There are so many myths about alcohol and how to avoid a hangover that it would be very difficult to list them all, but let’s try a few that most will have heard, some will be convinced of and others will quite rightly dismiss!
Have a nightcap before sleep:
It is thought by many that after drinking over their normal limit a nightcap will help them get to sleep quickly and offers a good night’s sleep.
Wrong! This approach may help you doze off more quickly but additional alcohol will only disturb and shorten that much needed REM cycle of sleep. The result is that many wake up far sooner than wanted.
Waking in the early hours can cause unease and the severity of the hangover can also make it very difficult to get back to sleep again.
Hair of the dog:
This term is short for the colloquial English saying, “Hair of the dog that bit you” and means the best cure for something that ails you is to have some more of it.
Wrong! All this will do is postpone the hangover. The height of a hangover is when blood-alcohol levels hit zero, so by continuing to ‘top-up’ is just delaying the inevitable.
Strong coffee will do the trick:
Sorry, wrong again! Excess caffeine can work to narrow a person’s blood vessels and the result is quite possibly an even worse hangover.
The best beverages to consume after a night on the tiles are water and high-energy sports drinks. These will help replace lost electrolytes and counter dehydration which is a major cause of a hangover.
Many people believe that taking OTC painkillers before going to bed will alleviate the headache and generally ‘rough’ feeling when they awake after a night on the booze.
Wrong! These readily available medicines peak in around 4 hours, so by the time you wake up they will be of no help. Also, do not take Tylenol (Acetaminophen) after a night of drinking. This combination could do more harm than good to your liver.
If you do feel the need to take such painkillers then the best time to do so is immediately upon waking.
What can help reduce the effects:
We all know and understand that a hangover is not something to look forward to, yet this self-inflicted hurt is encountered all too regularly.
Here are a couple of things you can do to reduce those feelings:
- Eat beforehand: Have a good, solid meal before commencing a drinking session and this should be loaded with fats. Steak is a good example. Any food will slow down the rate at which your body absorbs alcohol, but fatty foods do it best.
- Water: As mentioned the main cause of a hangover is dehydration so it is vital you take ample amounts of water on board. This should not only be before bed, but during your drinking session. Try and have a glass of water between each alcoholic drink.
The ultimate solution to avoid a hangover:
Apart from limiting the amount you drink the only real solution is time!
Give your body time to recover and your hangover will disappear, and while feeling sorry for yourself during recovery please make a promise that you won’t hit the bottle so hard next time!