Know you are likely to get sloshed and suffer the consequences? Prepare in advance. Prevention is way better than cure when it comes to hangovers. Eat something greasy before you head to the party. If there is nothing else available, swallow a pat of butter. This lines your stomach and reduces the amount of alcohol absorbed by the body, reducing your intoxication levels.
- Nurse your drink: Drink slowly. You don’t have to gulp it all down quickly. So what if your boss dares you to do it; flatter him/her by telling them that they can hold their drink better, that you cannot match their ability. Take smaller drinks and water them down suitably to make them less potent and last longer.
- Drink smart: Remember not to mix your drinks. Keep having snacks along with your drinks and drink plenty of water as well, so that the alcohol will have a less powerful impact on you. Know yourself and know the sort of effect different drinks have on you. Some of us find that dark rum suits us best, while tequila is our nemesis. So find out what suits your system, what is least and most likely to give you a hangover the next day. And remember to pay attention to the liqueurs served after the meal. Many of these have quite high alcohol contents and some may be brandy-based, others may be whiskey-based and so on. Make sure you know exactly what and how much you’re gulping down.
- Dance: If you can drink you can dance too, can’t you? Drinking will probably make you more inclined to hit the floor anyway. Dancing will make you sweat and this will help the alcohol metabolize quicker in the body, clearing it from your bloodstream faster than it would otherwise. So you will literally be sweating out the alcohol by dancing. This helps lower your chances of getting hungover or at least moderates the severity of your hangover.
- Drink, drink, drink: Water that is! After all that drinking, you may well awaken in the middle of the night with a raging thirst. This is because alcohol dehydrates you. Drink plenty of water. Drink water as soon as you wake up and keep drinking water at regular intervals. This will quicken the process of flushing toxins from your system.
- Eat breakfast: This will also help in the process of metabolizing the toxins in your system and replenish your dehydrated system. Experts (and the experienced) recommend that breakfast should be something easy to digest such as toast, crackers or dry cereal. Eat things that will settle your stomach and not bring on the horrible nausea.
- Chew on ginger: Ginger has long been known as an antidote to nausea. Even pregnant women with morning sickness swear by this home remedy. If regular ginger is not to your taste, opt for candied ginger which is sweet and palatable and will help you keep it all down.
- The honey and lime remedy: This is another time-tested remedy that many hungover people recommend. Water with a spoonful of honey and some lemon is great for the system. Lemon settles the stomach and honey helps to metabolize the alcohol in your blood stream.
- Make it fruitful: Some people swear by fruits such as apples and bananas to make you feel better the morning after the night before. Eat an apple on an empty stomach or make yourself a banana milkshake sweetened with honey. A Virgin Mary (which is just fancy speak for what is basically tomato juice) is also recommend to rehydrate the body and replenish vitamins and minerals in the body.
- Hair of the dog (not!): You know what some people say, avoid a hangover, stay drunk. Well they are wrong. The one thing that will not help you get over your hangover is yet another drink! So by no means should you start drinking again the next morning; it will not
- Ice compression: When it feels like someone is beating a deafening drum inside your head, an ice compress will feel heavenly. Avoid bright lights and loud sounds and you should feel OK. Avoid strong sensory inputs for a while; tide it over until you are not hypersensitive to sharp lights and loud sounds.
- Sleep it off: You’re lucky if your hangover happens to coincide with a Sunday or a day when you don’t have a million things to do. One reason why you have a hangover in the first place is probably because you had too little sleep the previous night. So one of the best ways to beat a hangover is to go back to sleep until your system has had a chance to clear the alcohol out and until you are well rested and have had time to recuperate.
- Exercise: Remember we said dance? Well exercise for the same reason: to help the alcohol metabolize and leave your system faster. So basically sweat it out and then drink a whole lot of water again. You should soon feel better.
- Pain medication: When you’ve tried everything and nothing made you feel better, it may be time to pop a pill or two. Be careful about what you take though. Stick to common over-the-counter pain relievers such as Disprin, Saridon or Combiflam (in that order) in the recommended dosage. Don’t overdo it. Also remember, Combiflam and Saridon could cause nausea on an empty stomach so eat something light before popping those pills.
If you’re reading this with your head pounding and your eyes seeing double, you now know how to avoid a god-awful hangover the next time around. How to head it off at the pass, so to speak!