What exactly is a hangover and how do I avoid it?
Chances are many of you are suffering from one right now, but what exactly is a hangover and how in God’s name does one go about avoiding it?
If somebody asks what appears to be the fairly rhetorical question ‘How did I get this bloody hangover?’ they’re likely to be met with a response along the lines of ‘because you drank too much, you idiot’. Ask a stupid question and all that.
Delve a little deeper into the exact causes of a hangover, however, and you’ll find that it’s not so simple.
So what exactly causes a hangover?
It's partly alcohol's diuretic effect, which makes the body lose too much water and causes dehydration.
We hardly need to remind you, but typical symptoms include a pounding headache, raging thirst, depression, and feeling sick. You can also be more sensitive to noise and bright lights. Drinking also lowers your blood sugar levels so you may feel weak and tired as your body works to expel the alcohol from your system. All depressingly familiar, right?
So how do I go about avoiding one?
You might have heard the following advice thousands of times before, but believe it or not, it actually works.
Here are a few tips:
Eat before you go out - even a bowl of cereal or a couple of pieces of toast will line your stomach and help slow down the absorption of alcohol.
Pace yourself - slow down your drinking and avoid top-ups at parties as it's harder to keep track of how much you're drinking.
Try alternating each alcoholic drink with a refreshing non-alcoholic drink - this gives your body a chance to break down the alcohol already in your system and will help prevent dehydration.
As we said, you may well have heard them before, but how many times have you heeded the advice? The next night you go out, try taking those tips on board and see what difference it makes.
A hangover is simply nature's way of telling you that you've overdone it, so next time try and take steps before and after so you can enjoy your night without that horrible sinking feeling the following morning. It'll be well worth it.