Happy holidays, but not such happy hangovers. As the biggest party night of the year gives us all an excuse for celebration, those who have indulged in a tipple or ten at pubs and parties across our boroughs may find that the day after is not always so full of cheer.
ELL has spoken to both the experts and the punters to help you welcome 2013 without a sore head.
What is a ‘hangover’?
The Merriam Webster definition of a hangover is:
1. Something (as a surviving custom) that remains from what is past.
2. Disagreeable physical effects following heavy consumption of alcohol or the use of drugs.
3. A letdown following great excitement or excess.
Why do I feel so bad?
Why do we feel this way after drinking? According to facts published online by Drinkaware, an alcohol education charity, it all comes down to the chemicals floating around in your glass:
“The principal cause is ethanol – the alcohol in your drinks. It is a toxic chemical that works in the body as a diuretic, which means it makes you pee more and become dehydrated. This is one of the main causes of the headache, dry mouth, dizziness and constant nausea. Your hangover eases as the body turns the ethanol into a less toxic chemical.”
What can I do to prevent a hangover?
There are some methods of preventing the seemingly inevitable effects of a few too many.
Siobhan McCann, head of campaigns and communications for Drinkaware, told ELL:
“It may sound simple, but the best way to avoid them is to avoid drinking to excess in the first place.
“Eat a good meal, avoid rounds, opt for smaller glass sizes and try lower alcohol drinks. Water in between drinks will not only help you pace yourself but you will also feel better the next day.”
There are other factors that affect the way your body manages the alcohol you ingest. Drinkers should be aware that fizzy beverages can speed up the process of alcohol absorption in your system, warns the NHS. Exercise caution when drinking dark-coloured booze, as these drinks contain chemicals that can worsen hangover symptoms in some people.
What to do the morning after:
When the dreaded morning after comes and it’s not pretty, McCann says: “If you wake up feeling worse for wear the next morning, drink plenty of water, avoid caffeine as this can dehydrate you further and replenish your body with healthy fruit like bananas and kiwis. You may not think it but a boiled egg and soldiers contains essential nutrients that can really help you recover.”
NHS advice stresses that there are no real cures for hangovers, but recommends rehydration and being gentle on your stomach to ease the symptoms. If you want to take a painkiller, opt for one that’s paracetamol-based as aspirin will be harder on your digestive organs. Take an antacid for tummy troubles and eat some brothy bouillon for easily digestible vitamins and minerals.
Whatever you do, don’t try the ‘hair of the dog’ method and start drinking again, as you will probably just delay your hangover rather than get rid of it. Doctors advise that you wait 48 hours before consuming alcohol again after a heavy drinking session to give your body adequate time to recover.
What do the locals say?
Sometimes the tried and tested solutions come by word of mouth. Here are some locally-sourced cures from our boroughs.
Andrea Montague, bar manager at Beard to Tail in Shoreditch, recommends a Mexican ‘Michelada’: “Good tasting beer with Worcestershire sauce, fresh lime juice, chilli spice, served in a salt rimmed glass. The spice and salt from the Worcestershire sauce sweat out all the booze, and the beer isn’t as harsh as a spirit, but is a nice way to reintroduce alcohol to your system after a heavy night.”
Charlotte Anderton, marketing head at Jamboree , a music venue in Stepney Green, said: “I am not sure that a hangover cure exists, but there are definitely some things which ease the blow and make you feel a bit less like you are on a boat. Having gallons of Rubicon, squash or iced water at the ready is essential! Yogurt and fruit can refresh your appetite and help hold off the Saturday fry up for a few hours.”