New Years Day: Tips to Deal with the Dreaded Hangover

With New Year’s eve just hours away, I bet many of you may be waking up tomorrow hungover-girl-istock_000001073283xsmall.jpgwith … the dreaded hangover.  The kind where your head is pounding, you can barely open your eyes, your mouth feels like cotton balls, the nausea is overwhelming and junk food is calling your name. Been there, done that, swore you would never do it again. But you did!  (pic is city girl in party dress with nausea)

Causes of hangovers
There can be several causes for hangovers. Obviously overindulging is the major cause. While the amount of alcohol needed to really wreak havoc varies by size, gender and genetics, most studies quantify “binge drinking” as consuming more than five drinks in a night–or more than three drinks in one to two hours. According to a 2003 survey by the National Center for Health Statistics, one in five adults had consumed more than five drinks in a day during the previous year. Hmmm…only once in a year?  In my experience, it seems a little more than this.Other causes could be drinking a beverage that does not agree with you. Colorless cocktails like vodka and gin are kinder on the body than dark whiskey or even red wine. I know for me margaritas tend to do some damage.

Not eating enough or being dehydrated prior to drinking can increase the risk of a hangover. Personally, if I did not drink enough fluid during the day, even 1-2 glasses of wine can cause a major headache the next day.

Lastly, women are more susceptible to hangovers because they have less of the enzyme needed to break down alcohol.

Why do hangovers occur?
The major reason is that alcohol dehydrates you. Alcohol blocks hormones in your kidney that normally would keep you from racing to the bathroom. With each drink, you effectively lose more water than you take in. Ever wonder why you keep running to the bathroom while having a few beers at happy hour? Dehydration leads to headaches. Here is another problem: when breaking down alcohol, your body pumps out lactic acid and other byproducts that hinder the production of glucose (sugar) and electrolytes (salts and other minerals that keep your body functioning properly). This can cause that weak woozy feeling you experience the next day.

So how should we deal with hangovers?
Of course, the best way to deal with hangovers is to prevent them! Moderation is always best. But if you do have one too many, here are some tips that may or may not help you:

– Sleep! Stay in bed as long as you can and give your body a chance to recover.

– Re-hydrate yourself. Drink plenty of water (though water is not that appealing to me if I feel hungover) or any beverage that appeals to you.

– Drink a sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade. This will help to replace the electrolytes that your body lost during the night before.  (pic is of city boys at New Year’s Eve party likely to be feeling it tomorrow!)

– Eat something. This can help to coat your stomach from the previous nights overindulgence in adult beverages.

– Pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen all can help with headaches. However, be careful when mixing acetaminophen, such as Tylenol and Excedrin, with alcohol as it can cause damage to the liver.

– Alternate between a hot and cold shower.

– In Ireland, it was said that the cure for hangovers is to bury the ailing person up to the neck in moist river sand. Hudson River anyone????

A last resort: Legend has it that a morning nip – the “hair of the dog that bit you”-  can keep a hangover at bay. However, this would not be my first recommendation!

Does anyone have any tips to share with how they deal with hangovers?


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