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The Ultimate Guide To Treating And Preventing Hangovers

When you’re getting ready for an evening out that includes drinking, you probably don’t often think of the consequences of overindulging. Inevitably then, you end up with hangovers. Hangovers are extremely unpleasant and can make you wish you never opened a can of beer or ordered that last glass of wine.

However, once you know how to treat and prevent them, you can enjoy alcohol without constantly worrying about hangover hassles.

Drink Lots Of Water

After you get home for the night, or once you wake up and discover you have a hangover, stay hydrated as well as you can. If you are very nauseous, drinking fluids may be among the last things you want to do, but it could help you get over your hangover faster. If possible, drink eight to 10 glasses of water once you come home from a night of drinking. That will help provide immediate relief. Then, after you get up, repeat that process.

During the morning after you’ve been drinking, it may be helpful to carry around a large reusable water bottle wherever you go. That way, you don’t have to keep remembering to fill up a glass at the sink periodically. Alcohol can cause dehydration because it stimulates your body to get rid of more water than you consume. By forcing yourself to drink much more water than usual, you’re working to combat that side effect of alcohol.

Eat Plain, High Starch Foods

If you’ve ever wondered why bars often serve foods to munch on, it’s because they realize customers may want to eat things to reduce their chances of getting hung over. Certain types of food also work well if you’ve got a hangover and want to be rid of it as soon as possible. Get started by choosing plain crackers, slices of bread or bagels, to name a few. These may not sound like the most appetizing options, but they’ll help boost your blood sugar and will be kind to your stomach.

So, the next time you’re thinking about something that’s very saucy or otherwise might upset your stomach, look for foods that are high in starch, instead. They may be slightly boring as far as your taste buds are concerned, but should help reduce the effects of your hangover.

Pop A Painkiller

Yes, there’s a reason why you get headaches after drinking: alcohol widens the blood vessels in your head and causes the discomfort. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever could shorten the severity and duration of your headache because it shrinks the enlarged blood vessels. Some people also take painkillers before their headaches come on because they think that preventative measure could cut out the experience of having headaches at all.

If your head is still hurting once you get home and you’ve already taken the recommended dosage of painkillers, think about going to bed with a cold cloth on your forehead. The temperature also helps shrink the affected blood vessels, and the wet sensation on your forehead may offer a soothing effect.

Go Back To Sleep Upon Waking

If your schedule will allow for it, consider getting some extra sleep, even after you wake up from a hangover and realize you’ve made it through the night. If you just pass out in bed after drinking a lot, your body doesn’t usually have opportunities to enter the kind of sleep that is most restful. However, once you’ve woken up on the morning after, a lot of the alcohol will have hopefully stopped affecting your body as badly, meaning you’re able to get better quality sleep.

In the best case, maybe you normally have weekends off from work or school and you’ve done most of your drinking on a Friday or Saturday. Then, you still have Sunday to recover.

Add Honey To Boiling Water

Honey can be an effective option for treating hangovers because it increases the fructose in your body. However, if you’ve just been drinking, the sweetness of honey may seem very unappetizing. Tone down the sweetness by adding honey to boiling water and then waiting for it to cool. That process dilutes down the honey, but it will still offer therapeutic effects for your body.

Consume Prickly Pear Extract

Prickly pear extract is something that may reduce the inflammation that happens when you drink. Experts aren’t sure how it works exactly, but they say if you take the supplement several hours before you start drinking, it may prevent you from getting hung over.

Sip Water Throughout The Night

In the same way, you’ve just learned to guzzle water to shorten your hangover and start to get relief, it’s also important to do that when you’re still drinking alcohol. Some bartenders are especially tuned into that fact and may bring you a glass of ice water without being asked, especially if the bar is not busy. However, don’t rely on bartenders to take care of something you know you need to do anyway. Take it upon yourself to go up to the bar and periodically request water.

Alternate Alcoholic Beverages With Non-Alcoholic Ones

Besides drinking plentiful amounts of water throughout the night, it’s smart to alternate your alcohol-based drinks with options that don’t have any alcohol in them. If you are worried about how friends might perceive you if they see you drinking a soda while they’re still knocking back beers and cocktails, remember you’re being smart and doing something that will likely prevent your hangover. Otherwise, consider ordering virgin cocktails. They are served in the same type of glassware, so people don’t have to know that you’re choosing to drink something that does not have alcohol.

Don’t Use Alcohol As A Distraction Method

The-Ultimate-Guide-To-Treating-And-Preventing-Hangovers-pinIdeally, use alcohol to celebrate things or enjoy good times. If you’re depending on alcohol to distract yourself from the fact that you had a bad day at work or your boyfriend just broke up with you, you may be more likely to overindulge because you want alcohol to mask the pain you’re feeling. If you’re feeling tempted to drink alcohol for the wrong reasons, see if a friend will come to the bar with you to keep you company and engage in conversation.

That friend could also gently encourage you to have second thoughts if you’re thinking about going for more drinks, and then serve as your designated driver at the end of the night.

Set A Limit For Yourself

The simple truth is that hangovers happen when you drink too much. Before going out to drink, decide that you’ll only have a certain amount of alcohol and stick to that. You can also pace yourself to drink beverages more slowly than usual, so you’re not out of alcohol when your friends are still sipping it.

So, there you have it: A complete guide to not only treating hangovers, but preventing them. Thanks to this information, you should have more fun while drinking and feel sick less often.

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Katherine Hurst
By Dr. Michael Richardson
Passionate about sharing the latest scientifically sound health, fitness and nutrition advice and information, Dr Richardson received his Master of Science in Nutrition from New York University, and a Bachelor Degree from New Jersey University. He has since gone on to specialize in sports nutrition, weight management and helping his patients to heal physical ailments by making changes to their eating habits and lifestyles.

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