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By Julie-Ann Sherlock
Okay, let’s get the jokes out of the way first. Yes, I am Irish, and yes, I am a walking stereotype in that I do enjoy an adult beverage from time to time. And, especially as I get older, hangovers are occasionally a part of my life.
I am lucky I rarely get bad ones. I am usually just a little tired, lazy and maybe have a headache. These symptoms are all relatively easily remedied with paracetamol, lots of fluids and a day watching Netflix (without the chill!).
Occasionally (looking at you Sunday after my recent birthday party!), they are more intense and involve an upset stomach and a feeling that I will never EVER want to drink again. Apart from questioning my life choices, I have a few go-to cures when this happens.
But before I give you my guide to surviving a hangover, let’s look at the science behind them.
Why Do I Feel Like I Am Dying?
When I googled “Why do hangovers happen?” I almost flung my laptop across the room at the smartass answer, “Hangovers are caused by drinking too much alcohol.”
No shit, Sherlock!
However, thankfully, the article by the renowned American healthcare institute, the Mayo Clinic, explains why we feel so crap after a night of imbibing. Some of the symptoms caused by alcohol are:
Dehydration: Drinking alcohol makes you urinate more than usual, which can cause dehydration. Symptoms include being extra thirsty and some dizziness and lightheadedness.
Inflamed Immune System: Alcohol can trigger a reaction in your immune system, bringing symptoms like memory issues or an inability to concentrate. It can also lead to a decreased appetite and a lethargy or lack of interest in doing things.
Upset Stomach: That beer or wine stirs up the acid in your stomach, producing more and slowing the digestion process. This may lead to pain, nausea, vomiting, discomfort or bloating.
Blood Sugar Dips: Like being hungry, alcohol can cause drops in blood sugar, making you feel tired, shaky and extra moody. In extreme cases, you may be weak or experience seizures.
Headaches: With alcohol causing your blood vessels to expand, a throbbing in your head may occur.
Sleep Issues: While you may feel like you sleep like the dead after drinking, sleep quality is not as good. This adds to your tiredness and lack of interest in things the next day.
Is There A Cure?
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The smartass answer is not to drink. But, since many of us enjoy a tipple, we need something more realistic. Some swear by drinking more alcohol, known in Ireland as “the hair of the dog that bit you”. But maybe doing more damage to your liver isn’t the best idea!
While there is no scientifically proven cure for a hangover, these remedies may help alleviate some symptoms.
Drink Pickle Juice
Yes, you read that right. Pickle juice is a popular hangover cure in some parts of the world as the vinegar may help to restore electrolytes and balance your body’s pH levels. Additionally, the salt can help to rehydrate your body and reduce nausea.
So, next time you feel hungover, try sipping some pickle juice. Yum.
2. Eat A Banana
Bananas are a great source of potassium, an electrolyte your body loses when you drink alcohol. Eating a banana can help to replenish it and reduce muscle cramps and weakness.
As bananas are easy to digest, they can also help to settle your stomach.
3. Have A Cold Shower
A cold shower may not sound like the most appealing hangover cure, but it can be effective. It can help reduce inflammation and constrict blood vessels, alleviating headaches.
The cold water’s shock can also help wake you up and increase your alertness.
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4. Drink Coconut Water
Coconut water contains electrolytes, helping to rehydrate your body after a night of drinking. The antioxidants it has can reduce inflammation and boost your immune system.
5. Try acupressure
Some believe the traditional Chinese medicine technique of applying pressure to specific points on the body can help alleviate hangover symptoms. One point to try is the “hegu” point, which is located between the thumb and index finger.
Applying pressure to this point for a few minutes can help to reduce headaches and nausea. It’s worth a try!
My cure? A Vitamin B tablet, Salt and vinegar crisps (potato chips), carbs (like crackers and bread), lots of water, some 7up or Sprite and taking it easy on the sofa.
While these hangover cures may not work for everyone, they are worth a try. Remember, drinking moderately and staying hydrated is the best way to prevent a hangover. So drink responsibly or be prepared for the hangover!
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