It’s that time of year again, and after getting sloshed on Christmas wine we’re all gearing up to get even more smashed on New Year’s champagne. But even though ‘tis the season nobody likes to wake up the next morning feeling like they’ve been shanked by the ghost of Christmas past.
But let’s be real: is the risk of a hangover going to stop you from drinking? Of course not. Should it? That depends on how bad your hangovers get. What isn’t up for debate is the fact there are real, concrete steps everyone can take to avoid spending their New Year’s day hovering over a toilet rather than enjoying the afterglow of having survived an epic party none the worse for wear.
Here are five things you can do to avoid a hangover.
Don’t Drink Too Much
Maybe this is a little obvious, but some people just don’t know where their limits are. The simplest and easiest way to avert a hangover is to know your limits and stay within them. Instead of having a million beers followed by a round of champagne, maybe cut back a few brews than you’re used to. When the champagne comes around, maybe grab a half glass. Moderation is your key to surviving the holidays without having any regrets.
Be Well Rested
Alcohol consumption screws with your sleep, and when most of us already don’t get enough of it, that can cause some serious problems the morning after. On the night before you know you’re going to party, try and make sure to get a solid 8 hours of sleep in. Maybe even take a nap the afternoon before you go out. Ensuring you’re well rested will also ensure your body is better able to handle the excessive amount of alcohol you’ll undoubtedly poor into it later on.
Have A Solid Meal Before Partying
Just like making sure you’ve got enough sleep, make sure you’ve got enough fuel in you before you spend all night drinking. There’s actually a few reasons for this, but there’s two big ones that really help mitigate a hangover.
The first is that it’s not necessarily how much you drink but how your body metabolizes alcohol that determines how bad a hangover you get. Having some food in you ensures that your body both digests the alcohol at a reasonable speed (rather than all at once if you’re on an empty stomach) but also ensures your body has the materials it needs to get that alcohol out of you at a fast clip too.
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Second, what you eat matters a lot too. Easily digested things like processed foods and sweets will be gone from your digestive tract way too early to help when you down barrels of alcohol. To prevent that, eat a well-balanced meal with complex carbs, fats, and proteins before a night of drinking. Especially helpful is a bit of red meat which contains amino acids and B vitamins - just what your body needs to process alcohol.
Stay Hydrated, But Don’t Overdo it
Alcohol can make you dehydrated, which will make a hangover way worse than it has to be. While your downing shot after shot, be sure to mix in a bit of water every so often to keep yourself hydrated and your juices flowing. Not only will this prevent dehydration, it will also spread out your alcohol intake so it’ll be easier for you to determine when you’ve had enough to drink.
But don’t drink too much water! Drinking too much water can cause even more stress on the body than just the alcohol does, and it can also prevent a good night’s rest when you’re finally done partying since you’ll be going up to the bathroom every hour. If you realize you skipped water all evening, have a glass before bed and have a full glass there to get rid of the pasties the following morning when you wake up.
Before Bed, Pop A Multivitamin And An Ibuprofen
Most people think the bulk of a hangover comes from dehydration, but that’s wrong. The worst parts of a hangover come from inflammation caused by the alcohol itself as well as how your body can become stripped of nutrients as it desperately tries to stave off poisoning.
Thus, the best thing you can do before bed is to pop an ibuprofen tablet and a nice multivitamin. The ibuprofen will help you relax and take away the inflammation, while the multivitamin will help restore all those important nutrients and minerals you lost.
But remember to stay away from acetaminophen tablets! These painkillers don’t mix well with alcohol and you can damage your liver. Ibuprofen or bust.