Curing That Holiday Hangover
The holidays are a great time to celebrate with friends and family. Traditions can range from great meals and deserts to all day gatherings with family, friends, and coworkers. The one common theme that is always a staple during the holidays is…. Alcohol! From the spiked Eggnog at Christmas to the bottles of champagne at New years, alcohol seems to always play a part in most traditions. If you buckle under peer pressure like I do, sometimes these celebratory drinks can turn into bottles of wines and cases of beer. Now comes the point of this blog. What should you do for that morning headache, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and groggy feeling, known as a Hangover? Here are some suggestions to help alleviate problems. As it turns out there is no miracle cure and little research has been done in this field.
1. Drink Water
- Alcohol is a diuretic and will dehydrate you at night and into the morning. At night, you probably find yourself using the bathroom more often when consuming alcohol which leads to this dehydration.
- Try to drink between 16-20 ounces of water before you sleep, and again when you wake up. Water will help rid some of the toxins quicker and can help “flush the system”
- If you are really smart, have some water in between drinks throughout the night to stay hydrated.
- According to studies, drinking about 250 millilitres (8 ounces) of an alcoholic beverage causes the body to expel 800 to 1,000 millilitres (26-33 ounces)of water; that’s four times as much liquid lost as gained.
2. Replace Your Electrolytes (Pedialyte)
- The dehydration from alcohol causes a low electrolyte balance in your body which needs to be replenished.
- Pedialyte, Coconut water, Gatorade, Fruit Juice, and other sports drinks, can help replenish these liquids after a night of drinking and in the morning when nursing a hangover. (Be careful of sugar levels in the “electrolyte replenishers”)
- The extra vitamins and minerals in these drinks helps your body absorb the fluid more quickly and replenish the balance of sodium, potassium, and sugars.
- A good supplement for water.
- Sleeping gives your body more time to recover and allots your liver more time to fully metabolize the alcohol.
- If you have an early wake up, try to take a mid day nap to help restore energy levels.
- One drink—a 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor—is metabolized by your body in about an hour, so the whole “sweat it out” theory is considered a myth in most circles. At the same time, because alcohol acts as a depressant to your body, the endorphin release by exercising could boost your mood and burning off a few calories may ease your guilt about how much you drank.
- In hockey circles, there are legendary stories about the ageless wonder, Chris Chelios, and his 45 minute bike rides in the sauna which he referred to as an “aerobic wash”.
5. More Alcohol
- Studies have shown that another drink in the morning may help improve headaches but ultimately this is just putting of the inevitable(eventually a hangover will set in) and is not suggested as this can lead to alcohol abuse.
6. Eat Complex Carbs (peanut butter and banana sandwich) or Eggs!
- While your liver is preoccupied metabolizing alcohol, it fails to regulate blood sugar levels, so they stay low. Carbohydrates can raise your blood sugar level and help them return to natural levels.
- The work done by your liver to metabolize alcohol uses vitamins like vitamin B and potassium that become limited after drinking alcohol. Eating some whole grains and things like bananas can help restore vitamin levels.
- Eating eggs the morning after provides energy like any other food, which is the primary benefit. But eggs do also contain large amounts of cysteine, the substance that breaks down the hangover-causing toxin acetaldehyde in the liver’s easily depleted glutathione
- Ease a pounding head with a pill (or two, depending on the recommended dosage), but stick to non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen), not acetaminophen (Tylenol):
- Coffee can help alleviate a pounding head because caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it reduces the size of blood vessels. This counteracts the effect of the alcohol, which makes them swell, making the head hurt in the first place.
- On the down side, caffeine can increase dehydration and irritate your stomach further causing hangover symptoms to worsen. Be sure to drink plenty of extra water if you drink coffee.
- A greasy breakfast for a hangover remedy may give your body a short-term boost
- Besides glucose, alcohol reduces the amount of circulating free fatty acids in the bloodstream, A breakfast high in carbohydrate and fat content can help to elevate blood glucose and free fatty acid levels in the short term.
- Do the long term effects outweigh the short term benefits? Decide that for yourself.
Taking Preventative Steps To Reduce Hangovers
- Darker liquors and wines have more congeners(toxic substances) than lighter ones — for instance, the amount of congeners in bourbon is 37 times the amount in vodka, according to a study. Studies that attempt to compare hangover producing potential and hangover severity of different alcoholic drinks suggest the following ordering (starting with the least hangover-inducing):
- Distilled ethanol diluted in fruit juice
- White wine
- Red wine
- A no-brainer. Don’t drink on an empty stomach. The longer alcohol stays in the stomach, the better your body breaks it down. Food such as complex carbs and other starchy foods before hand can help aid in the digestive process.
- Drink a glass of milk to start the evening. It will retard the absorption of alcohol, and protect your stomach against irritations.
- If possible, mix in some water between drinks