December means party season for many as we celebrate Christmas and New Year, and though the festivities bring fun, bubbly and late nights, it also often comes with a hangover the next day. We know the pain. But don’t worry as we have some tips on helping cure your hangover so you can enjoy each weekend; including January 1st.
If you’re looking to get rid of your hangover, or need to stay hydrated this party season, then fear not, we’ve pulled together some information about what a hangover actually is, how long it lasts and how to get rid of it.
What is a Hangover?
A hangover is the term used to describe the unpleasant physiological and psychological effects of drinking too much alcohol. Scientifically, a hangover is often caused by dehydration, alcohol causing an inflammatory response from your immune system, delays in stomach emptying, low blood sugar, and tiredness. Understand what causes dehydration and how to help it with our blog.
Usually, the more you drink, the more likely you are to get a hangover the next day and the worse it’ll be.
- Fatigue and weakness
- Dehydration and dry mouth
- Muscle pains
- Nausea and vomiting
- Poor, or lessened sleep
- Increased sensitivity to light or sound
- Disruption to your mood, e.g., heightened anxiety, irritability
- Inability to concentrate
- Breathing that’s slow (less than eight breaths a minute)
- Cold to the touch (hypothermia)
- Unconscious, or having trouble staying conscious
- Severe vomiting
- Skin that’s pale or blue
Alcoholic drinks that are high in congeners, which is an ingredient used in many drinks that gives them their dark colour, can contribute to hangovers. For example, bourbon, whiskey and red wine are more likely to give you a hangover than clear or pale coloured alcohol, but all alcohol can still cause a hangover.
Anyone who is drinking alcohol is at risk of a hangover, but risk factors such as drinking on an empty stomach, using drugs or not getting enough sleep after heavy drinking.
How Long Does a Hangover Last?
Most hangovers do go away on their own 24 hours after drinking, though there are steps, that can help minimise the symptoms of a hangover and help get rid of it quicker.
However, the length and severity of a hangover can vary from person to person.
How to Get Rid of Hangover
The Best Way is Prevention
There are ways of preventing a hangover to help avoid the discomfort before it’s too late. These include:
- Eating before and while drinking: your body absorbs alcohol quickly if your stomach is empty, so you can help prevent this by eating before and while you’re drinking.
- Drink less congener-heavy drinks: alcoholic drinks with less congeners, such as pale beers, white wine and clear spirits, are less likely to cause hangovers, but remember drinking LOTS of these drinks can still cause a hangover.
- Have some water between drinks: an age old trick is having water between each alcoholic drink to help stay hydrated.
- Know your limits, and drink in moderation: you’ll probably know by now how much alcohol causes you to have a hangover, so use that as a limit to help prevent the hangover. Don’t feel pressured to drink. Similarly, avoid doing rounds with your friends, as this means you can lose track of how much you’re drinking.
- Drink slowly: again, don’t feel pressured to drink quickly as this will lead to you consuming more alcohol while you’re out and getting drunk quickly; which will cause a hangover.
- Drink plenty of water before you go to sleep: this will help your body stay hydrated while you sleep and prevent the hangover when you wake up.
Clinical neuroscientist and nutritionist, Dr. Elisabeth Philipps, who works with us here at fourfive explains that proper hydration is the key to swift recovery:
“Even 1-4% dehydration can lead to reduced brain neuronal activity, impared cognitive function, low mood and fatigue so staying hydrated should be top of your list of priorities when drinking during the festive season. I recommend trying to match every alcoholic drink with a glass of water to keep hydration levels topped up.
For an extra boost the morning after a big night, try using hydration tablets to help replace electrolytes lost through drinking. These tablets include water-soluble vitamins to help keep your energy levels up and aid with your hangover recovery.”
Curing the hangover once you have it
Firstly, the best way to cure a hangover is by drinking no, or little to no, alcohol.
So, you either skipped the tips above, or still managed to get the hangover, so what do you do? Try these tips:
- Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated.
- Try a rehydration tablet or sachet such as our Hydrate tablets, these contain minerals and salts, such as electrolytes, that you lose when your body is dehydrated.
- Eat something high in carbs as these can help stabilise your blood sugars and settle your upset stomach.
- If necessary, take pain relief, aspirin or ibuprofen are recommended. Always follow the dosage instructions on the packaging.
- Get some more sleep, as lack of sleep can worsen the symptoms, it’s often better to go back to bed and try to catch some more Zzzs.
- Some medical studies have shown that vitamins or supplements may help with hangovers, these include those that your body requires to stay healthy such as vitamin B and C.
Hopefully our tips to help a hangover are of use to you, whether you’re suffering right now, or preparing for a night out. Remember, enjoy the party season, embrace the festivities and stay safe!
Please drink responsibly and if you’re worried about how much alcohol you or someone you know has consumed, or your hangover isn’t clearing, then seek medical help.