The light coming in through your window feels so bright. Your head feels like it’s about to explode, you’d kill for a glass of water and your stomach is churning.
You feel groggy —a little dopey and a little less coordinated… All the while muttering something about never drinking again.
Welcome to your hangover my friend.
How great would it be if after a night out on schnapps you could feel fresh the next morning despite the shenanigans of the previous night. And is there something special you can take to tame hangovers— some kind of magic pill?
Perhaps you could build your own Christmas hangover-clinic, let’s explore how you can make that happen.
What is a hangover?
A hangover is characterized by the constellation of unpleasant physical and mental symptoms that occur after a bout of heavy alcohol drinking.
Physical symptoms of a hangover include:
- General discomfort
- Loss of appetite
- Fatigue, muscle aches
- The shakes
- increased sensitivity to light and sound
How do hangovers happen?
Hangovers “happen” because of alcohol and its effects on the brain.
Hangovers throw the body out of homeostasis, resulting in hormonal and metabolic changes that are plausible causes of fatigue and cognitive impairment.
Among the hormones affected by alcohol are insulin, cortisol, testosterone, aldosterone, and growth hormone.
Among the neurotransmitters affected by alcohol are epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline), GABA, glutamate, dopamine, serotonin, and the endocannabinoid system.
Here are the essential tools you NEED to build your hangover clinic:
#1- Pre-party tips
You can reduce the severity of upcoming hangovers by paying attention to hydration and sleep.
During a typical night of alcohol-driven debauchery, you could get far less sleep than you normally would and even forget to drink water.
Hydration: Staying hydrated throughout the event will not necessarily save you from a hangover the next day but it can definitely lessen your pain.
Quality Sleep: Research suggests that, although alcohol can induce sleepiness, once it’s gone from your body you can find yourself more wakeful than usual, which can lead to worse sleep quality.
#2- The foundation.
Build the foundation of your hangover clinic with these:
Caffeine : The mental alertness you get from stimulant can temporarily offset the brain fog and lethargy. But it won’t actually make your hangover fade away any faster.
NSAIDs : such as aspirin and ibuprofen: are more than just pain relievers. They also help reduce inflammation and can reduce headaches
Water: Alcohol is a diuretic which means it increases YOUR need to urinate and can cause some people to be at a higher risk of becoming dehydrated. Drinking plenty of water can help you stay hydrated and reduce the symptoms of dehydration, such as thirst, fatigue, and headache.
Because alcohol is a diuretic, you lose a lot of vitamins and nutrients during a night on the town.
Ginger and Curcumin (Anti-inflammatories) – research has found that these may help to reduce hangover headaches.
Red ginseng (Anti-inflammatory) – Studies have found that Red ginseng has Anti-inflammatory and antifatigue effect and can help relieve the effects of alcohol consumption and hangover symptoms.
Milk thistle – Recent studies have confirmed that Milk thistle, increased levels of glutathione (Glutathione is your body’s main endogenous antioxidant) and has been shown to protect against alcohol-induced oxidative stress.
Vitamin B complex — that includes B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), folic acid, B6 and B12, among others, has been shown to improve mood as these perform a key role in the functioning of the brain and nervous system.
Zinc – Zinc has an important direct influence on alcohol metabolism. Drinkers who consume abundant amounts of dietary zinc metabolize alcohol faster than those who consume relatively lower levels.
Here are the best essential oils for a hangover.
To relieve headaches
To ease nausea
To increase energy
Lastly, you may be tempted to use the old “hair of the dog” method — drinking more alcohol to tame a hangover.
However, the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of this method is generally lacking and it’s likely to prolong your hangover too.
What does this mean to you?
The bottom line is, drinking in moderation, preferably on a full stomach and staying hydrated can help you prevent a hangover in the first place.
To alleviate an upcoming hangover, staying hydrated and getting enough sleep should be your priorities.
Now I would love to hear from you……
- What’s your favourite way to tame a hangover?
Please let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your story.
More about Irena Geller here.