Many British people love a drink, especially over Christmas, and it’s estimated that we collectively drink nearly six billion units of alcohol between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.
And, the worst hangover day of the year is set to be Saturday, December 19, according to a study run by Subway.
Alcohol contains the toxic chemical ethanol, which is why we wake up feeling like we’ve been run over by a bus after a heavy sesh.
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To help us avoid feeling like death warmed up this weekend, hydration expert and cofounder of ViDrate, Nick Hird has put together his top tips to avoid a hangover this festive season:
1. Hydrate before drinking
Nick explained: “Dehydration is the main cause of feeling hungover, alongside vitamin depletion and excessively putting toxins into your body.
“By staying hydrated before drinking you’re giving your body a head start.
“You’re supposed to drink 6-8 glasses of water everyday – so this gives you an idea of how much you should be drinking to stay hydrated.”
2. Make sure you eat
“This is an obvious one, but one many people ignore,” he added. “Don’t start drinking on an empty stomach as this makes your body absorb the alcohol quicker.
“By eating a well-balanced meal before a night out, you slow down the body’s alcohol absorption rate.”
3. Drink water with your alcohol
Nick said: “Alcohol is a diuretic, which stimulates your kidneys to produce urine, meaning it makes you lose more water than you take on board."
He continued: “Basically you pee more than you drink, which means you are dehydrating yourself and with that you also lose some of the body’s electrolytes.
“Drinking a glass of water for every alcoholic drink keeps you hydrated and helps you retain some water, minerals and vitamins.”
4. Avoid fizzy drinks
“Don’t drink non-alcoholic fizzy drinks, instead of water to try and fight off the hangover,” said the expert. “Fizzy drinks actually increase the rate at which your body absorbs alcohol – so will make your hangover worse.
“Same with carbonated alcohol such as prosecco and champagne – the carbon dioxide speeds up your alcohol intake meaning you get drunker faster, resulting in a worse hangover.”
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5. Don’t drink too much water
Nick explained: “Don’t chug multiple glasses of water before bed as this might do more harm than good.
“Drinking water in excess means you’ll need to go to the toilet and can mess up your sleeping pattern.
“Drink one glass of water before bed and keep another on your bedside table for when you wake up with a banging head and dry mouth.”
6. Replace lost electrolytes
Nick added: “Electrolytes are key to hydration.
“They replenish your body with the minerals you need to retain fluids and expel toxins, meaning they’re one of the most effective remedies for a hangover, especially when combined with plenty of water.”
7. Avoid coffee
“Reaching for a cup of coffee on a hangover might seem like a good idea, but the caffeine dehydrates you further – making your hangover even worse,” noted Nick.
8. Have a power nap
“Sleep is one of the best hangover remedies but when you’ve been drinking the alcohol disturbs your restorative sleep,” explained the pro.
“Try and schedule in a power nap the next day, or if you don’t have time make sure you get an early night so your body can recover.”
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Nick added: “Yes exercise.
“We know the last thing you want to do when your head is pounding is exercise, but even a short walk or jog will make you feel better due to the fresh air and endorphins released by physical activity.”
Finally, Nick added: “If your stomach is unsettled and you keep getting waves of nausea then ginger is a great remedy.
“Ginger helps reduce inflammation and helps settle your stomach.
“Why not try adding it to a smoothie, the extra fruit and vegetables will also help replace the nutrients lost.
“Another idea is to add ginger to hot water, lemon and honey.
“The sugar in the honey will also help re-balance your low blood sugar levels.”
There is one way which you can avoid a hangover completely and that is to not drink…
If you do choose to indulge, then make sure you drink responsibly and contact drinkaware.co.uk or your GP if you are worried.
The NHS recommends no more than 14 units of alcohol per week for both men and women.
You can view Nick’s full hangover guide here.
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