November 12, 2012


So we all know the symptoms of a hangover. The bumping headache, queezy tummy, light headedness and a host of other ailments. You will also be dehydrated because alcohol is a diuretic. This is something that removes liquid from the body. And if you drink enough you will know just how effective a diuretic alcohol can be. The dehydration is the root cause of most of your symptoms. And too much alcohol in your blood can set you up for a restless night’s sleep too, that’s without having to deal with a stomach that’s rebelling over the amount of alcohol it’s been forced to take. It is also probable that you will still be over the legal driving limit the next morning too.

Hangover cures

There are many tips for easing the effects of a hangover but there are no cures. The only way to avoid a hangover is not to drink to excess. That does not mean do not drink, just drink sensibly. Perhaps a bottle of water every other drink to keep your body refreshed and at the same time slowing down the rate of alcohol being drank.

Be aware of your body’s limits. How much can it cope with? If you want to avoid a hangover then err on the side of caution. Drink slowly.

Know your units

The NHS recommends that “men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day” and “women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day”. But many people are not fully aware of what this actually means. Many drinkers are disappointed to see how little it is! For example a pint of standard lager is 2.3 units and a 125ml glass of wine is 1.5 units. A 25 ml measure of vodka, gin or rum is one unit.

The NHS further states that “to minimise the risk of future serious health problems, men shouldn’t regularly drink more than 3-4 units a day. Women shouldn’t regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day”.

How to avoid a hangover

Here are some tips to avoid a hangover. Always eat before you go out drinking, this slows down the absorption rate of the alcohol. Red wine or dark rum can cause some people to have much more severe hangovers. If you know that you are sensitive to them then avoid them! Try to drink any non alcoholic drinks whenever you can. Non fizzy is best as carbonated drinks increase the speed of absorption of alcohol. Before going to sleep always try to drink about a pint of water.

The morning after

So you didn’t follow the advice and now you are suffering. As said earlier there is no such thing as a hangover cure. However we can do some things to ease the symptoms. Because the majority of the symptoms are caused by dehydration it is important to get the body rehydrated as soon as possible. The best way to do that is to drink lots of water.

Take a paracetamol for the headache and if you have any muscle cramps. Choose paracetamol because your stomach is probably upset too and aspirin may aggravate it.

Sweet foods sometimes help and an antacid may settle your stomach a little. All the time keep trying to drink because you must replace the lost fluids. Drinking bland liquids are easier on the digestive system. Water, soda water and isotonic drinks fit the bill.

Do not decide that the “hair of the dog” (drinking more alcohol) is what is needed. If the hangover is that bad then it’s best to avoid alcohol totally. If you’ve just had a heavy drinking session, medical advice is that you wait 48 hours before drinking alcohol again. This enables the body tissues time to recover.

If you can eat, then something like bouillon soup, or any other thin vegetable-based broth, is a good choice. This sort of soup can top up depleted resources and is a good source of vitamins and minerals. It is also very gentle on that fragile stomach.


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