Well-being is all well and good, and developing behaviours that go towards sustaining a better way of life should be encouraged, but… every now and again it’s also good to have a couple of drinks and let the proverbial hair down. There’s one snag with this, as if some mighty, evil ruler has put this pleasure before us just to watch us suffer later. It’s the old classic Ying and Yang, the old reaction to every action thing, what goes up must come down – the morning after the night before.
When you’re younger this does not affect you so much, in fact in the beginning years I hardly remember ever having even a mild headache. But gradually as the years go by, the mornings get worse and worse, and then the mornings creep into the whole day, and then the whole day hangs around for a couple of days, and before you know it you’re paying a good couple of days of lethargy for one night out that probably lasted 6 hours if you’re lucky. It’s then time to take action, obviously if you want to do something with your life. If you’re not that bothered about the sober hours then just keep going and ride it as far as it will go, yeah baby.
I hate the idea of ever having to give up anything that I enjoy, and almost always the reason that this has to happen is because you can’t moderate the good times. But even when you moderate your drink consumption, occasionally you’re going to have a blowout for whatever reason. When you work for yourself, there’s no rock anywhere to get behind and hide for a couple of days. So, we have to get smart and understand the causes of the classic hangover, and then work out how we’re going to defeat the enemy. (or at least make them not so scary)
The main culprits of the common or garden hangover include the way that the body metabolises alcohol, drinking’s effect on blood flow to the brain and the interaction of neurotransmitters like histamine, serotonin, and prostaglandin. This little lot don’t just give you an urge to sit in front of the telly in your pyjamas all day, a hangover can cause tremors, sweating, increased pulse and blood pressure, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, thirst, light sensitivity, fatigue, depression and anxiety.
It’s quite a big price to pay for a few hours of socialising, and that’s why I’m here to help. After studying this topic personally for many years, I have badgered the world’s greatest thinkers to come up with the definitive guide to avoiding hangovers, thus giving us back our sunday mornings like the ones that Lionel Ritchie sings about.
Here are the top ten tips for beating the hangover:
- Don’t drink (yeah right, that helps, thanks Mum)
- Eat before you start drinking – Fatty foods are best at absorbing alcohol, and also try to eat as you’re drinking as this acts to keep blood sugar levels up and buffers the alcohol.
- Mix your drinks – This doesn’t mean what you think it does! It is recommended that you substitute a non-alcoholic drink in between each proper drink, like water for example. Don’t drink Coke as this will increase your heart rate and add to the dehydration levels that pinch the next day.
- Watch dark drinks – The darker alcoholic drinks contain more congeners, which are toxic chemicals caused during fermentation. Higher concentrations of congeners are more likely to cause the bad headaches.
- Don’t smoke and drink – Smoking causes a lack of oxygen to the brain and therefore leads to increased risk of headache.
- Take drugs – Aaahhhh, not so fast. Take some anti-inflammatory’s before going to bed, it may help with some of the expected pain the next day. Be careful though, too much of this can cause liver problems. Some people also find this adds to stomach irritation and bruising.
- Sleep – Make sure you get enough sleep. The alcohol ruins the natural rhythm of your sleep pattern, and can cause the fatigue and worsened mood the next day.
- Migraines – If you have a history of having migraines then you may be at greater risk of hangover headaches. If so, you may want to prepare yourself with an acute migraine treatment in case a bad episode is triggered.
- Know your limit – Get a picture of how much you can realistically drink. Know what that is in units, and then be careful to add it up right as you go through the evening and start mixing different types of drink.
- It’s not cool to dribble – When you feel the room moving, or the conversation getting away from you, just remember that you’re probably already two drinks beyond when you should have noticed. Just pull it back at that point and find a rock to steady yourself on.
I hope this helps the mornings after, and next I will advise you on how to improve the night before… what? Oh, you don’t need help with that one. ok.