Our society has come a long way, but there’s one hurdle we’re yet to clear: developing a hangover cure that actually works.
Until a cure is developed, the only option we have is finding ways to turn down the “death” dial on our hangovers.
As it turns out, there are some common things we all do while drinking, and the next day, that only serve to make the aftermath worse.
Yes, worse. Image: BBC
1. ODing on sugar.
Obviously, the severity of your hangover comes down to the amount of alcohol you poured down your throat. But the sugar accompanying those drinks can play a role, too.
We often don't give much thought to the amount of sugar in our favourite drinks, particularly mixed ones, but it can add up quickly. A sugar crash on top of a hangover is nobody's idea of a good time, so before you order your third cocktail for the night spare a thought for your belly.
“You might not eat six slices of cake because you know it will hurt your stomach, but you’ll then have six drinks with the same sugar content,” Aaron White Ph.D, senior scientific advisor to the director of the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, told Buzzfeed.
Watch: The amount of sugar hidden in your favourite drinks can come as a shock. (Post continues after video.)
2. Stomach-irritating 3am drunk snacks.
Popular drunken snacks tend to have one thing in common: they're excessively greasy and rich. Think pepperoni-stacked pizza, hot chips, pies... and so on. It makes sense; research last year found alcohol stimulates our appetite for high-fat, salty fare.
While that might be exactly what you feel like while attempting to remain upright as you wait for your Uber at 3:43am, it's not doing your future hangover any favours. Eating during and after drinking is actually good for your stomach, but you need to choose wisely or face the consequences.
As White tells Buzzfeed, if these foods aren't part of your usual diet you'll likely encounter some gastrointestinal problems and heartburn, and feel more nauseated and bloated the next day. Not fun.
Nutritionist Michele Chevalley Hedge told Mamamia you can improve on drunken favourites like pizza and kebabs by selecting healthier toppings.
"[With kebabs] it depends where the ingredients are from and if they are full of trans-fats and preservatives. But it’s a better option than anything sugary, which just gives you a super blood-sugar spike (disastrous for falling asleep afterwards)," she explained.
3. Forgetting to eat throughout the rest of the night.
"Eating is cheating" is the party mantra of many a university student, and it's true to an extent — drinking on an empty stomach will increase your blood alcohol content (not to mention irritate your stomach).
Yet not eating before and while drinking is also cheating — cheating your way to an even more torturous hangover, that is.
So don't bypass the snacks in favour of getting buzzed. “The best scenario is to have a mid-size meal then alternate your drinks with a glass of water and a small snack so the absorption of alcohol into the small intestine is slowed down as much as possible,” White tells Buzzfeed.
As above, just make sure they're foods you know won't upset your tum. (Post continues after gallery.)
4. Doing shots when you're already hammered.
Shots almost invariably happen when you're five drinks (or, um, a bottle or two of wine) deep. But that might be precisely where Drunk You is getting it all wrong.
White speculates that because our judgement is impaired after a few drinks (don't try to argue the point), we're not as aware of how hard the tequila/Sambuca/whatever will hit, making us more likely to go hard on the shots.
This causes our blood alcohol content to spike, potentially leading to a rougher aftermath than you'd usually have.
If you've got your heart set on shots, maybe go down that route at the start of the night. That way, you'll know exactly how much they affect you and avoid imbibing more than you need to.
Drunk texting: also a bad idea. Image: New Line Cinema
On a similar note, you also might want to avoid mixing drinks, and not necessarily for the reason you think.
"There isn’t some mysterious chemical process at play: mixing your drinks is more likely to be accompanied by simply drinking more," Curtin University's Steve Allsop wrote for The Conversation.
5. Trying to sweat it out too vigorously
It's usually the last thing you feel like doing, but some light exercise might help to ease a hangover. But you have to be careful not to go too hard.
Due to the diuretic effect of alcohol, your body's going to be incredibly dehydrated — and your thermoregulation will also be impaired. Vigorously working out while you're in this state could only make things worse.
"You're so dehydrated already and devoid of sugars, fats, salts, minerals, and then you go and sweat it all out and take more of it out of the body. You're just doubling up on the mess you did last night," personal trainer Leila Lutz told Mamamia.
What's your "trick" for relieving a hangover?