Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hangover Prevention Tips

How to Avoid Hangovers from Drinking too Much Alcohol
© Sharon Kirby

It is possible to avoid a hangover caused by excessive alcohol consumption, yet still manage to enjoy a few drinks. Here are some hangover prevention tips.

Wondering how to prevent a hangover from drinking too much alcohol? Extreme thirst, throbbing headaches, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, irritability, shakiness, and sensitivity to light and sound are all symptoms of a hangover from overindulging in alcoholic beverages. There are however, some hangover prevention strategies that can be employed to reduce the unpleasant consequences of a night on the booze.

Don't Drink Alcohol on an Empty Stomach
Do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Before drinking alcohol, eat a substantial meal, along with a glass of milk to line the stomach and slow down the passage of alcohol into the system. In this instance eating a meal high in fat will be beneficial, because it will slow down the rate of alcohol absorption, delay the feeling of being drunk, and help to prevent irritation of the stomach lining. Eating little and often while drinking alcohol has the same effect.

Don't Mix Alcoholic Drinks, this Makes a Hangover Worse
Mixing different types of alcoholic drinks is a major cause of hangovers. Different drinks contain different chemicals, which when combined, can exacerbate the effects of a hangover because the body has a wider variety of substances to deal with.

Congeners are by-products formed during the fermentation and aging process of dark-coloured alcoholic drinks, such as red wine, brandy, whiskey, dark rum and port, and are thought to make hangovers worse. Drink white wine instead of red, or clear spirits instead of coloured, such as vodka, gin or white rum to help prevent a hangover.

Drink Plenty of Water to Prevent Dehydration
Drinking water in between alcoholic drinks, and before bed, can help prevent a hangover. Alcohol is a diuretic and causes dehydration, which manifests itself as the splitting headache and horrendous thirst with which most people who have experienced a hangover are familiar.

Dehydration leads to an excessive loss of electrolytes and low blood sugar levels. Drinking an isotonic sports drink and eating a simple piece of toast after a drinking session may help to address these imbalances and reduce hangover symptoms in the morning. Don’t drink coffee before bed, it can worsen the effects of dehydration and affect sleep quality.

Drink Less Alcohol to Avoid a Hangover
A hangover can be avoided by limiting the amount of alcohol that is drunk. This is stating the obvious, but there are several ways of limiting alcohol intake while still having a few drinks. Try alternating alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones (such as water or orange juice). If drinking wine, have white wine spritzers. Skip out drinks rounds if necessary.

It is important that people know their individual limits before they start drinking, and that they keep to them - one alcoholic drink per hour is a good rule of thumb.

Get a Good Night's Sleep
One of the symptoms of a hangover is feeling overly tired. Although it may be easy to fall asleep quickly after a few drinks, alcohol disrupts normal sleeping patterns, leading to lethargy and sluggishness. Try to ensure a long, undisturbed night's sleep, and avoid getting up early the next day.

In addition to this, don't go to sleep immediately after finishing drinking. By staying awake and sobering up a bit first, the body's metabolism (which slows down during sleep) will be active enough to get rid of some of the alcohol, and this will help to take the edge off any hangover that is looming.

Implementing one or more of these hangover prevention tips should help to minimize the unpleasant symptoms of drinking too much alcohol.

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