The Christmas period is upon us, and with it comes shorter days, jingle bells and an abundance of festive cheer. December is non-stop with festivities, mostly fuelled by copious amounts of alcohol. We all know how it feels, waking up after a few too many mulled wines at the office Christmas do (some perhaps in more awkward situations– after all, the most juicy office gossip usually occurs this time of year!).
With so many events over a short period, this increase in alcoholic consumption can take its toll both physically and mentally. We’ve all experienced symptoms of a hangover: fuzzy head, nausea, tiredness and jealousy of those bright and buzzing the morning after the night before. It’s pretty obvious that cutting out alcohol inevitably prevents the dreaded hangover, but why deprive yourself during the best time of the year?! We’ve put together some top tips to help you smash the hangover and survive the silly season without completely burning out before New Year’s Eve.
Your body works harder to process alcohol, so drinking deprives you of essential nutrients. In the morning, your blood sugar will be low so you’ll need something rich in vitamins and minerals to replenish what you’ve lost. For those poor souls who struggle to stomach anything after a night of drinking, try a smoothie made with a banana, a handful of spinach and coconut water. A little easier on the stomach, it’s packed with vitamin C, hydrating electrolytes and fructose, which will help boost your immune system and replenish your glucose levels. Trust us, you’ll feel a million times better than if you’re running empty.
For others, a greasy fry up is the only thing that appeals in this time of desperate need. Although alcohol still counts towards your daily calorie intake, it’s often the day after when a hangover influences unhealthy food choices; and we wonder why we aren’t meeting our goals?! Eggs are a great option - they are rich in cysteine that helps break down the toxin acetaldehyde, which contributes to the hungover state. Instead of frying eggs, try boiled or poached. You’ll be set up for the day with a fresh and healthy meal rather than succumbing to a plate of grease.
Alcohol is a diuretic, so makes you lose more fluid than normal (ever wondered why you need to ‘break the seal’ after one drink?!). Excessive fluid loss contributes to a sore head, fatigue and dry mouth the next day. Simply rehydrating with water will lessen the intensity of these feelings. Drinking a glass of water between each alcoholic drink will rehydrate your body in between periods of dehydrating it, and could also help you drink less alcohol. If you replace every second drink with a glass of water, you could in theory half your consumption. Additionally, if you drink a big glass of water before you hit the hay, you’ve a better chance of waking up more refreshed and less like you’ve been hit by a bus.
4. Stick to light spirits
The severity of a hangover can depend on the type of alcohol you consume. Congeners are chemical toxins that are produced during fermentation, which the body struggles to break down. Lighter spirits like vodka, gin and rum contain fewer congeners and have been associated with lower incidences of hangover than those with a higher number of congeners like beer, red wine and whisky. Stick to lighter spirits, but be careful; these are easier to drink so you could end up accidentally consuming too much, and with a higher alcoholic content than beer or wine, your head won’t thank you in the morning.
Stumbling in late and up again for work the next day, a full night of drinking often compromises on sleep. Going to bed with alcohol in your system can cause a restless night and sometimes wakes you up earlier than you need. This lack of rest will inevitably affect how you feel. You can help lessen your hangover by doing all of the above, but even if you’re sober, you need enough sleep to perform your best. Christmas is crazy enough as it is, so make sure to look after yourself and listen to your body when it needs rest. Get in the early nights when you can and enjoy the festive season without feeling completely burnt out come January!
*Drink responsibly kids*