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Tips on Preventing a Hangover

How to Prevent a Hangover

If you were out late last night wining and dining with friends, it's not until the next morning that you realize that last glass of pinot was a bad idea. Your head is pounding, the room is spinning, and if it's really grim, you have the urge to throw up every time you move: hangovers suck.

If you're going to go all out, you're going to pay the price; our bodies are not designed to binge on bad stuff and feel great the next day. But, there are a few things that you can do that may prevent a hangover from happening — or, at least make it less painful.

  • Don't drink, or at least drink less. Instead of having four drinks, try for two, maybe even one. Drink slowly, and as a rule don't consume more than one drink per hour to give your body enough time to break down the alcohol. Also, one drink does not mean a Long Island Tea. We're talking a beer, a small glass of wine, or roughly one ounce of hard liquor. Keep in mind that certain factors help determine your body's ability to metabolize alcohol: weight, height, and overall health.
  • Drink water, and lots of it. Since alcohol dehydrates the body, begin and end your night of drinking with plenty of water, and for every alcoholic beverage you consume, match it with a glass of water.
  • Don't drink on an empty stomach. Having food in your stomach helps dilute the concentration of alcohol in your belly.
  • Be choosy with what you drink. Stay away from sugary and carbonated drinks because they speed up the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream. Drink clear liquors over colored ones: darker alcohol like bourbon or red wine contain more of the toxic substance congeners, which help contribute to hangovers. Don't drink booze from the well either; the cheap stuff has way more congeners than the good stuff.

If it's too late for you and you're reading this with a hangover, check out my recovery tips instead.

Image Source: Thinkstock
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mikeSq mikeSq 3 years
I drink a lot, and I sould say that without some pills I'd rather die...
TheIronYou TheIronYou 4 years
I don't drink at all, to me that's just the best way to health and not have to deal with hangovers! Peace Mike
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 5 years
That pic is hilarious. I'm with you amber, I don't drink on an empty stomach, but I try to eat only a light snack. As for water, I drink tons of water anyway and I just drink a couple big glasses before I get into bed... I come from a long line of drinkers (part German, part Irish) so if I'm not driving I see no need to drink light or baby myself.
amber512 amber512 5 years
I never understood the point of drinking water or not drinking on an empty stomach. Why? So I have to take in more calories by drinking more to get to the tipsy feeling I'm aiming for? ;)
smilinggreenmom smilinggreenmom 5 years
I like the matching one for one with water. That is such a good idea :) I also take my Vidazorb probiotic since I have heard probiotics can help with hangovers! WOOT :) It's all about self control but sometimes it just sneaks up on ya hehehe
Soniabonya Soniabonya 5 years
LOL! Well, truth be told I got an F on my New Year's resolution to drink less in 2010. From all the weddings (including mine and bachlorette) to the Giants winning the World Series, I definitely failed miserably and painfully. This years resolution is cutting out all alcohol for 6 months. My body is begging for a cleanse. :crosses fingers:
benheld benheld 5 years
First off, the picture accompanying this article is HILARIOUS!! Hangovers are totally rough, and a good reminder of how bad alcohol is for your mind and body. I'm a real light-weight, and have to watch my drinking super carefully.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 5 years
Once you get home, if you take a multi-vitamin, have a little something to eat with a TON of water, and take an advil a couple hours before you have to really get up, and then have a vitamin water revive the next morning you'll be in pretty good shape.
TiVo TiVo 5 years
Ha.. I hear ya Soniabonya! I don't think the first tip "Don't drink, or at least drink less," is all that insightful. I think we all know what causes hangovers by now. I had a "brilliant" idea last year to save calories and drink less. I mixed diet ginger ale with my cheap champagne. I ended up getting more intoxicated that I wanted; my plan backfired. I really have to be careful with sugar-free mixers; they hit me like a brick!
Soniabonya Soniabonya 6 years
Uggh... had waaay too much at my fiance's company Christmas party. The Mai Tai was in an endless bowl!! I hate hangovers. I always get caught up in the night, enjoying myself and forget that I end up with such a disgusting painful feeling for a day and a half and feel like a complete *ss for drinking. New Year's resolution. Don't drink so much!!
livetolove livetolove 6 years
I'm a senior in college and if I've learned anything drinking wise, it's that I need a lot LESS alcohol than I think. It's so easy to keep ordering new rounds of drinks or throwing down shots with everyone but for as "fun" as that is, I find that I can have a lot more fun pacing myself. I get to a good happy state and then I stop. I've learned that not only do I hate having a hangover the next day but I also hate the person I become when I drink that much. I look/sound dumb and it's not reflective of who I am in any way shape or form.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 6 years
Argh. I hate it when people say drink cheap vodka instead of cheap wine. Cheap vodka just makes you feel worse, and it goes down so gnarly as well. It's worth forking out the extra money for the good stuff. I've also found the good stuff is more alcoholic so you end up saving money if you nab the good stuff because you don't drink as much. Not to mention some wines under $20 are awesome ;)
jkat jkat 6 years
I think hangovers are like child birth in reverse. All the fun I had before makes me forget how much the hangover sucks later. Although, as I move through my twenties I need more an more time to recover and the drinking to the point of hangovers happens less and less. I still maintain that life without wine would just not be as fun though.
Giasbash6260 Giasbash6260 6 years
This is why I don't drink... so I don't have to deal with hang overs!
Spectra Spectra 6 years
I have never had a hangover, so I don't know how painful they are, but I will say that if you're going to drink cheap liquor, go with vodka over say, wine. Cheap vodka is still pretty well-filtered and doesn't have many congeners. I also always mix my liquor into a "spritzer" of at least 12 oz. of tonic water or diet soda to dilute it. And then I sip it, not guzzle it, so the alcohol gets in my system more slowly.
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