Cheers to the freakin’ weekend… but not to the hangover that comes with it. If you’re still waking up every Sunday with a splitting headache, it might be time to recognize that your (party) glory days are behind you (just because you can order a drink like an adult doesn’t mean you should keep ordering).
But hey, even the most responsible of us can be guilty of occasionally sipping one too many glasses of vino. You might be tempted to try quick-fixes like supposedly hangover-curing workouts, hangover-helping recipes and even ice cream that soothes hangovers (we’ll definitely be trying this one), but half the battle is prevention. Here are some ways to make sure your long night of drinking isn’t followed by a miserable after-party on your couch the entire next day.
1. Take multivitamins. Some experts believe that taking an extra vitamin or drinking antioxidant-loaded juices, like pomegranate or acai, can help prevent a hangover, since you lose a lot of vitamins during a big night out, which can also lead to dehydration and inflammation. So pop a multivitamin as soon as you wake up for an infusion of B12.
2. Eat a balanced meal. A bunch of wimpy salad leaves aren’t going to do you much good after you’ve downed your fifth beer. But the answer isn’t scarfing down a bunch of bread to “soak it up” either (ah, college). Ideally, whatever you eat before or during a night of drinking should be a good balance of carbs, protein and fat, to help your body metabolize alcohol more quickly. Think: A turkey sando on whole wheat toast, salmon or a chicken salad with beets.
3. Pick your poison — carefully. The carbonation in Champagne is known to make you drunker faster; the carbon dioxide in the bubbly stuff increases the pressure on your stomach, pushing alcohol out into your bloodstream more quickly. And dark liquors like whiskey and rum have more impurities than clear ones like vodka and gin. Splurge on a mid-range to high-shelf liquor, if you can, since the impurities are filtered out even more.
4. Quit smoking. Even if you’re not a “smoker,” some of us have that bad “I only smoke when I drink” habit. But studies have proved that smoking while drinking can significantly increase the risk and severity for a hangover. So stop bumming cigs outside the bar after you have a couple cocktails, already.
5. Don’t go crazy chugging water. Before you go to bed after a night of drinking, a glass or two of water is definitely a good idea. But trying to flood the alcohol out of your system is counter-productive, because it’s going to be impossible to get enough sleep to prevent a hangover when you’re getting up to pee every hour. A better rule to follow: A glass of water every hour while you’re drinking, or after every drink.
6. Reach for the Advil. Consider popping an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory like Advil before hitting the sack. Your drunk brain might have a little trouble with the child-proof cap, but it’ll be worth it.
7. Order eggs. We’ve all heard the advice of eating a greasy breakfast to cure a hangover, but what you really need to focus on is some plain eggs that won’t upset your stomach. Also, eggs contain something called cysteine, which can help break down toxins in the liver that are known to aggravate hangovers.
8. Skip the brunch beverages. Using the old “hair of the dog” theory to justify that Bloody Mary when you feel awful during Sunday brunch is completely harebrained. All it does is stave off your hangover ’til later. Sunday night hangover? No thanks.
9. Go outside. When the world is spinning and the light hurts your eyes, the last thing you want to do is throw on yoga pants and sneakers and hit the road. But going outside and getting some fresh oxygen can help increase the rate that alcohol toxins are broken down in your system.
10. Grab some seltzer. This may sound counter-intuitive because we already told you the bubbles in Champagne are bad news for hangovers, but it turns out that regular, plain soda water can speed up your body’s metabolism and limit your exposure to the toxins that take over when your body digests alcohol. Hmm… does that mean a vodka soda is practically a health food? (Answer: No. But nice try.)
11. Get some potassium. It’s important to replenish your electrolytes when you’ve had too much to drink, and potassium-rich foods like bananas and spinach are a great way to do it. Or, if you need a shortcut, reach for Gatorade or Pedialyte.
How do you prevent (or fix) a hangover? Tweet your tips to @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)