So you’re planning a night out. You’ll be having a few drinks, or maybe more than a few! You want to have a fun night out, but you would really like to avoid the hangover the next day. It really spoils the next day, especially if you have to go to work, if you are suffering with a hangover. So what can you do to avoid a hangover?
While there may be no way to 100% remove the possibility of having to suffer a hangover, there are things that you can do to reduce the chances. These can be thought of in four groups,
– things you can do during the day, in advance of your night out
– things you can do during your night out
– things you can do when you get home
– things you can do the next morning
During the Day
Before going out on a big night out, there are a few crucial things you can do to make your night out, and the next day, more pleasant.
Eat a good meal – It is not a good idea to embark on a night out on an empty stomach. You may have heard the saying ‘Eating’s Cheating!’ which encourages people to skip dinner when going out so that the alcohol can take effect quicker. This is based on fact, as alcohol is more easily absorbed by an empty stomach. But if you are trying to avoid a hangover, eating a good meal will make sure there is something in your stomach and it will slow the absorption of alcohol. It also has the effect of making you feel more full, which may encourage you to slow your drinking slightly.
Take a multi-vitamin – A night of drinking means you will be consuming a large quantity of liquid, and the obvious result will be lot more peeing than usual. Every time you go to the bathroom you will be literally flushing away vital nutrients including vitamins, minerals and salts. The reduced blood concentration of these vital nutrients can contribute towards a hangover, so ‘pre-loading’ by taking a multi-vitamin in advance can help offset the potential problem. Even better would be a slow-release multi-vitamin.
During the Night Out
While you are out enjoying yourself, there are several things you can do to help prevent a hangover the next morning.
Know your limits – In a group, people may thing that they should be able to keep up with everyone else, or the fastest drinker. But the reality is that every person is different. Each person’s reaction to alcohol is different and each person’s ability to internally process alcohol is different. So you should not feel under any pressure to keep up, there is no harm in skipping a round every now and then.
Know your alcohol – I am going to assume this is not your first night out drinking.. Use your past experience to inform your drinking. Are there drinks that particularly affect you more than others? Do you get worse hangovers from vodka or red wine, for example? If so, use that information and maybe stay away from those drinks.
Don’t mix your drinks – We’ve all heard sayings about mixing the grape and the grain, and whatever. The fact is that different types of alcoholic drinks have different hangover inducing ingredients. Sticking to one type of drink, for example beer or wine, means that your body only has to deal with one set of those chemicals. Mixing all sorts of drinks together can overload your body with a whole concoction of hangover inducing chemicals.
Consider your mixers – If you are having spirits with mixers, think about what type of mixer you are having. Carbonated fizzy mixers tend to make you drink more quickly than using water or fruit juice as your mixer.
Stay hydrated – Despite the fact that you are ingesting a large amount of liquid, the net effect of drinking alcohol is that you will become dehydrated. You will be peeing most of the liquid away, and your body is not really extracting much water as it processes your drinks. It has it’s hands full trying to process and remove the alcohol from your bloodstream. And alcohol is a diuretic which encourages water loss. So to stay hydrated, you have to make a conscious effort to actually drink water now and again. Good advice is to have one drink of water after every alcoholic drink, but most people will ignore that advice. When someone is getting a round, perhaps ask for a glass of water as well as your normal drink. Or when it’s your round, order water instead of a drink. If you feel self conscious about sitting among your friends with a glass of water, ask the bar to put a slice of lemon and ice in it and you can tell your friends it’s a gin and tonic.