You know the feeling – your head hurts, your mouth feels dry and the room is spinning. It’s the morning after and the euphoric high you felt at last night’s party has mysteriously vanished, leaving behind a foul-breathed monster nursing a splitting headache.
Explaining why alcohol has such an effect on us, Dr Rupert See, senior physician at Raffles Medical explains, "Consuming alcohol causes your body to lose fluids, leading to dehydration, which causes headaches and fatigue." Throw into the mix the likelihood of low blood-sugar when one wakes up after a night of heavy drinking, and you have the perfect recipe for feeling sick, nauseous and light-headed.
So if you plan to go hog wild at a party, these handy tips (for both pre-and post drinking) should help ensure you feel less miserable the next day.
According to Sigrid Grobys, a naturopath at An Apple a Day, “Drinking on an empty stomach leads to a guaranteed hangover.” This is because the alcohol will enter the bloodstream very quickly. So with this in mind, have a hearty meal before heading out. Order some pasta or hearty bread bowl.
“I usually drink a big glass of milk before going for drinks with my friends as the milk lines my stomach,” says Bob Cheong, 27, a marketing executive. “Having cheese and crackers before drinks also helps to slow down the absorption of alcohol for me,” adds the 27-year-old.
Any seasoned party-goer will tell you that mixing drinks throughout the night will not only get you drunk in a shorter period of time, it will also almost guarantee a terrible hangover the next day. So refrain from chasing your flute of champagne with a glass of whisky and try to stick to the same spirit range. Another good idea is to spread out your drinks over the night or routinely switch between alcoholic drinks, water and juices.
The morning after
If you’ve partied like there was no tomorrow and are paying for it the next day, here are some suggestions to nurse your hangover.
1: Juice it up
Fruit juices help counter a hangover too. "Fruit juice contains antioxidants that help to strengthen the liver," says Rupert. Correspondingly, research has also shown that the presence of fructose in fruit juice actually helps increase the speed at which the body metabolises alcohol. So load up of that cup of orange juice and replenish your lost Vitamin C.
However, if you’ve run out of fruit juice, fresh vegetable juice is another option. "I find taking fresh vegetable juice in the morning, for example blended tomato and celery, helps to neutralise the effects of a hangover," says Carol Anne Wah, head of marketing at well-known nightspots like Balaclava and KPO.
2: Drink up!
Drink water, lots of it. Have as much fluid as you can before your party, during the night and before you go to bed to ensure your body doesn’t get dehydrated. "I always make it a point to do a water parade when I get home and the next morning," says Bob. "Water counters the dehydrating effects of alcohol on my body and helps clear it out of my system," he adds.
3: Herbal remedies
Edward Yap, a TCM physician, recommends drinking honey water before and after party sessions. "Honey contains beneficial properties which can help alleviate some symptoms of hangovers and make you feel better," Edward says.
"For me, a good cup of boiled ginseng helps," says Ang Wei Shun, a financial analyst. "However, it must be boiled with real ginseng roots, not those from a packet," he adds.
4: The big fry up
"Nothing cures a good hangover better than a big fry up," says Valerie Toh, 32. The graphic designer’s remedy for a night of heavy drinking sees her cooking up a storm the day after, serving up scrambled eggs, French toast and hash browns on the menu. "These taste great and more importantly, help soak up any alcohol left in the system," she adds.
Valerie’s remedy might not be too far off the mark as protein is a big hangover helper, according to Rupert. "To detox properly, your body needs the amino acids found in protein and cysteine, which is found in high quantities in eggs," he says.
5: Sports drinks help too
While aspirins may help relieve some symptoms of hangovers, drinking more fluids especially fruit juice and electrolyte drinks like Gatorade and 100plus help too, notes Rupert. "I do take care to have a good meal before drinks and have something to eat after the party," says Monica Lim, a sales manager. "But if I still get a hangover the next day, I always make sure I drink lots of orange juice and 100plus."
6: Bartender, pour me another!
To a select few, however, the best remedy to reverse a dreary hangover is to simply have another drink! "If you’ve been out for a night of drinking and partying with friends and have a hangover, just drink another beer,” says Mel, an expatriate. “That’s the best way to cure a hangover!"