As we are about to ring in 2013, I thought I would repost this article on how to prevent a hangover. I’ve added new information on treating it if you happen to get stuck with one.
Most of us have heard that drinking plenty of water before going to bed will help prevent a hangover. That’s based on the assumption that symptoms of the morning after come solely from being dehydrated. I can tell you, that’s not the case.
Yes, drinking alcohol can lead to dehydration but it also leads to something else; sugar crash. Alcohol is high in sugar and when it’s released into the bloodstream, the brain signals the pancreas to release insulin to balance that surge. The end result is that waking up after drinking too much alcohol, even if we’d had plenty of water, can leave us feeling nasty symptoms.
To prevent this, in addition to drinking water, and perhaps popping a couple of aspirin, eat carbohydrates.
When a friend’s son rented a bus to take friends to help him celebrate his 21st birthday, I advised him to have the driver stop at a Taco Bell or other fast food restaurant on the way home. The carbohydrates would act like a sponge, soaking up the alcohol and also replenshing sugar. If they ate a burger or a taco, the protein would ensure the blood sugar levels were stabilized.
I added that drinking a full glass of water and popping aspirin before crawling between the sheets would be added insurance that they didn’t have to pay the piper more than his due.
So, this holiday season, before going to bed, have another piece of pie, another helping of stuffing and mashed potatoes. You’ll feel better for it…
I’ve heard of people alternating a glass of water with a glass of wine/beer and this may work to prevent a hangover. However, I don’t know too many people with a buzz going who can remember to alternate. Still, it’s probably worth the effort if you can remember while in your alcohol induced glow.
If the terrible happens…
If you end up with a nasty hangover, there are, unfortunately, no magic remedies to make it vanish instantly. However, there are stages of recovery and they can be helped along.
Aspirin. To me, nothing works like Excedrin. However, you may want to take this remedy with a bite since it can make you nauseated if you take it on an empty stomach.
Nux Vomica. Instead of Pepto Bismol, pop 4 to 5 nux vomica pellets (available at health food stores such as Whole Foods). I suggest Boiron, 30c. You can repeat a dose later in the day.
Carbohydrates. Not just a prevantative, eating carbohydrates is part of the cure. It helps rebalance the system, calming nausea and stabilizing the blood sugar.
Hair of the dog. It honestly works. A Bloody Mary can be a wonderful restorative. I’ve heard a beer with breakfast can also help you feel human again.
Water. Of course, you have to treat that dehydration, and eventually the dog hair wears off. Be prepared by drinking several glasses of water. If you can tolerate it warm, add a squeeze of lemon to aid the body’s detox efforts.
Sleep. Unfortunately, only time will truly cure a hangover. You can treat the symptoms but the overall cause dissipates over time. Sleep will aid the body in its recovery and will help pass the time since you’ll be peacefully in oblivion, unaware of how lousy you feel.
Happy Healthy New Year!