Science Up Your Life: How to Avoid Hangovers!

Hangovers are Nature’s way of punishing us for having too much fun the night before. The headaches, the nausea, the dizziness, the stomachaches, and the other pains that are unique to each person, are a very inconvenient side effect that can ruin your day at work, university or with the family.

Most of you will dismiss this as a result of too much alcohol intake, but there are several other factors that influence whether or not you get a hangover in the morning.

Here’s what I’ve come across after some research and self-experimenting…

First and foremost, it is worth noting that some 65% of clubbers get a nasty hangover after a night on the town. It is also worth mentioning that several silly folk-remedies exist (remedies like rubbing toothpaste on a burn or something else your teta might recommend). I’ve heard of people recommending to their friends that drinking a nasty mix of mayonnaise and mustard will relieve their hangover symptoms. Another absurd one I heard was once on a boat: the host actually suggested drinking more alcohol when hungover, and he was serious!

First and foremost, please don’t do any of the above, unless you are fond of mayonnaise and mustard or are an alcoholic (in which case you need to consult a shrink).

Now, on to the tips and tricks:

  • Gatorade, yum! Most hangover symptoms, such as nausea and headaches, are actually a result of dehydration from alcohol intake. So, keep yourself well hydrated before and after going out. And if you’re really keen on not getting hungover, have a Gatorade and keep your electrolytes up.
  • Got Milk? No? Then get some. Drinking a glass of milk before going out for real drinks will act as a good alcohol insulator. Milk tends to form a coat on the inner-lining of your stomach (where alcohol is absorbed) and since milk and alcohol are not miscible (like oil and water) the alcohol absorption will be more gradual, and will help you stay sober longer and decrease your chances of getting hungover
  • Dilute, dilute, dilute! A shot is a tiny glass of some 50 ml, a beer is usually 330 to 500 ml a pint. The numbers lie, a beer is much less concentrated, and thus will help you stay sober longer and decrease your hangover risk
  • Be very picky! The type of spirit or wine you drink makes a HUGE difference. Studies have shown that when a variety of chemicals are present during alcohol breakdown, and several alcohol varieties are being metabolized at the same time, the degree of hangover-ness dramatically increases. In other words, try to stick to one drink throughout the night.
  • Whiskey or Vodka? You might believe you’re more sophisticated if you drink whisky, or more youthful if you gulp down vodka. However, if it were up to me, I’d choose vodka. The reason is that vodka is basically distilled water and alcohol: a pretty simple composition. Whiskey and other beverages have a more diverse constitution, and thus more chemical varieties, and as mentioned earlier, with more chemical diversity comes an increased risk and degree of hangovers.
  • The best types of alcohol (in order of increasing hangover risk and degree): pure ethanol, vodka, gin, white wine, whiskey, rum, red wine. So, think twice between being romantic with red wine and stick to being wild with vodka is there’s something important you need to be alert and awake for!

Personally, I was glad that vodka is the least potent hangover inducer, since it is my drink of choice when out on the town

  • No Carbonated beverages (the ones that have bubbles) speed up alcohol intake, so, I’d definitely recommend Vodka-cranberry instead of the traditional vodka mixes.

Happy Clubbing everyone, drink responsibly and I hope this article helps. And remember, never drink and drive!