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Avoiding Hangovers

Most of us don’t give thought to avoiding hangovers until we are waking up to a throbbing headache, feeling shaky and housing a mouth drier than the Sahara. It is only then that the two extra shots that went down at last call don’t seem worth it. Some of us will find ourselves awake happily drunk only to realize we are about to embark on a journey through hangover hell as the day creeps on. Well, if you get ready to party with a hangover escape plan, you just may be able to avoid some of your anguish.

For the average person having more than three drinks in a night exponentially increases your odds of a hangover. Likelihood of a hangover is also increased when you consume these drinks quickly. Thus the classic night of drinking games can be a huge hangover culprit. Trying to stay hangover free? Space out your drinks and try to incorporate a nonalcoholic drink after each drink you have.

Hydration: Rehydrating with water is an important part in avoiding hangovers, if not the most important. Liquor is a diuretic, causing you to urinate more often than usual. Alcohol is also very drying within the body causing you to release more fluids than you take in. Remember to drink water throughout the night.

Moderation: If you can find a way to limit yourself to one drink an hour you may be home free. It is important to keep in mind that a 40 oz. of malt liquor does not equate to a drink. A twelve-ounce can of beer, five ounces of wine or a cocktail made with 1.5 ounces of liquor equals one drink. Attempt to drink slowly and opt to sip your drink instead of chugging it. Make yourself weaker drinks and when it comes to shots, try to pass. Also avoid drinking out of a straw, which allows you to suck down drinks faster.

There are great moves to make before calling it a night after a night of libation. Try to drink two or three glasses of water and if your stomach is cool with it, have a small meal or snack before going to bed. Having food in your stomach will help give you the energy needed to metabolize the alcohol. Taking ibuprofen before hitting the hay may also help, but be careful as it may upset the stomach and is tough on the body. Avoid the drug acetaminophen (also known as Tylenol) when drinking, as mixing this drug with booze is dangerous for your liver. You may also feel better the next morning if you keep yourself up until you feel somewhat sober and then hit the sheets.

Some believe that coffee helps hangover woes, and caffeine does give you a boost of energy, but be careful of caffeine’s diuretic effect. Some believe that exercise is a cure, there is no proof to suggest this is true but it is a distraction from the pain if you can stomach the exercise. Relief comes when the alcohol you drank has been fully metabolized in the body and your internal organs have recovered from the damage that was caused.

Important note: people who party with a lot of booze and do not get hangovers should be concerned as this could be a sign of alcoholism and treatment may be needed.

In short, the key to avoiding hangovers is to create a game plan of moderation and hydration. Have no more than three cocktails in a day and no more than one drink an hour and you should be home free.