It's happened to the best of us: You slump out of bed after a night out and can feel the acid rolling around the pit of your stomach; your head feels thick and foggy, like it's insulated by some sort of sticky gauze. Waves of nausea leave you teetering around your apartment, moving precariously toward the pantry to grab an ibuprofen. We get it: Hangovers happen. And wouldn't you just know, the older you get, the more frequently they seem to hit—regardless of how much you've imbibed. Suddenly it's not so much the amount you drank, but what seems like a randomized roll of the dice. Some of us will get hangovers after downing even a single pint at our favorite pub on St. Patrick's Day. For others, white wine may be the culprit, or the innocuous glass of champagne. The truth is, whether it's scotch or sangria, hangovers don't discriminate, and your body processes all types of alcohol the same. Keep reading for the tried-and-true tips you need to know about preventing a hangover.
The real trick to avoiding a hangover isn't what you do after you've imbibed, but what you do while enjoying your night out. This rule is a simple one: For every drink you have, you should have at least one glass of water. Hangovers occur because you're dehydrated, so before you mix together a motley concoction of lemon, ginger, and whatever else the internet has recommended, prioritize the necessities: Drink plenty of water. Drinking water while you're out will dilute the alcohol in your system, lessening its effects. If you're especially prone to hangovers, you can also keep Pedialyte on hand—yes, the stuff pediatricians recommend to kids with the stomach flu. Pedialyte contains electrolytes, which will also help replenish your system.
Keep Yourself Full
Alcohol absorbs quicker in an empty stomach, making its aftereffects more pronounced, so you should always feel satiated when you have a drink. Eat dinner and snacks throughout the night. If you've woken up with a hangover, one of the best things to do—along with consistently drinking water throughout the day—is eat a balanced meal. Headaches occur after hangovers because of a drop in blood sugar levels and dehydration. By eating, you'll be able to balance out your body's needs more effectively. Make sure your meal includes complex carbs—a bowl of pasta, a bagel—to help give your blood sugar the spike it needs. This is a time when complex carbs are your friend. Cherish your time together.
Take It Slow
Alright, so we left the most boring tip for last, but it's true: Listen to your body when you're drinking. Take it one drink at a time, and wait until you're done with one drink—along with that glass of water that was recommended earlier—before ordering another. Nurse your drink—the longer it takes you to finish, the better. The less alcohol you consume, and the more time your body has to process it, the less likely you are to be fighting a hangover the next morning.
Even health gurus get hangovers. Keep reading for the easy hangover cures experts swear by.