Bounce back like a legend.
I love a good end of year gathering. You can let go around your work colleagues and get up to some serious hilarity-filled escapades, hopefully side-stepping an office affair.
However, the eventual hangover from a little too much office play isn’t quite so hilarious. So, to help you at the very least lessen the unfortunate state of post-party pain, we spoke to dietitian and nutritionist Dr. Gabrielle Maston of Changing Shape about 13 easy hacks you can use to ward off the dreaded post-party hangover…
1. Don’t have another drink in the morning
Contrary to popular belief, a ‘hair of the dog’ is definitely not a good idea the next day, says Maston.
“Generally speaking, a hangover is partly due to dehydration, lack of sleep and a dropping blood alcohol levels. Having another alcoholic drink the following morning will just continue to dehydrate you and lengthen the hangover.”
2. Don’t smoke and drink
According to a study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs of 113 college students who recorded their alcohol intake, smoking habits, and hangover symptoms every day for eight weeks, researchers found those who smoked while drinking were at higher risk of a hangover and suffered worse symptoms. So put out that cigarette.
3. Ditch the greasy breakfast
Having a greasy breakfast the morning after a big night out can actually exacerbate your hangover, rather than cure it.
“During a hangover your body is trying to eliminate the alcohol toxin from the body. Greasy food will slow down this process,” explains Maston.
“The only reason why people feel better after eating greasy food is psychosomatic, that is, because it’s comforting. Food that you love and remember tastes good has the potential to release dopamine in the brain. Dopamine relaxes and makes you feel better briefly. It delays the hangover, but doesn’t fix it.”
4. Make sure you sleep
Sleep deprivation won’t cause a hangover, but it can make it worse, as alcohol tends to disrupt the second half of your sleep cycle. Although it’s hard to control whether or not you stay asleep through this period, wearing a sleeping mask and ear plugs will cut out environmental distractions, and hopefully give you a few more hours shut eye.
5. Pop an Alka-Seltzer
This fizzy drink has been around for 84 years, and is not completely ineffective in curing hangovers. In 2001, the company even introduced a Morning Relief formula, designed specifically to relieve the symptoms of a night on the drink.
All varients of the formula contain sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), which helps settle a queasy belly by neutralizing stomach acid, as well as aspirin to cut your hangover headache in half.
6. Drink lots of water
It goes without saying, but the more water you guzzle before you get into bed after your Christmas bash, and continue to drink the next day, the better off you’ll be. Not only can water ease a headache or upset stomach, it’ll also help banish the dreaded post-alcohol face bloat.
“Drinking water is one of the better choices when trying to cure a hang over,” states Maston.
“Water along with food will help to rehydrate the body and the brain. This will help keep your kidneys functioning well by aiding to flush out metabolized toxins from the alcohol itself.”
7. Have some eggs for breakfast
Swap your greasy breakfast for some nice, fresh, and – emphasis on – plain eggs. Eggs are an excellent source of cysteine, a chemical that helps break down the headache producing toxins made when your body digests alcohol. Try poached eggs, or a dry omelet, as they’re least likely to make you nauseous.
8. Guzzle some Gatorade
Because they’re rich in the electrolytes alcohol tends to deplete your body of, sports drinks are excellent for rehydration, but should be consumed in moderation, as they contain a lot of sugar, which you really don’t need in your hungover state.
9. Avoid herbal teas
When researchers at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou conducted a study on the effects of 57 different drinks after consuming alcohol, they discovered herbal teas make your body process alcohol slower. This results in an extra long hangover, so pass on the peppermint tea.
10. Keep washing your hands
When you drink, alcohol changes how your immune system works. This means if you’re exposed to something like the flu, your defenses are down and you’re more likely to catch it. And there’s nothing that will make a hangover worse than flu symptoms like a headache, chills, and muscle cramps, so keep germs away during the night by ensuring you wash your hands regularly and thoroughly and avoiding too many up-close-and-personal convos with the boss.
11. Have a big meal before you drink
Although having a greasy breakfast won’t fix your hangover, having a greasy dinner before you get on the drink might lessen the effects.
“Having a greasy meal before you start drinking will help to slow the absorption of alcohol and prevent you from becoming drunk so quickly,” explains Maston.
So order a pizza instead of a salad and chow down guilt free.
12. Avoid hangover pills
Although they may seem like a convenient, safe solution, a 2005 review article in the journal BMJ identified “no compelling evidence” to support the use of hangover tablets in eight peer-reviewed, placebo-controlled studies of hangover remedies. So stick to natural cures like water, sleep, and time. Don’t be popping pills in a society where you can take a drug for everything from a toothache to sexual impotence.
13. Steer clear of caffeine
Unfortunately, the popular myth of coffee being the cure-all for every hangover, is just that; a myth.
“Coffee is a stimulant and a dehydrator. It may act as a pick-me-up for two hours after drinking your latte, but will soon compound hangover symptoms,” says Maston.
“You will not only be dealing with the dehydrating effects of the previous night’s alcohol, you will also gain a headache coming down off your coffee withdrawal as it wears off.”
Comment: Do you have any tried and tested homemade hangover remedies that work?