The joys of the holidays – cookies, parties, presents, music, friends, loved ones, and lots of bubbly. Perhaps too much bubbly. Most people have been there – the throbbing pain of a headache and a mouth that tastes like cotton after a night of too much imbibing. It’s bad enough on any normal day, but throw in the sights, sounds, smells and obligations of holiday dinner and you have more than a hangover – you have a nightmare. Fortunately, there are some very simple, effective and scientifically proven ways to avoid, or at least to keep to a minimum, those excruciating hangovers that most live in dread of, according to refinery29.
You may be salivating as you anticipate a bottle of pinot grigio, but not so fast. As with most things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Obviously, we know that avoiding alcohol altogether will most certainly avoid a holiday hangover, but if you didn’t want to drink a little wine – or more – you probably wouldn’t bother reading this article. So without further ado, let’s get down to the ways to soothe your intoxication situation.
Of course, let’s begin with a disclaimer. If you’re frequently hungover, it’s likely the case that you’re frequently drunk. If that is true, only you can assess if it has become a problem – does it worry you, interfere with your work or relationships, put you in debt or cause you to participate in other careless things? If so, this is likely not the article you need – it’s probably time to visit your physician for a referral about potential problem drinking. Please don’t ever drink and drive. If, however, you don’t drink much, you’re likely more concerned about hangovers, how to avoid them, and how to treat them.
The bad news is, nobody has any idea exactly what causes hangovers – is it dehydration? Chemical breakdown of alcohol in the liver? Some type of allergic reaction? The answer is not easy, but we do know a few things about the chemical composition of alcohol, and these are good things to keep in mind. First, alcohol is a diuretic – which means it literally causes your kidneys to filter water from your tissues at an accelerated rate, and that’s the reason you wind up in the bathroom so much while drinking and also likely why you end up with a mouth that tastes like yesterday’s dinner and a ball of dirty cotton. You’re dehydrated.
The really bad news is – there is no cure for hangovers, really. If you get one, life is just less than pleasant for a while. However, there are real things you can do to help your situation, in case you didn’t bother to avoid it.
The first answer is, of course, water! Water while you are drinking, by the way. For each glass or can or shot you toss back, also toss back the same amount of water. This helps in several ways – it keeps you better hydrated, and it may actually slow down your speed of alcohol consumption. After you’re done drinking, also drink a couple glasses of water. Coffee is not an alternative, by the way. It’s actually a diuretic as well, so avoid until the next morning, when the caffeine may quell your aching head. But go easy on the coffee the next morning as well – both alcohol and coffee can be gastric irritants, which may leave you queasy or worse.
If, despite your best water hydration tactics, you end of with a hangover, there are some things that work for some people. Your results may vary drastically, so keep that in mind.
There are people who swear by Gatorade, coconut water, and coffee (not mixed together). Regardless, you’ll want to eat something – an empty stomach plus hangover does not bode well. Some people swear by greasy food (although the scientific verdict is out on that) while others swear by simple carbs like toast or a bagel (proven to be scientifically better for gastritis.)
Go easy on the Tylenol, as it is hard on the liver, and you recently went there. Some people swear by a nap, or by moderate exercise to sweat the possible byproducts and toxins of alcohol out. While most people spend the day swearing they will never touch alcohol again, they know it is prudent to remember what did and didn’t work – next year’s holiday party is likely already on the calendar.
Readers, what hangover helpers work for you?
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