The bubbles are flowing, the cocktails are poured, and the scene is set for a party! We love a good celebration, but let’s face it: nobody loves a hangover. Who has time for headaches, nausea, and being out of commission the entire next day? While the only surefire way to avoid a hangover is to go sans alcohol, you can be proactive and use these strategies to reduce the after effects of a…ahem…”festive” night out.
1) Pre-game with water
Gone are the college days of waking up bright eyed and bushy tailed the morning after a few drinks. Nope, once you hit 30ish the body just doesn’t bounce back as quickly. Since alcohol is a diuretic (aka you pee a lot), the majority of hangover symptoms are a result of dehydration. Your best pre-game drink? Water, water, and more water!
2) Supplement the fun
Since alcohol depletes the body’s vitamin stores, a pre-party supplement isn’t a half bad idea. While not exactly scientifically proven, many people promote popping a vitamin B complex for a stronger post-party rebound. The pill contains B1, B2, folic acid, B6, and the real star, B12, which helps boost energy production and decreases lethargy!
3) Eat or else!
If you’re skipping dinner to “save” calories for fancy drinks later, those fancy drinks on an empty stomach are going to make for a very un-fancy morning. Food is friend, not foe, because it helps slow down the absorption of alcohol. Protein in particular is a best friend for a night out. Eat a meal filled with lean animal protein like chicken or turkey or seafood and choose the mixed nuts over the chips and crackers while mingling before the first pour at a party (via Fitness Magazine).
4) Pace yourself
Slow down, champ. Your body can only metabolize about one drink per hour! That’s one beer, one glass of wine, one shot, or one mixed drink. What to do while you wait for the next round? Dance, eat more protein (hello, bar nuts), or order a “mocktail” like club soda with a lime.
5) Go light
If your drink of choice is on the dark side, you’re already at a disadvantage for the morning after. Compared to light colored alcohols like gin and vodka, dark alcohols like brandy and rum contain more congeners, chemicals that may make your hangover worse. Bourbon in particular has 37 times more congeners than vodka. Now, that’s a completely avoidable “ouch.” Better yet, grab a glass of white wine and sip it slowly.
6) Chase with water
Your body is a machine. Your body eliminates two pints of water trying to process three shots of liquor. But your body with a lack of H20, thanks to the diuretic effects of alcohol, can lead to dehydration, dizziness, and a massive headache in the morning. Here is your biggest must-do rule on this list: for every single drink you order, order a glass of water as a chaser.
Sleep in as long as humanly possible (or what your schedule allows) to let your body metabolize more of the remaining alcohol, and then do these three things to make your morning less hangover-y.
7) Sip to soothe
If your first instinct is to reach for a cup of coffee after a few too many martinis, think again. Just like alcohol, coffee is a diuretic and could dehydrate your body even more. Instead, brew a pot of ginger tea or peppermint tea. Both can help reduce nausea and stomach pain.
8. Skip the greasy grub
Yes, we know people swear by a big plate of greasy diner food as the end all, cure all for a hangover. But, there is actually no scientific proof that greasy grub should be the go-to. Instead, munch on pretzels and bananas to make up for the loss of salt and potassium from a night of frequent bathroom breaks and then crack a few eggs to reap the benefits of cysteine, an amino acid that can help kick an alcohol-induced headache! Research has shown that amino acid and mineral-filled asparagus can also help reduce hangover symptoms. Asparagus omelet with a banana smoothie and a side of pretzels, anyone?
9. Bypass a boozy brunch
When you pony up to a Bloody Mary or Mimosa at brunch, you’re just filling your body with the same toxins it’s currently trying to eject. Since your body lost lots of electrolytes last night, drink coconut water and healthy sports drinks like Aspire Beverages.
The average hangover lasts 9 hours and 45 minutes. Those people probably didn’t read this article. Remember these tips, drink safely, and enjoy your holidays without a miserable morning after!