- What are the best remedies for a hangover?
- What is a hangover?
- What are the symptoms of a hangover?
- How long does a hangover last?
- How to get rid of a hangover
- Do I need hangover food?
- What to drink to ease a hangover
- How can I prevent a hangover?
- When should I see a doctor?
Last night may have been amazing (well, what you can remember of it) but this morning is anything but!
You’re suffering with the hangover of the century and you need a way to make yourself feel better before you have to get up and face the world.
That’s why we’re going to spend some time looking at why you’ve got this hangover and what you can do to make those pesky symptoms go away.
Grab yourself a big glass of water and settle in, I’m going to make this as simple as possible so you can read it through that pounding headache!
Ever woken up after a night on the tiles with a few drinks (okay, maybe more than a few) and realised that you feel like death warmed up? Congratulations, you’ve got yourself a hangover.
So why are you dealing with this nightmare this morning? Well, when you drink alcohol the ethanol in your drinks does more than make you want to throw questionable shapes on the dancefloor.
That ethanol is responsible for a phenomenon that my friends and I affectionately refer to as “breaking the seal” or “opening the floodgates”.
Yep, ethanol is why you spend half of your night queueing for grubby nightclub bathrooms, and it makes you seriously dehydrated.
Up to 60% of our bodies are made up of water, so your body doesn’t respond well to dehydration, which is why you wake up the morning after a night to remember with a hangover that you wish you could forget.
If you’ve ever had a hangover then you probably don’t need me to tell you about all of the awful symptoms you can experience the morning after.
However. if you’re one of those lucky few who have never experienced a hangover (How do you do it? Seriously, I need to know!) then let me shed some light on why your friends don’t always want to hang out on Sunday mornings.
Hangovers have a few common and unpleasant symptoms, you may experience one or two of them or, if you’re very unlucky, the whole lot at once. These symptoms include:
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Stomach ache or nausea
- Feeling shaky or trembly
- Dry mouth and dehydration
- Increased sensitivity to light or sound
- Feeling anxious, depressed, irritable, or finding it difficult to concentrate
Hangovers normally blow over within 24 hours, so if you’ve woken up with a splitting headache and cramps this morning, don’t worry, you’re only a few hours away from feeling better.
However, some hangovers can last up to 72 hours, especially if it’s one that was fuelled by mixing a lot of different drinks.
Don’t be surprised if you wake up tomorrow still feeling pretty grim if you didn’t make the best drink choices last night.
Okay, so I’ll level with you here, there are no mythical fix-all cures that will completely cure your hangover.
Trust me, if we knew about one, we’d be shouting it from the rooftops, but it’s just not a thing.
However, there are a couple of things you can do to ease the symptoms of your hangover and make your morning after a little less unbearable.
Let’s look at some of the most common hangover symptoms and what we can do to get rid of them.
Headaches are one of the most common symptoms of a hangover and there’s a simple reason why.
Your brain is made of around 75% water, so when you’re suffering with dehydration your brain really gets the rough end of the stick.
This leaves you with a splitting headache as your poor brain tries to function and the best thing you can do for yourself is rehydrate with a glass of water.
However, your traditional headache remedies will also help to ease your pain, so feel free to use some paracetamol or ibuprofen if you need them.
Those painkillers won’t just help to ease your headache, they can work wonders for your stomach and muscle cramps too.
You can use both paracetamol and ibuprofen together if you’re really struggling with the pain, just make sure that you use the correct amount of each one and use them both as recommended by the information in their packaging.
Alcohol can make it difficult to sleep properly at the best of times and if you’ve been on a big night out then chances are you didn’t get an early night, so it’s no surprise that you’re exhausted!
Try to get some more sleep, if you can, and make sure you get to bed early tonight and try to catch up on that missed sleep.
If your stomach is grumbling and growling at you then you may be struggling to eat something nutritious this morning.
If you’ve woken up with the hangover shakes, try to eat something sugary that will ease that trembling.
However, try to avoid sweets and stick to healthier options like fruit, which will help to boost your blood sugar levels and provide some much-needed vitamins and minerals.
Everyone has their own “sure thing” when it comes to hangover food, but very few of these remedies actually help your hangover (although we do really enjoy that fry up).
If you’re really looking to ditch the hangover, try bouillon soup, a thin vegetable broth that even the NHS recommends for hangovers.
It’s full of vitamins and minerals and is easy for your poor aching stomach to digest while it’s trying to recover.
Other good options are those delicious fruits we mentioned before, and especially kiwis and bananas.
These two fruits are rich in potassium, one of the minerals your body loses when you become dehydrated.
The best thing you can drink when you’re hung over is a big glass of water, although soda water and isotonic drinks are a good alternative if water isn’t your favourite.
These will help you to replace all of the fluids you lost and ease the dehydration that’s causing this problem in the first place, and they’re gentle enough that they won’t make your digestive system feel a whole lot worse.
Lots of people swear by Berocca and similar products when combatting a hangover, and although they aren’t the hangover miracle you’ve been looking for, they certainly can’t hurt.
They’re packed full of vitamins and minerals that your body will be craving right now and the fact that these tablets are diluted in water means that you’ll be rehydrating, which is the best thing for you.
You may have heard that when you’re hungover a little ‘hair of the dog’ can make you feel better.
Well, there’s absolutely no truth to this, and all that drinking more alcohol will do is delay your hangover.
This hangover is happening at some point, so you might as well get it over with now without using more alcohol to delay the inevitable.
The absolute best thing you can do is avoid drinking more alcohol for at least 48 hours, this will give your body the time it needs to make a full recovery.
The only sure-fire way to prevent a hangover is to just not drink alcohol.
However, if you are going to go out and indulge in the odd glass of wine or beer, then there are a few things you can do to keep that hangover at bay.
- Drink water or a non-fizzy soft drink between alcoholic drinks. This helps to keep you hydrated and helps you to manage your alcohol intake
- Drink water before you go to bed and keep some more water next to your bed for when you wake up during the night, this will help you to rehydrate
- Eat a good meal before you go out, this will help to line your stomach and slow your body down as it tries to absorb the alcohol
- Stay away from dark coloured drinks such as dark rum if you know you’re sensitive to them, these can cause irritation and make your hangover worse
- Know when to stop. When you’ve reached your limit, don’t give into the pressure to keep drinking. Know your limits and call it a night
Most of the time, your hangover will be nothing to worry about it and you’re just going to have to wait it out and let it pass.
However, sometimes your symptoms could indicate more than a hangover and could be something more dangerous, such as alcohol poisoning.
Alcohol poisoning happens when you drink a large amount of alcohol in a short amount of time and it poisons your body, making you very unwell.
If you are suffering with the following symptoms, or are with someone who is, seek medical advice immediately:
- Severely slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness or passing out
- Loss of co-ordination
- Falling into a stupor (being conscious but unresponsive)
- Slow breathing (less than 8 breaths a minute)
- Irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths)
- Hypothermia (very low body temperature with pale or blue-tinged skin)
So now you know all you need to know about that pesky hangover, we just want to take a moment to remind you to drink responsibly.
We’re all for having fun, but make sure you know how to stay safe and know your limits.
For more information, please see the Drink Aware website, which is full of useful information about alcohol and how to make the best choices for you.
Have fun, and be safe out there!