Hopefully the night before was a good one because if you are paying for it with a pounding head, dry mouth and queasy stomach, then it had better have been worth this pain! Unfortunately there’s no way to go back and stop yourself from having that one last pint or one last shooter, but there are a variety of ways that you can ease the pain and shorten the lifespan of your hangover.
Re-hydrateAlcohol has a dehydrating effect on our bodies, so many of the results of overindulging can be rectified simply by re-hydrating. The trick however is to avoid other beverages such as fizzy drinks and even sports drinks that can add calories but do little to quench your thirst. Stick with straight water, and lots of it. Aim to drink a glass before you even go to bed (if you are still feeling logical at that point) or have three to four glasses in the first hour you are awake. Only switch to tea or coffee after you have completed this task.
Feed YourselfWhile the water works wonders for re-hydrating your cells, you need to line your stomach with food to “soak up” whatever alcohol is left down there. Even if you studiously avoid them at all other times, carbs are exactly what you need to halt your hangover.
Try to stick to the same diet you would follow if you had a stomach bug – the BRAT diet. Consume:
- Bananas – just make sure they haven’t spoiled or gone mushy.
- Rice – plain is better than fried, with as few other additions as possible.
- Apple sauce – best from the jar rather than going to the trouble of making yourself.
- Toast – with minimal toppings or spreads.
Sleep It OffOnce you’ve fed and watered yourself, take pity on your poor soul and go back to bed! Chances are it was a late night, so give yourself a break and either have a late lie-in or take an afternoon nap. Give your body time to recover, and hopefully the next time you open your eyes they won’t be quite as puffy and bloodshot.
Freshen UpWhen you do decide to re-join the land of the living, make sure you look human. Take a shower and rinse the stink of cigarettes out of your hair. Shave away the stubble, brush that dead skunk right out of your mouth and throw on some clothes that don’t smell like sweat and smoke. When you’re clean and fresh, you’ll at least look as though you can leave the house, though whether or not you do so is still up to you.
Hangovers are natural sign that you overdid it with the alcohol. When you have one, remember how badly you feel so that you’ll go a little easier the next time you head out, or at the very least make sure you’re schedule is cleared the next day so that you can spend your time wallowing without the guilt of know that you are also missing lectures, meetings, sports practice or work. If you ever do find that your hangover has gotten in the way of your real life, realise that you are heading into a danger zone and consider seeking help for your drinking. Whatever you do, don’t shrug off a hangover. It may be “natural,” but it is also entirely avoidable.