How to Avoid a Hangover
Alcohol is a welcomed feature at most parties, gatherings, and social events. In fact, it’s almost expected! Knowing how to avoid a hangover is crucial to your health and wellbeing.
A hangover can be a real bummer. They can make you feel very sick and even be physically painful.
Despite this, I do enjoy the occasional glass of wine or cocktail. I mean, who doesn’t?
The good news is, you CAN consume alcohol and greatly minimize your risk of developing a hangover with a few simple tips.
Eat something before drinking alcohol
Do not drink on an empty stomach.
When you drink alcohol, it is quickly absorbed through the intestinal walls.
The longer alcohol takes to pass through the stomach and into the intestines, the slower it is absorbed by the body, resulting in milder effects. Having a meal before drinking, causing digestion to be slower, can avoid the alcohol from passing too quickly into the small intestine.
Alcohol is absorbed more slowly by the body when you have food in your stomach.
Drinking large amounts of alcohol quickly on an empty stomach can be dangerous.
Gulp down water BEFORE having alcohol
Remembering to consume water is a crucial part to learning how to avoid a hangover.
Alcohol does a really good job of pulling water out of everything it touches, including your digestion system.
If you’re drinking alcohol make sure to hydrate before, during, and after you’re drinking to counteract those awful dehydration symptoms.
Drink in moderation
This one is pretty common sense when remembering how to avoid a hangover, but it can be easy to lose track of how many boozy drinks you’ve had once the buzz settles in (especially with tasty cocktails).
Decide before you go drinking exactly how many drinks you will have and when you’ll stop.
I usually cap myself at one cocktail or two glasses of wine.
Once you have a drink in your hand, remember to pace yourself. There’s no race to the finish line, so take your time and sip on it, instead of taking gulps.
You can easily make a single drink last much longer if you’re able to stay conscious of this.
Don’t let anyone pressure you to drink faster or have another. Unfortunately, it is somehow socially acceptable to pressure people to have another. Be firm and people will back down.
Keep track of how much alcohol you’re consuming
If you’re making homemade cocktails, keeping track of how much alcohol you’re consuming can be easy as you know exactly which ingredients and quantities that you used.
Keeping track of the amount of alcohol when you’re ordering drinks is a little trickier.
I always stick with ordering single shot cocktails. Every time. It never changes and I don’t have to play the guessing game when things get fuzzy in my mind.
Stick with colorless spirits
Ever heard of congeners? Yeah, me either until very recently.
Congeners are, technically, chemical impurities that arise in the distillation process. During the distillation process sugar is turned into alcohol by adding different strains of yeast. The amino acids that naturally occur in the sugar then turn into ethanol wich contains congeners.
We’re not sure what congeners do, but think that they may contribute to the liquor’s flavor profile.
So what does this all mean for learning how to avoid a hangover?
Research suggests that congeners cause worse hangovers because the body has to use resources to break these down in addition to metabolizing the alcohol.
The more distilled the liquor, the fewer congeners it will contain, so opt for either top shelf (yes, this may mean fewer drinks for you), or clear liquors.
Have water before going to bed
Yes, you may come home a little more woozy than when you left.
But you MUST remember to drink water before going to bed.
Yes, you may need to wake up several times at night to urinate, but a big part of knowing how to avoid a hangover the next day is remembering to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate the night before.
And before you all ask, yes, I am one of those girls that will ALWAYS wash her makeup off and doing my skincare routine before going to bed. No exceptions.
Get enough sleep
If you can function normally less than 5 hours of sleep without the help of caffeine or other stimulants, then I bow to you.
For the rest of us normies, getting enough rest is crucial in learning how to avoid a hangover. Make sure that you plan out your drinking so that you get ample rest.
Don’t skimp out on your sleep ever, but especially not after you’ve been drinking. Getting less than ample sleep after drinking will make you feel like you have a hangover even if you dont!
According to the CDC adults should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep.
Take anti-Inflammatory supplements
Some medical experts believe that a hangover is caused by low-grade systemic inflammation.
There is research to suggest that taking anti-inflammatory supplements can help counteract the symptoms of a hangover, so this can be a good tool to remember when learning how to avoid a hangover.
Drink water when you wake up in the morning
Have I mentioned how important drinking water is?
A big part of not feeling well after drinking is dehydration.
If you’re a good student, you’ll remember that you should drink water before, during, and after consuming alcoholic beverages.
You’ll also remember that you need to hydrate when you wake up in the morning.
This is super important because whether you consumed alcohol the previous night or not, you always wake up dehydrated anyway. Adding alcohol into the equation can cause even more dehydration and a headache that will make you feel like your head is about to explode.
Have a good breakfast
Low blood sugar levels may play a role in developing a hangover. Maintaining your blood sugar levels before, during, and after drinking can help with preventing a hangover.
The typical college student recommendation of having a heavy hitting, high calorie, high fat, high carb meal after drinking is just plain bad advice. This can make you feel even more sick.
Instead, opt for a nourishing and healthy breakfast.
Opt for virgin cocktails
While consuming alcohol is a socially acceptable activity, you don’t have to drink.
If you’re concerned about not fitting in while you walk around the bar with your cup of water, you can always opt for a virgin cocktail instead.
Every bartender will know at least a few different types of virgin cocktails and have the ingredients at hand. So you too can walk around the bar with your fancy shmancy drink.
And personally, I think that most virgin cocktails taste better than standard cocktails. I mean, who actually likes the taste of ethanol anyway?!?