Take Antacids Before Going To Bed
According to Daniel Fenton, clinical director and GP at London Doctor’s Clinic, taking antacids before going to bed is a great way to stave off a hangover. “They’re are an absolute lifesaver for reducing stomach acid and will help you to feel less nauseous the following morning.” There are several types on the market and they work in different ways to reduce stomach acid and help you feel less nauseous. The most readily available over the counter are calcium based tablets or drinks (such as Gaviscon) that neutralise the acid. Other over-the-counter tablets such as ranitidine and omeprazole work at a cellular level to reduce acid production in the first place. These shouldn’t be taken long term and you should certainly go see a doctor if any sort of discomfort or nausea continues.
Stick To Clear Alcohol
We've all experienced the red wine hangover. There are ingredients in many drinks called congeners which contribute significantly to that morning-after grogginess. Put simply, congeners contain highly toxic chemicals (methanol, isopentanol and acetone) so avoiding drinks with them in should reduce a hangover somewhat. Drinks to avoid include: red wine, fortified wine, whisky, cognac and tequila. Bourbon is exceptionally high in them. Vodka, gin and white rum have fewer congeners, so you may get less of a hangover per unit of alcohol consumed. In fact, vodka contains almost no congeners at all.
Hair Of The Dog
Drinking through a hangover does kill the pain for a short time, but it will only make things worse a few hours later. After drinking alcohol, your body converts ethanol into the toxic chemical acetaldehyde, which is largely to blame for that hangover feeling. This is then broken down by liver enzymes into non-toxic compounds that are either used in the body for energy or excreted. If lots of alcohol is drunk in a short space of time, the liver enzymes get overwhelmed, so acetaldehyde builds up, making you feel nauseous and headachy. Having a drink the morning after might just be masking the symptoms of your hangover or, as some believe, the toxic substance methanol is also produced when alcohol is broken down – and this is flushed out faster by drinking more alcohol the next day. Either way, the medical consensus is that hair of the dog just delays the inevitable hangover.
Go For A Jog
Exercise can make you feel better because it gets the endorphins going and consequently lifts your mood. Just be careful if you’ve had a real bender: your liver will already be feeling pretty beaten up and over-exercising can wreck it even more. Opt for a light jog to get the blood pumping rather than a half-marathon sweat fest. Once you’re done, drink a lot of water as the fluid you lose in ‘sweating it out’ needs to be replaced – and then some. Rehydrate with electrolyte-rich sports drinks as well as water to help replace the salts and sugars lost by the run and the diuretic effect of alcohol.
Take Your Vitamins
The major after effect of a big night out is feeling exhausted, burnt out or at least fatigued. One of the most abundant minerals in the body is magnesium, which is involved in more than 300 reactions, including energy production, muscle and nerve function, and sleep regulation. B vitamins also get depleted with alcoholic excess, so should be replaced. Viridian Nutrition’s D-Ribose offers high potency support, which won’t cure you completely but will make you feel much more spritely.
Rehydrate With Water & Salts
Alcohol is a diuretic. It makes you pee more. Drinking too much of it can cause severe dehydration symptoms including headaches, dry mouth, tiredness and thirst. Ensure you are drinking plenty of water during the evening: for every alcoholic beverage, drink a glass of water and you will reduce your chances of severe dehydration. If this is simply unachievable, try to have a couple of pints of water before going to sleep. Even better, go for an isotonic mixture (i.e. a balance of different salts and minerals in water) as this helps rehydrate better than water alone. Rehydration salts such as Dioralyte are excellent at rehydrating and replacing important minerals lost when we drink alcohol.
Scientists in India reckon there is a home juice remedy that actually works to kick a hangover. According to Dr Shraddha Srinivasan at Mumbai’s Institute of Chemical Technology, a concoction of coconut water, pear and lime juice can boost the activity of two enzymes, breaking down the alcohol inside the body and speeding up the recovery process after a big night out. His work suggests the drink should be 65% pear juice, 25% lime juice and 10% coconut water for optimal results. You can boost the healing effect further by eating cheese, tomato and cucumber at the same time. The study also recommends trying black tea, green tea, probiotic yoghurt, wheat, turmeric, ginger, dates and cocoa, but avoiding milk, oats, peanuts, nutmeg, cumin, cinnamon, vitamin C, coffee and eggs.
Feed The Pain
Sometimes this is the only way to get through the fog of a hangover. There is some scientific proof behind this remedy. After a big night out, blood sugar levels will be very low (hypoglycaemia). Eating little and often is the best way to regulate blood sugar levels as it gives your liver an easier ride as it races to produce sugar-regulation hormones such as insulin. After a hammering with alcohol, the liver can be overwhelmed with breaking down your night’s intake, so insulin regulation can be affected. This often results in you feeling hungry but not wanting to eat a lot. If you can eat complex (whole-grain) carbs little and often, they will help regulate your blood sugar, making you feel more energetic and less hungry.
Disclaimer: It's important to seek medical advice or even the advice of your pharmacist if you feel unwell and before taking any medication.