One of life’s harshest realities: there is nothing better than Friday night Happy Hour, and nothing worse than a Saturday morning hangover. Naturally, the best way to avoid a hangover is to not over imbibe.
However, if you’re reading this article, it’s likely that that bit of wisdom comes a little too late.
While the typical tips of greasy food and coffee are typically nothing more than anecdote, the following tips can help ease the symptoms of a hangover (if you already have one) and prevent one the next time you hit up Happy Hour.
Let’s be honest- the happiest Happy Hour shouldn’t lead to a splitting headache or a morning spent on the bathroom floor. Capiche?
Alcohol is a diuretic, and dehydration can intensify the effects of a hangover. While you shouldn’t go overboard on water in an attempt to “flush” alcohol from your system (this in itself can be dangerous), you should aim to consume 8-16 ounces of water as you are able to reduce the effects of dehydration, which might otherwise prove to be a real head-pounder.
Eat simple carbs
After a night of drinking, your liver has been pushed to its max. Pair that with vomiting and a queasy tummy and you’ve got a recipe for low blood sugar. Stick to simple or easily digested carbs, which can help bring up low blood sugar, making you feel (somewhat) more human. Toast, a banana, or saltines are all good choices.
Eat before you drink
Simply having food in your system can reduce blood alcohol concentrations by as much as a third, according to Aaron White, PhD, senior advisor to the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. And if you’re wondering? A slice of pizza isn’t an excuse to have an extra beer.
So long, smoke
Aside from the general carcinogenicity of tobacco, smoking any substance (including weed, tobacco, or hookah) may result in worse hangovers, according to Damaris Rosenhow, PhD, associate director of the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University. Smoking tends to interfere with normal sleep patterns, intensifying the effects of a hangover. Always avoid smoking, but especially when you’re drinking.
Does that pour have more?
Even if your intent isn’t to overimbibe, that’s often easier said than done, thanks to heavy-handed bartenders. Many drinks pack a heftier punch than you might account for, so always assume that you’ve had a little more than you reckoned for. This is especially the case for wine, as the shape of the glass makes an accurate pour more difficult than for, say, a shot of tequila (and no, we are not advocating for shots).
Know when to say “no more”.
Know your limit! Individual alcohol tolerance varies depending on weight, height, age, and drinking history. Inexperienced drinkers tend to experience the effects of alcohol more severely, as do smaller, lighter drinkers and the elderly. Men should consume no more than 2 drinks in a single sitting- women, less at one drink per sitting, as defined by the USDA and National Institute on Drug and Alcohol Abuse.