It’s pretty bad to have to wake up early. Even worse when it’s to the nagging beep of your alarm clock. But the absolute worst is waking up with a hangover and then having to pull yourself out of bed to go to work. Hell, only a couple of hours ago the party train was moving and life was good! The drinks were flowing, you were the life of the party and tomorrow was never coming. Now… you have a large drum banging in your head, your mouth tastes like heard of cattle have set up residence and your stomach is threatening to violently rebel.
As great as you think alcohol may be, it does have a rather aggressive effect on the body. Alcohol interferes with the brains communication pathways and can even hinder the way you speak and move. So when you’re on the dance floor thinking you’re throwing some cool moves, you may just be relying on alcohol to enhance your coolness.
A kid once said to me “Do you get hangovers?” I said, “To get hangovers you have to stop drinking.”
– Lemmy Kilmister
The increased pitter-patter of your heartbeat that you attribute to making eye contact with that gorgeous girl across the room could indeed be arrhythmia caused by one too many drinks. The heart can also be negatively affected by alcohol.
Everyone you speak to claims to have the ultimate cure for a hangover. Remedies can range from a little ‘hair of the dog’ to drinking a concoction of orange juice, raw eggs and hot sauce. Hot sauce? Sounds a little dangerous! Having said that hot sauce, specifically Tabasco, contains capsicum. Capsicum is believed to have pain-relieving properties. So perhaps those homegrown remedies are not so far fetched.
There is no miracle cure for a heavy night out but there are some little tricks to limit the pain of a good time.
Prevention is the Best Cure
The obvious answer to avoiding a hangover is don’t drink at all! But where’s the fun in that? If you are determined to have a night out on the town, there are a few things you can do before hitting the bars and clubs.
Water, the Elixir of Life
Alcohol consumption leads to dehydration. The symptoms of which include, a dry mouth, sleepiness, thirst, decreased urination, dizziness and worst of all a headache. So how does one prevent dehydration? Drinking water along with the alcoholic beverage is the most effective way. Have a couple of glasses before you start drinking and then alternate a glass of water between drinks throughout the night.
Also, it can help to drink a long glass of water before you go to bed. Alternatively, if you can, an electrolyte solution is even better. Electrolytes are important to hydration and replacing them can assist in the road to recovery.
Salt, it just doesn’t help
Bars are known to put out salty snacks to encourage their customer’s thirst. Thirst leads to additional beers and additional beers leads to drunkenness and drunkenness leads to dehydration. Rather have snacks that are low in salt or better yet have a good dinner before going out, perhaps a pasta or rice based dish. Food, specifically heavy food, will slow the absorption of alcohol into your system and the longer alcohol takes to get into your bloodstream the longer it takes to get drunk.
Stick to One Kind of Drink
Sticking to one kind of drink allows you to keep track of how much you’re drinking and it can help prevent adding an upset stomach to the list of your hangover ills.
Also, make sure you stay with the light drinks; white wines, vodka or gin. They contain less congeners, substances used in the fermentation process. Congeners are responsible for most of the aroma and tastes in alcoholic beverages. Stay clear of red wine, whisky and dark rums.
Don’t Touch the Fizzy Drinks
Carbonation that is found in fizzy drinks has been known to expand the surface area of the stomach making absorption faster. Ever notice when you have a glass of champagne it goes straight to your head. That’s because the bubbles in the champagne are expanding the surface of your stomach area and the alcohol is being absorbed faster. The faster it’s absorbed the quicker the effect.
As tempting as that shot may be, avoid it! They are useful if all you want to do is get drunk quickly, but if you’d like to enjoy the evening and avoid a hangover, stay away. There have been many times where the night has been moving along at a leisurely pace and then that one friend leads you to the bar and buys a round of something sweet and deadly. A few shots later and the night has escalated and before you know it, the dawn is creeping up on you. It’s better to pace yourself, enjoy the evening and be ready for work in the morning.
If Prevention doesn’t Work
So the night did run away with you. Now what? You’re lying in bed, cursing the alarm and you have no choice but to go to work. Taking the day off is not an option. How do you survive?
Hide your Hangover
If the night before you have an idea that the morning is going to bring a dry mouth, sleepiness and a headache set your alarm clock for fifteen minutes earlier than usual. This will ensure enough time to get yourself presentable before emerging into the big bad world of work.
A cold shower can do wonders in restoring ones energy! Apply your makeup and shave as usual. Don’t deviate too much from your routine but do note things like eye drops can assist with those red eyes. Extra perfume or deodorant applied regularly throughout the day will help mask the alcohol smell from your pores.
A pack of chewing gum should be carried at all times and used liberally. This will come in especially handy in a meeting with clients or the boss.
Your clothing choice on a hangover day can be important! Dress to feel better. If you look good, you’ll feel good.
The Greasy Breakfast
A greasy breakfast of fried food is a favorite remedy for a hangover. Piling on the bacon and eggs may only give you indigestion. The best thing to eat is something bland and easy to digest, a slice of buttered toast perhaps.
When you do get to the office make sure you act normal. Get there on time and complete the tasks you’re required to. Don’t dwell on feeling unwell or tired. If you do the day will stretch on eternally and you will feel even worse.
If you do admit to colleagues that you’re feeling under the weather avoid their advice. Beware of those who suggest having another drink. Not only is it not advisable to drink on the job but also it will not assist in curing your hangover. More alcohol will just slow the process of rehydration and you will end up feeling worse later on.
Caffeine; the Cure?
Some swear by coffee or Coca-Cola. If you’re addicted to caffeine and need your daily fix of coffee or Coke don’t deprive yourself for the sake of a hangover. But if your stomach can cope, go for it!
When caffeine is not your thing, rather drink lots of water and when your stomach allows have something to eat. Carbohydrate heavy foods, like toast or crackers, will help bring your blood sugar levels back to normal. When you consume lots of alcohol it has an effect on the liver and the processing of sugars. Your liver is too busy focusing on handling the alcohol and everything else is neglected. As a result, your blood sugar stays low and you become tired and often irritable. Eating once the alcohol has left your system will help with this.
An Alker-Seltzer or Three
Alka-Seltzer, an old favourite, contains sodium bicarbonate, which settles the stomach by neutralizing antacid. Another well-liked remedy is Pepto-Bismol. The magic pink elixir will ease your stomach woes by quelling your heartburn, replacing electrolytes and easing the nausea. It will not remove the headache but that can be dealt with next.
Medicate the Pain Away
If your head is pounding and that dry taste in your mouth just won’t go away, try medicating. Be careful and make sure to take only non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as, aspirin or ibuprofen. An antacid or two may help alleviate the unsettled stomach. If medicating, remember to drink lots of water!
Stay away from the Light
Along with the other joys of a hangover, you may find yourself hypersensitive to bright light or loud music. Turn your colleagues down and if you choose to venture into the light, be sure to wear our sunglasses.
Get out and Jog
This would not be my favorite approach to curing a hangover but some swear by it. You should get out and exercise, sweat the alcohol out of your pores. The only thing exercising can do is produce endorphins. Endorphins assist in lifting your mood, so if nothing else it may make you feel better.
Still Feeling Bad?
There is really nothing more to be done. If you can’t go home and hit the sack, suffer through it quietly. Your workmates, I’m sure, do not want to share in your misery so be sure to keep it to yourself.
Sleep is by far the best cure for a hangover. The body has an amazing ability to cure itself so sleep is the answer. If you over indulge, head home, drink some water, eat a good meal and get some sleep. Tomorrow morning’s alarm clock will bring a brighter less painful day!