Summer is the season of fun in the sun, but it can also be the season of the hangover. School and college are out, people feel a little more irresponsible, and those long days in the sun can lead to long nights in the bar. It is always best to imbibe in moderation, but you should know how to look after yourself when you overdo it. There is no guaranteed method for avoiding a hangover, but if you follow these five tips, you can stay healthy without paying too much of a price for your moment of fun.
Drink Lots of Water
It’s no secret that drinking enough water can help avoid a headache. Dehydration shrinks the tissues around the brain, creating that “head-pounding” hungover feeling many drinkers have come to know so well. Going one-for-one (drinking one glass of water for each alcoholic drink) can help stave off dehydration and prevent other hangover symptoms as well, such as dizziness, thirst, and a dry mouth. It is especially important that you drink lots of water when you are partying in the summer because you may become dehydrated simply going about your day. If you spend all day on the beach, make sure you drink a large glass of water before you go out.
…Or Sports Drinks
If you feel like you need to bring in the “big guns” to fight your hangover, you may need to forgo the water in place of an energy drink that contains electrolytes. Alcohol is a diuretic, so it speeds up the elimination of electrolytes and other minerals from your body. A sports drink containing potassium and sodium will help correct the imbalance. In addition, the glucose in the drink may also help you feel less faint, especially if you haven’t eaten.
There’s no reason you need to mope indoors all day just because you have a hangover. Breathing exercises and gentle yoga poses can get oxygen flowing through your body, relieving stress and helping the body to repair itself. Oxygen increases the rate at which your body breaks down toxins (and alcohol certainly is a toxin). Try a yoga class, or a stroll in the fresh air. Once you start moving, your body will thank you for it. So get outside and appreciate the summer weather (even if you do feel terrible).
It might be a myth that greasy food helps a hangover, but you will feel better after you get some food in your stomach. Heavy alcohol consumption has been associated with hypoglycemia, which can make you feel faint. If you cannot face the cold pizza or a plate of bacon and eggs, try eating a slice of toast or some crackers. If you go out for a hangover breakfast (or brunch) with friends, then you can all share the misery together. You might not feel like eating at first, but food is what your body needs.
If you feel the need to indulge, try avoiding dark-colored drinks. Brownish spirits like bourbon and whiskey contain substances known as congeners, which have been proven to lead to worse hangovers. So try a vodka tonic instead of a bourbon this summer.
The only reliable way to avoid a hangover is to not drink at all. Try drinking less the next time you hang out with friends; you might be pleasantly surprised at how convenient it is to not spend a lovely day feeling awful.