When you’re dealing with a hangover, your main priority is feeling better as soon as you can. Although no silver-bullet fix exists, you can minimize hangover symptoms and prevent their occurrence in the future. Hangovers come with headaches, dizziness and nausea — all signs you can reduce by taking the proper steps. Getting plenty of rest, avoiding congeners, staying hydrated and having a nutritious breakfast are just a few ways to give your mind and body the jumpstart they need after a night of drinking.
Keep reading for some helpful tips for preventing hangovers!
What Is a Hangover?
Hangovers are the uncomfortable set of symptoms that arise after drinking too much alcohol. These can include:
- Muscle aches
- Stomach pain
- Increased blood pressure
Many factors can contribute to hangovers. For instance, drinking alcohol causes frequent urination, leading to dehydration. When you wake up after a night of heavy drinking, you might experience thirst, fatigue or a headache.
At the same time, you might fall asleep faster after drinking alcohol, though you’ll experience fragmented sleep and wake up earlier, causing fatigue. Plus, alcohol irritates the stomach lining, increasing acid release and resulting in nausea and stomach discomfort for many.
Tips for Preventing Hangovers
The best form of hangover prevention is avoiding alcohol. Yet, if you are looking for ways to prevent a hangover, odds are that advice is irrelevant.
On the other side of the spectrum is “the hair of the dog that bit you” remedy — curing a hangover with another drink. The idea behind this “cure” is that, since a hangover is alcohol withdrawal, you can solve it by drinking more. Yet, this remedy only perpetuates the cycle, as your body has to recover from alcohol toxicity eventually.
Here are some more practical and beneficial hangover remedies.
You may have read that heading and wondered what on Earth congeners are. When most people enjoy a drink, they aren’t thinking about how many congeners it contains, if they even know what they are in the first place! Whether you know what congeners are or not, you have likely experienced their effects if you have ever had a hangover.
Congeners are compounds produced during alcohol fermentation. In general, the more congeners you consume, the worse your hangover will be. Some drinks contain more congeners than others. Darker liquors, like bourbon or cognac, have higher congener concentrations than colorless drinks, like vodka and gin. So, one way to prevent a hangover or limit its severity is to opt for lighter alcoholic beverages to imbibe and carouse the night away.
To prevent a hangover, pace yourself and keep track of how many drinks you’ve had. Drink slowly to prevent consuming too much alcohol too quickly, which can lead to worsened symptoms the following day. Measure your drinks and consume alcohol in moderation to avoid a severe hangover. Most people can only process one standard drink every hour. Drinking slowly can help you drink less overall to prevent those irritable hangover symptoms.
If you find this easier said than done, try to alternate each drink with a non-alcoholic one, such as a sports drink or coconut water. Spacing out your alcoholic beverages can give your body more time to process them, preventing more severe symptoms. Sports drinks can also help replace the fluids, nutrients and electrolytes lost from drinking to help minimize hangover symptoms.
While it can be easy to get carried away with friends or think you’ve only had three drinks when you’ve had more like five or six, keep track of each one to prevent a hangover. You can take note of the number of drinks you’ve had on your phone or keep track of the time to ensure you don’t drink more than your body can handle.
To avoid a hangover, order wine, beer or mixed drinks and stay away from shots. Choosing drinks with low alcohol by volume (ABV) percentage can prevent severe hangover symptoms in many people. Sipping on wine, beer or a mixed drink can also be better than taking a shot since you’re consuming the alcohol more slowly. Just be sure not to chug, as this defeats the whole purpose.
You might also avoid carbonated drinks like seltzers, champagne or still liquors with sparking or tonic water. The bubbles from these beverages can lead to bloating or gas, especially if your beverage also contains irritants like yeast. Avoid these bubbly drinks to prevent digestive issues the following day, especially if you have a sensitive stomach.
Dehydration is a major culprit in hangover symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches and thirst. It is also one of the easiest symptoms to manage. If your main goal is to not get a hangover, just make sure you provide your body with enough water to balance the dehydrating effects of alcohol.
Drink Water Before, During and After
Often, the biggest hurdle in staying hydrated while drinking is remembering to drink water. Thus, being proactive with water consumption when you plan to drink alcohol makes things easier on your body and mind. Here are some tips for drinking water before, during and after you consume alcohol.
- Start drinking water the morning before you drink alcohol so your body is well-hydrated before your first drink.
- Drink one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have. Doing so can offset the dehydrating effects of each drink.
- Sip, don’t chug — after a night of alcohol consumption, chugging water can put too much stress on your body and disrupt sleep with frequent bathroom trips.
- Eat foods with high water content after consuming alcohol, such as melons, cucumber, mushrooms, strawberries, spinach or carrots.
- Drink some Pedialyte or another oral rehydration solution to replenish your electrolytes.
Besides water as a viable remedy, soda water, honey chrysanthemum tea and green tea accelerate your body’s alcohol metabolism rate. In doing so, they shorten the length of time alcohol is in your system. Staying hydrated is one of the best forms of hangover prevention.
You wake up bleary-eyed with a head that feels like a kick-drum. Rather than grimly greeting the day, there is no harm in going back to sleep. In fact, getting plenty of sleep after drinking a hefty amount of alcohol is key to avoiding a devastating hangover. If sleeping in isn’t an option due to work or child care, plan to turn in at a decent hour so you can get enough sleep and avoid a nasty hangover.
Give Into Cravings
Perhaps the only thing that will get you out of bed when you have a hangover is a hearty, nutritious breakfast. You are in good company if you crave a breakfast of bacon, eggs and hashbrowns after a night of a little too much fun! There are also scientific explanations for this craving.
Foods with alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), like red meat or potatoes, may reduce hangover symptoms by alleviating oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is linked with increased hangover severity. Other studies suggest foods with N-acetylcysteine, such as eggs, can mitigate hangover symptoms. So, revel in that traditional breakfast when you feel the previous night’s effects, and add these to your plate:
- Fruits: Pears and melons decrease hangover symptoms, while black currants and cherry tomatoes increase them. Lemons are a bit of a wildcard. They decrease blood alcohol concentration but increase acetaldehyde concentrations, which contributes to hangovers.
- Zinc and Vitamin B3: Research shows those who consume high amounts of zinc and vitamin B3 have significantly less severe hangover symptoms. Animal protein sources are high in both zinc and vitamin B3, but you can still consume these nutrients if you are vegan or vegetarian. Some plant-based foods high in zinc include pumpkin seeds, oats, hemp seeds, chickpeas, black beans and cashews. As for vitamin B3, you can find it in brown rice, bananas, avocados, peanuts, mushrooms and asparagus.
Filling up before drinking is also another excellent form of hangover prevention. In particular, carbohydrates prevent your blood sugar from dropping while drinking alcohol. Drops in blood sugar contribute to hangover symptoms like fatigue and headaches as your brain lacks the necessary fuel for proper functioning. So, load up on healthy carbs before drinking to limit hangover symptoms.
Besides avoiding congeners, staying hydrated and sleeping and eating well, here are some other tips for avoiding hangovers:
- Avoid taking shots.
- Get some exercise.
- Keep track of how many drinks you’ve had.
- Drink slowly.
- Sip ginger tea if you feel nauseated.
While anxiety is common after a night of drinking, you can practice mindfulness techniques to help combat nervousness. For instance, you might try taking deep breathing, journaling or listening to a guided meditation — whatever helps you feel more relaxed.
Hangover anxiety — also referred to as “hangxiety” — can sometimes occur as our body attempts to counteract the depressive effects of alcohol. While time is the only thing that can genuinely cure these anxious symptoms, practicing mindfulness can help put your mind at ease in the meantime.
How Mobile IV Medics Can Help
While a night of drinking can be fun, it also depletes your body of the nutrients it needs to get through each day. Mobile IV Medics is here for you when you need help replenishing your body’s nutrients. Our IV drip packages provide powerful solutions to any hangover symptoms you experience. The best part is that you can stay cozy at home as we bring our IV services to you. Here are some of our IV packages that are well-suited to offsetting a hangover:
- IV Hydration Package: Our IV hydration package is the simplest drip — it’s only ingredient is IV fluid, or saline solution. Saline solution consists of sodium chloride, water and electrolytes. The combination of these ingredients restores your body’s fluid quicker than any oral beverage could. You can also add various nutrients, vitamins, minerals and amino acids for a more robust effect.
- Hangover IV Drip Package: Our pharmacists designed this IV drip with the direct purpose of alleviating hangover symptoms. This package includes IV fluid, vitamin B and B12, anti-nausea medicine, anti-inflammatory medicine and glutathione — an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory capabilities.
- Nausea IV Drip Package: Our nausea IV drip package is a scaled down version of our hangover drip. It contains IV fluid, vitamin B complex and anti-nausea and vomiting medicine. If your main hangover symptom is nausea, this drip package can save you money rather than opting for the full hangover package.
Schedule a Hangover IV Drip Today
Hangovers are never fun, but there are plenty of ways to prevent them. If you wake up with distressful symptoms, Mobile IV Medics can help you with an IV hydration package sent directly to your door.
Choose from several packages to help you feel better, including treatments packed with anti-nausea medication, nutrients, vitamins and electrolytes needed to ease those uncomfortable symptoms. Get comfortable in your favorite chair and relax as we deliver hangover relief in one short session.
If you’re feeling rough the morning after a night of drinking, contact Mobile IV Medics! Our team of nurses and paramedics can be at your door in short order to help you bounce back from a hangover quickly.
About the author
Brad Wenderoth, Pharm.D.
Brad Wenderoth, Pharm.D. is a licensed pharmacist and co-owner of Mobile IV Medics. With over 16 years of healthcare experience, Brad is bringing his expertise and passion for patient care to the Mobile IV Medics patient population. Prior to Mobile IV Medics, Brad worked in varying areas including both direct patient care and hospital leadership at Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, nationwide health system pharmacy consulting for Comprehensive Pharmacy Services (CPS), and professor of pharmacy at the USC School of Pharmacy. He holds a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Arizona, a pharmacy practice residency from USC, and a lean six sigma green belt from Johns Hopkins.