Party-time means hangovers are here!
Christmas is nearly here and with the party season in full swing, it’s odds-on that you won’t avoid a hangover. Here are a few tips to try and minimise the possibility!
Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Before you go out, have a meal that includes carbohydrates (such as pasta or rice) or fats. The food will help slow down the body’s absorption of alcohol.
Don’t drink dark-coloured drinks if you’ve found that you’re sensitive to them. They contain natural chemicals called congeners (impurities), which irritate blood vessels and tissue in the brain and can make a hangover worse.
Drink water or non-fizzy soft drinks in between each alcoholic drink. Carbonated (fizzy) drinks speed up the absorption of alcohol into your system.
Drink a pint or so of water before you go to sleep. Keep a glass of water by the bed to sip if you wake up during the night.
The morning after
If you wake up the next morning feeling terrible, you probably didn’t follow this advice. Although there are no real cures for hangovers, there are ways to ease the symptoms.
Treatment involves rehy-drating the body so it can deal with the painful symptoms (though the best time to rehydrate is before going to sleep).
Over-the-counter painkillers can help with headaches and muscle cramps. Paracetamol-based remedies are usually preferable, as aspirin may further irritate the stomach and increase nausea and sickness.
Sugary foods may help you feel less trembly. In some cases, an antacid may be needed to settle your stomach first.
Bouillon soup, a thin vegetable-based broth, is a good source of vitamins and minerals, which can top-up depleted resources. Its main advantage is that it’s easy for a fragile stomach to digest.
You can replace lost fluids by drinking bland liquids that are easy on the digestive system, such as water, soda water and isotonic drinks (available in most shops).
“Hair of the dog” (drinking more alcohol) does not help. Drinking in the morning is a risky habit and you may simply be delaying the appearance of symptoms until the alcohol wears off again.
If you’ve had a heavy drinking session, hangover or not, doctors advise that you wait 48 hours before drinking any more alcohol, in order to give your body tissues time to recover. Sometimes, of course, a hangover makes that advice easier to follow.