Why is it that some hangovers are total wipe-outs, and others aren’t that bad?
Some hangovers are worse than others for a number of reasons. Firstly, your physical state will alter how hungover you are. If you drink on an empty stomach or are dehydrated before you begin drinking, you’ll probably feel much worse the next day.
Secondly, the age or ‘freshness’ of the alcohol also depends on how crap you are going to feel. When alcohol oxidises, acetaldehyde is created – which is the crap your liver produces (as a by-product of breaking the alcohol down in your body) to make you feel hungover. So, if you drink booze that already has acetaldehyde, you are effectively advancing the beginning of your hangover. Aim of the game? Drink the freshest alcohol possible.
Some drinks make your hangovers worse due to their concentration of impurities called ‘congeners’. Congeners are chemicals that are produced in the distillation process (alongside ethyl alcohol – which is what actually makes you drunk) and include:
- butly alcohol
- propyl alcohol
- methly alcohol
- amyl alcohol
The concentration of these congeners also effects how crap you feel the next day – the more you have, the worse you are going to be. Unfortunately, it is these congeners that give many alcoholic products their color and flavour.
What can I drink to make me not feel so hungover?
White spirits generally have less congeners than dark spirits. So, gin and vodka are going to be better off for you than rum or bourbon. Also, avoid drinking carbonated beverages. The alcohol in carbonated drinks is absorbed faster than in non-carbonated drinks.
Listed below are a collection of preventative measures that might lower the effects of a hangover. Remember – they may work, or they may not. They might work for some but won’t for others. Use them at your own risk!
- Take vitamin B before you go to bed.
- Eat something sugary before you go to bed.
- Avoid carbonated drinks. The alcohol in carbonated drinks is absorbed faster than in non-carbonated drinks
- Take a small amount of ginseng. It will probably help your body metabolise alcohol faster.
- Drink a lot of water before you go to bed. Take a full glass with you.
- Have a glass of milk before you go to bed. Milk somehow stops your body from creating urine which somehow makes you feel better.
- Take a multivitamin before you drink. If you forget, take one before you go to sleep. Vitamin B helps your body metabolize the alcohol and vitamin c helps your liver do something too.
- Eat before or during drinking. Eating increases your metabolism which helps you metabolise alcohol faster (it doesn’t ‘absorb’ alcohol like the common misconception). Carbohydrates also contain amino acids which help do something awesome. Nice!
- Have a Berocca. Yes – before you start drinking.