Though it may not be one that our parents want to face, it is a reality in college that many college students drink alcohol. And there's nothing wrong with that, as long as it's done responsibly. You know your body and you probably know when to stop drinking before you start making stupid decisions or end up spending the rest of your night with your head over the toilet. However, things don't always go as "responsibly" as planned, and that can result in the ominous and infamous hangover the next morning. Here are a few tried and true methods for those 21 and over that will have you up and running (or at least shuffling without falling over) in no time.
Yes, I know you hear it all the time, but that's because it's true. Drinking water before, during and after you drink alcohol will reduce the effects of your hangover. Alcohol is a diuretic that will dehydrate you as you drink it. This is what causes a lot of the symptoms of a hangover, including headaches and dry mouth. Plus, water won't make an upset stomach any worse.
Here's some quick science about hangovers: When your blood sugar level gets low, it's usually your liver that produces glucose to bring the level up again. But when you're drinking/hungover, your liver is too busy processing the alcohol to take care of the blood sugar, and the result is a very tired and cranky morning after. While no food will feel "good" on a stomach that is doing Olympic-level acrobatics, plain toast or crackers will be easier to keep down than anything else, and the carbs will raise your blood sugar level.
A headache can be one of the worst parts of a hangover. Taking pain medication, like Aspirin or Ibuprofen, can do a lot to relieve the sensation of two hammers banging on each side of your skull. However, be sure not to take Tylenol – when you're sober, it's fine, but Tylenol can be a bit hard on the liver, and it isn't a good idea to combine that with a liver working overtime to process too much alcohol. Oh, and be sure to wash the pill down with a tall glass of water.
4. Take a Shower
Drinking caffeine (i.e. coffee) during your hangover will only worsen your dehydration, and therefore worsen the effects. Instead, taking a shower will boost your body into something resembling alertness and will get your senses going a little faster. Plus, no one wants to smell like alcohol in the morning.
5. Drink Ginger Tea
Ginger is really good for nausea, so make yourself a steaming mug of the stuff and make it your best friend until you feel like you can look at a plate of food without your body recoiling in disgust. If you don't have the tea at hand, alka-seltzer or some baking soda in a glass of water will also do the trick.
At this point, you may think I'm just telling you what you want to hear. Drinking too much alcohol can often lead to a restless night of sleep, and lack of sleep with only exaggerate every other hangover symptom there is (headache, fatigue, crankiness, achiness, etc.) So, just go back to sleep after doing a few of the things listed above, and let your body recover a bit.
If you want to avoid the hangover altogether, take some steps to do so while you're drinking. Drink as much water as you do alcohol, make sure to eat something and don't go overboard or drink too much all at once. Really, just be sensible. And don't feel guilty for going a little too hard and ending up with a hangover the next morning. It really does happen to everyone. Drink safely.
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