With party season in full swing, many of us will find ourselves overindulging in alcohol and feeling the effects the morning after. If you have never had a hangover, (according to a study from Boston University, around 25-30% of people may be resistant to them), symptoms include a throbbing headache, excessive thirst, dizziness, nausea and feelings of exhaustion.
Hangovers usually start within a few hours of stopping drinking, however do not take this as your cue to continue drinking – a hangover is a lot less dangerous than alcohol poisoning. Alcohol dehydrates you and increases the amount of urine you produce; just four drinks will make you produce up to a litre more of urine than usual. Drinking also irritates the stomach, making it produce more acid and causing heartburn.
Contrary to popular belief, alcohol is also disruptive to sleep. While it may help you drop off initially, alcohol will make you wake up earlier than normal and may make you feel somewhat jetlagged. It will also reduce blood sugar levels leading to you feeling hungry and sick.
There is a vast array of so-called cures for hangovers, but according to a systematic review published in the British Medical Journal there is no evidence to show that any of them work.
For many of us, this research won’t stop us having a drink at Christmas – so what is the solution? These preventative tips will not get rid of your hangover, but they may help reduce symptoms…
- Drink alcohol with less congeners (byproducts of fermentation added for taste and appearance) such as gin and vodka as these are likely to give fewer hangovers than congener rich drinks like wine and whiskey.
- Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and drink plenty of water before bed. This will help keep you hydrated and may lessen the effect of your hangover.
- Eat some dry toast. This will help reverse the drop in blood sugar and may reduce feelings of nausea the following morning.
- Sleep it off. Going back to bed will give your body more chance to rest and recuperate and may make you feel less terrible upon waking.
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