It’s Sunday morning and you’re re-evaluating your life choices. You think back to last night. You had an amazing time, you danced a lot, posed for photos and at one point in the night burst out into song. It was a great time, but the resulting hangover isn’t quite worth it. You feel sick, your head is pounding and all you really want is for the ground to swallow you up. It feels likes you drank the contents of the entire bar last night.
Sprawled across the couch, you make a promise to yourself that you will never drink again. You may also be bargaining with God saying that you will not drink as much if He promises to see you through the hangover. You know your limit now and you won’t cross it again.
The bad news is that it’s inevitable that this experience will happen again, unless you quit drinking altogether. The good news is there are ways to ease the pain, and help you feel a little better about yourself.
What really happens when you have a hangover?
Like any other organic compound, the body takes time to break down alcohol.
During this period, the nauseated feeling that you experience is generally your body’s way of telling you that something is seriously wrong. Alcohol is a diuretic, which essentially means that it makes you pee a lot more as your kidneys are unable to hold onto the water and thus water is lost far quicker. This causes severe dehydration which explains the headaches and pounding head symptoms.
In addition to this, the body is unable to absorb nutrients because alcohol decreases the secretion of the enzymes needed to break them down. Even though alcohol provides more calories than proteins and carbohydrates, none of the nutrients can be absorbed and so the body does not get what it needs. That’s why you look so terrible when you’re hung over, and probably feel it too.
But don’t stress, we’ve got you covered! Below are a few tips to aid your body in the recovery stage of the hangover.
What to do:
- Exercise – this basically follows the whole ‘sweat it out’ theory. After a night out, all that alcohol you consumed is circulating in your bloodstream. By exercising you’re increasing your heart rate and getting your body working. The alcohol can then be broken down quicker. However, don’t forget to keep hydrated, because if you are not keeping your body hydrated, hitting the gym may worsen your symptoms.
- Drink lots of water – you probably didn’t drink any water on your night out and that’s why you landed in this horrible situation in the first place. But it’s not all your fault; alcohol causes you to lose about 1/2 of the water already in your body water, so no matter what it will still make you severely dehydrated. Drinking lots of water throughout the hangover period will help speed up the recovery stage and will help with the splitting headaches and dry mouth.
- Drink electrolytes – although a lot of people recommend drinking isotonic drinks like Powerade or Lucozade, we suggest trying out H2Pro Hydrate tablets. H2Pro Hydrate tablets contain almost no calories so they are already much better for you than any sports drinks, which are pumped with sugar and God knows what other chemicals. H2Pro Hydrate tablets will re-hydrate the body and assist in electrolyte replacement as they are designed to provide your body with only what it needs.
- Eat food and lots of it – eggs are supposed to be a miracle hangover cure food because they contain the vitamin B12 which helps with the healthy regulation of the nervous system. Eating mild carbohydrates such as toast or crackers may also help to soak up some of the alcohol and give you a boost.
- Painkillers – alcohol and painkillers should definitely not be mixed! Avoid taking painkillers within 12-14 hours of your last drink because you must give the alcohol a chance to leave the digestive system. Painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol may be taken to minimise headaches and cramps after this period. However, if you are a frequent drinker try to avoid taking medication every time as this may cause even more detrimental effects to your liver and stomach lining. Some medications may also react with the alcohol, which could be more damaging to you.
- Sleep – you probably want to do this anyway, why lie you probably just want to die at this point, but sleeping it off will actually help as it allows your body to metabolize the alcohol quicker and make you feel better.
What not to do:
- Don’t drink more alcohol – as people commonly say the ‘hair of the dog’ is the best cure to the hangover. It isnot. Hair of the dog means drinking more alcohol. You may be tempted to pop a cold one, but all it will really do is increase the alcohol level in the body and simply numb and prolong the existing hangover. It also increases your dependence on alcohol and lowers your tolerance.
- Don’t drink coffee – even though coffee is the go-to for most people, it is in fact not the best remedy or even a remedy at all. Coffee is a diuretic, meaning it causes your kidneys to expel even more water, dehydrating you further, which doesn’t help matters at all. It will actually make your headache far worse. On top of the hangover headache, once the initial sugar rush from the coffee dies out you’ll be left with a caffeine withdrawal headache too. So maybe it’s better to resist it altogether to make the recover time easier and quicker.
- Don’t eat greasy food – even though greasy food sounds super appetising when you’re drunk and goes down better than anything else, it is in fact not the best idea. You are better off sticking to nuts, seeds, lean meats or mild carbohydrates. Try some high protein, gluten-free muffins with no artificial sweeteners; they will make you feel a lot better and are much healthier for you.