How to avoid a hangover: the definitive guide
World Best Bar
Apr 25, 2018
26 November 2020
The hangover. We know it so well, and we hate it so much. It’s the cheeky dark cloud lurking around the corner waiting to burden us with queasiness and headaches when we’re just trying to go about our daily lives. We’ve all been there, you head out for a low-key drink, one drink becomes three, and suddenly cut to you wasted in a chip shop; it’s a classic trajectory. Then, the next day arrives, along with a dulling headache and the need to be pretty much horizontal for at least 12 hours. To call it a nuisance is an understatement.
We’ve all wondered at one time or another why the scientific community isn’t putting more of a focus on this clearly important issue. We can send a monkey into space, grow an ear on a mouse, but we haven’t created a magic potion that cures a hangover – it’s truly baffling.
But, fear not, help is at hand. Welcome to your definitive guide to avoiding a hangover the next day. There’s nothing better than that smug feeling of waking up hangover free. It may not be a magic elixir, but it’s the best we can do for the minute.
1. Drink in moderation
Okay, we had to put this one in there, so we’ll get it out the way first. Yes, it may not always be realistic, yes it’s difficult, but it really does work. At the end of the day, drinking less = less of a hangover. It’s a fact. Unfortunately, the deliciousness of Mojitos and the temptation of a sneaky tequila shot makes it a tricky feat to accomplish, but it’s worth a try every now and again.
2. Water, water and more water
Humans are 60% water. But we all know that feeling of waking up after a particularly heavy Friday night feeling around 75% Prosecco. The most important weapon against any hangover is realigning that balance. Alcohol is a dehydrator, and that hangover headache comes from the pressure caused by the water-filled tissues around your brain shrinking from dehydration. All this may sound very scary, but it’s quite normal. The best way to avoid this is to drink water throughout the night, and then again before bed. Drinking one glass of water after every alcoholic drink can help avoid dehydration, and therefore the dreaded hangover.
3. Never drink on an empty stomach
Yes, alcohol has calories, but it’s not food. A liquid dinner is never a good idea if you want to wake up feeling vaguely normal the next day. According to some scientists, the severity of a hangover is not just based on what you drink but how you metabolise the alcohol. This depends a lot on what you eat. A key tip for avoiding a hangover is eating a full, balanced meal before you drink. This will allow your body to process the drinks more slowly and help you to wake up feeling fresh. Well, relatively fresh.
4. Try to avoid the bubbly
Yes, Prosecco is amazing. Yes, popping champagne is oh so fun. But, if we’re trying to be super sensible and avoid that hangover, then sticking to flat drinks can help. Research shows that carbonated drinks can result in the alcohol being absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream, and therefore set the scene for a hard morning to come. Some good flat drink alternatives could be a Sex on the Beach, or a quick gin and juice.
5. Get on the multivitamins
Although obviously avoiding dehydration is key, there are other factors to consider with a hangover. Shockingly, alcohol is not massively nutritious. Unfortunately, it swings entirely the other way; it actually depletes the nutrients in your body. Luckily antioxidants and other fab things in multivitamins help alleviate this damage. Pop one before your night out to prepare your body for the drinks to come.
6. Go posh
Can you put a price on a hangover-free morning? Well, actually, maybe you can. If you really need to wake up feeling fresh, splurging a little on more expensive alcohol can help. High-end liquors are more distilled, meaning that many of those rubbish hangover-exacerbating impurities have been filtered out. This won’t necessarily leave you completely hangover free, but it will make it less severe.
7. Have a before-bed ibuprofen
If you forget to put into practice any of the other hangover removal techniques, then this is a good last resort – plus it’s great paired with all of the above. The final preventative step in the battle against the post-booze headache. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can directly combat the inflammation caused by alcohol. Just be careful and always avoid any drugs that cannot be taken with alcohol, such as anything with acetaminophen, and always check with a doctor or pharmacist if you’re unsure.
Get ready to be that smug friend who never gets hung over. So now, armed with these tried and tested techniques, we think it’s time to hit the town.