Unsplash / Brooke Cagle
Have you ever wondered why sometimes you get a hangover . . . And other times you seem to escape last night’s alcoholic adventures mostly unharmed? Why aren’t hangovers always the same, or always as painful? What is the science behind hangovers anyway, and why do some people not get them at all? Let’s dive in to the wonderful world of hangovers.
Why We Get Hangovers
Hangovers are basically caused by your brain becoming dehydrated. Because it is a diuretic, alcohol actually causes you to lose liquid, even as you keep drinking. So you’re not retaining water, and thus your brain becomes starved—which can cause headaches, nausea, and the rest of the typical hangover symptoms.
Skip The Bubbles
Hangovers differ from person to person because we all process the poison differently, depending on size, how much you drink, and what you drink. Carbonated beverages (sparking wine, champagne, or bubbly mixers for example) speed up the absorption of alcohol into the blood stream, which means a higher blood-alcohol level (and potentially a worse hangover).
Choose Your Beverage Wisely
How dark your drink is could also dictate how bad your hangover is. Darker drinks tend to contain more congeners, which turn into formaldehyde when processed in the body (yes, the same stuff that’s used to preserve dead bodies) when we drink. So, stick to clearer liquids or lighter beverages to avoid a greater hangover.
How To Prevent A Hangover
The only real way to prevent a hangover is to hydrate. A lot. Drink water before you go out, alternate your alcoholic beverages with water, and drink water before you go to bed.
It’s also a good idea to eat before you start drinking, as most people know that drinking on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster. Food can absorb some of the excess alcohol, meaning less will go into your bloodstream, and you’ll be less effected.
Remedies For Recovery
You can’t really cure a hangover, but you can take the edge off if you get enough water in your system before you fall asleep. If you’re lucky, you may sleep off the worst of the hangover. If not, eating will help lower the acidity of your stomach, but keep the food light. Skip painkillers, as they’ll wreak havoc on your already taxed liver. And skip the coffee, because although it may wake you up, it’s also acidic, and you need to give your stomach a break.