I had an absolutely glorious Christmas full of delicious food, wine and cocktails. Whilst I didn’t overdo it this year, I am sure there will be some of us who over indulged just a little. After all it is the season to eat, drink and be merry.
I thought it would be nice to take a brief look at hangovers, the symptoms, the cause and maybe, possible cures. Perhaps cure, is to strong a word, I don’t know that a hang over is cured, I think we are aiming more for recovery therapy, than a true cure.
So what causes a hangover? The obvious answer is drinking to excess, but that isn’t exactly what I mean. I guess I am asking, why does something which feels so good at the time, hurt so much the next day?
It seems there is a multitude of reasons. Alcohol is toxic to all of your body’s organs. Whilst your organs are busy dealing with the toxic onslaught they are flushing not only the toxins from your body but also essential fluid, vitamins and minerals. Your body will also be working very hard to eliminate the toxins so you will feel tired. Alcohol induced sleep doesn’t not produce the same sleep stages as regular sleep so it is not so restful.
So now you understand why you feel so tired and ill. What can we do to fix this state?
The first thing you should do when you get home from a big night out is drink a glass of milk. Alcohol is a diuretic, and milk is an anti diuretic. When you drink alcohol the kidneys work overtime producing urine, this drains the body of fluids. So if you were to have a glass of water before bed you would only end up needing to go to the toilet again. Drinking milk stops the kidneys overproducing urine so you will become less dehydrated.
As a bonus, not needing to go to the toilet as often reduces sleep disturbance caused by needing to get up to go to the toilet. As I said earlier, sleep is most important in dealing with a hangover. Interrupted sleep will contribute to the general tiredness and headaches associated with hangovers. So remember that rest is your best friend. It will give your body the opportunity to recover. You should attempt to sleep as much as possible the following day.
When you do wake up in the morning a teaspoon of bicarbonate soda in a glass of water will help to reduce the acidity of our body. The acidity is in part responsible for the headaches, joint aches and dehydration. The Bicarbonate soda is an alkaline, so it will neutralise the acidity helping to re balance the body and reduce the symptoms of hangover.
Does a cooked breakfast help a hangover? Absolutely! The reason we all go for a greasy breakfast is alcohol lowers the body’s production of anti-inflammatory hormones. These hormones are necessary to stop the inflammation in the brain. Also alcohol reduces the production of protective mucous in the stomach lining. So we actually need a good fatty meal to coat the stomach and stop inflammation.
What if you can’t stomach a cooked breakfast? If you can eat at all there are a few foods which should help, honey and banana are both high in potassium and sodium which would have been lost due to dehydration. Try a piece of toast with a nice amount of butter, honey and banana. Your body needs carbohydrates to raise the blood sugar levels, this will assist in stabilising any nausea. If that doesn’t appeal to you what about a banana smoothie?
Replenish your body with fruit juice and water. Once you have lined your stomach and neutralized the acidity in your body have a glass of 50/50 juice to water. The vitamin C will speed up your metabolism of alcohol by the liver and the water will continue to re hydrate your system.
If you are a coffee drinker it is okay at this point to have one coffee. A coffee can ease headaches due to the effect it has on neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters relay signals of pain to the brain.
Caffeine also helps absorption of pain killers so any medication you take with a coffee will have an effect faster. However have only one coffee as it is a diuretic.
Through out the day continue to rest and hydrate. Isotonic sports drinks speed up recovery from hangovers as they contain small amounts of body salts and enhance fluid absorption faster than water. So these may be a consideration to help with the dehydration throughout the day.
If your headache persists throughout the day try a cold compresses to the area. Alcohol increases blood flow to the brain which can cause the throbbing head associated with a hangover. If the blood flow is reduced symptoms may be reduced.
So my sweeties, I hope you are feeling better. Remember we still have to see in the New Year yet, so have fun in this festive season and be well.
If I have missed a hangover cure that works for you please let me know… I just may need it for New Years Day.