How to get over a Diwali party hangover with tips backed by science
Happily, science can help you deal with the effects of a hangover quickly and efficiently.
There is sufficient evidence that lack of sleep can worsen your hangover
Vodka and gin have very low quantities of congeners and are thus less likely to give you a bad hangover
Remember the one-for-one rule - one glass of water after one drink
It’s 11am. You want to open your eyes but your head is pounding. You want to throw up. You hate the world, but you also hate yourself for drinking so much the previous night. It was a good party, and you had fun. But nothing comes for free. Now the universe has chosen you to deal with the worst hangover ever.
What you do next could determine whether you participate in the next day’s fun and festivities (it’s Diwali week, after all) or retire to your room, close the blinds and sulk.
Happily, science can help you deal with the effects of a hangover quickly and efficiently. Read on to know more:
What is a hangover?
A hangover is a collection of physical effects of excessive alcohol consumption in a short time. None of these effects is pleasant.
How much alcohol is too much? It’s hard to define “excessive” in this case, as each person’s physiology is different and each person has their own capacity for drinking.
Alcohol is believed to activate the pleasure centres in the brain. However, it has its downside. The late Alexander Paton, a physician who specialised in the study and treatment of alcohol misuse, wrote: “(alcohol consumption) … is accompanied by physiological changes such as flushing, sweating, tachycardia (faster heartbeat), and increases in blood pressure, probably because of stimulation of the hypothalamus and increased release of sympathomimetic amines and pituitary-adrenal hormones. The kidneys secrete more urine, not only because of the fluid drunk but also because of the osmotic effect of alcohol and inhibition of secretion of antidiuretic hormone.”
The TLDR version: alcohol is bad for you, and makes you feel really awful the next morning.
Hangover, what hangover?
Most hangovers subside within a few hours - 24 hours is the maximum. There is no cure for a hangover, as such. However, there are a few things you can do to help alleviate the symptoms.
Yep, first and foremost, rest. And not just because you deserve it after last night’s splendid work. There is sufficient evidence that lack of sleep can worsen your hangover. So it’s perhaps for the better that you woke up at 11am. In case you didn’t go right back to sleep.
A big part of the reason you feel terrible when you’re hungover is that you’re dehydrated. So re-hydrate yourself. Drink lots and lots of water. The best time to do that is while you’re drinking (one drink, one glass of water) and then just before you go to sleep if you still have your wits about you.
Have a hearty meal once you’re up and about. Do not stay empty stomach for long. Low blood sugar levels contribute to some of the symptoms of your hangover. A big meal will raise your blood sugar level and likely improve how you’re feeling.
If your headache won’t go away, you can take some pills to ease the pain. Be careful to not take anything with paracetamol in it. Alcohol plus paracetamol can cause severe problems. If you’re feeling nauseous, you can take an antacid. As a general rule, you should check with your doctor before taking any medicine, and also read the label for any warnings.
No hair of the dog, please
Did a friend tell you that they routinely drink beer (or some such) to get over their hangover and that it works every time? Ask them if they also go on a detox diet once in a while to cleanse the toxins out of their system. There’s a good chance your friend doesn’t realise that neither of those work. Alcohol is causing all the symptoms you’re facing. Adding more of it to your system will worsen them.
Yes, but, I don’t want a hangover in the first place
All this is fine, but how can one prevent a hangover, you ask? Good question. Prevention, indeed, is better than cure. The only answer is, don’t drink. We promise you won’t get a hangover.
Let’s face it, you’re probably going to drink at the party. So, the practical way to avoid a hangover is to know your limit and drink in moderation. Also, remember the one-for-one rule - one glass of water after one drink. You’ll thank yourself (and probably us) the next morning.
Eat, then drink
Do not drink on an empty stomach. It increases the absorption rate of alcohol. Also, it is well known that having carbohydrate-rich foods slows down this absorption rate.
Scientists have also found that dark-coloured drinks have a substance called congeners. These are a by-product of the fermentation process. Vodka and gin have very low quantities of congeners and are thus less likely to give you a bad hangover.
Most importantly, do not ever drink and drive. In fact, don’t drink and do anything much at all. If drink you must, then call that cab afterwards. It’s super easy to do, and costs way less than the financial and human cost of an accident.
Disclaimer: Neither myUpchar nor Firstpost encourages alcohol consumption. Alcohol abuse or over-consumption has serious medical consequences, which you can read about on myUpchar, India’s first and most credible source of medical information - Alcohol Addiction: Symptoms and Treatment.
The information provided here is intended to provide free education about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, treatment, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision. You acknowledge and agree that neither myUpchar nor firstpost is liable for any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of the information provided here, or as a result of any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any information provided herein.
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