Beware the night before
So you’re planning to pace yourself at the office party, on New Year’s Eve or Christmas Day itself – excellent! But do watch out the night before those dates. “We’ve shown that people tend to actually drink more then – December 30, for example, is a real peak for alcohol-related problems,” says Dr Bruce Bolam. He’s not sure why – maybe it’s the anticipation of the big night making us excitable – but if you’re out the night before your big event, watch your intake carefully or even consider abstaining totally, just in case.
Drink plenty of water the night before
“The more hydrated you are, the better your body detoxifies,” says naturopath Katherine Maslen.
Take a B-complex supplement before you head out
Many of the symptoms of a hangover are caused by depletion of B vitamins. Katherine also suggests eating something containing vitamin B before going out
– try a snack of rice crackers and avocado as a light stomach liner.
Know how to pour
It makes sense that the less alcohol you drink the lower your risk of hangovers. Studies show the risk increases after three standard drinks. Recent research from Iowa State University in the US has analysed how people pour, and found knowing the results can help you naturally drink less. Follow these three tips:
1. Use a narrow glass
You will pour 12 per cent more into a glass with a wide rim.
2. Place the glass on the table to fill it
People also add 12 per cent more to a glass if it’s being held in someone’s hand.
3. Only get refills from a female friend or waitress at the bar
They tend to serve nine per cent smaller measures than men do.
Don't go for a pre-party workout
Here’s an odd fact: Research from Northwestern University in the US has found we drink more on days we work out – maybe because we feel we’ve done something good for our body, so now we can let our hair down a bit! Do get moving the morning after though – even just a brisk walk will help. Research from the University of Colorado suggests those who exercise suffer less damage to the white matter of their brain after drinking.
Eat detox-boosting foods
Fresh beetroot, bitter leaves like rocket or watercress, and lemon juice are in Katherine’s top recommendations to aid in detox.
Choose your venue wisely
The environment you’re drinking in can make a difference to how much you consume. Studies have shown that the louder the music, the faster people drink. “We also know that you drink more if you’re standing up,” says Dr Bolam. “Simply settling down
helps – you also slow down if you eat something or if you do something entertaining like a pub quiz or playing pool.” Beware dancing though: It dehydrates you so you’re more likely to end up hungover.
Avoid the morning-after misery makers
It’s long been known that the darker your drink, the more likely it is to cause a hangover the next day, but some other drinks may cause problems even if you don’t overdo them, simply because they contain ingredients that may not suit you. “Beer
for example can affect the balance of gut flora,” says naturopath Katherine Maslen. “So if you get symptoms of burping, bloating or wind the day after drinking beer, this could be an issue for you. Also, the more sulphites there are in a wine, the greater
many people’s symptoms are the next day.”
On top of this, be careful if you’re mixing anything with an energy drink. New research from Australia has found it can increase the urge to drink more – which also increases the risk of a head throbbing the next day!
Use your foolproof remedy
Psychologists in the UK found hangovers are less common as we get older, possibly because we’ve worked out how to tackle them by the time we get into our 40s. If you haven’t got a favourite remedy yet, try one of these:
1. When you get home
Drink two big glasses of water with a rounded spoonful of Vegemite or Marmite. “It can be hard to force it down, but it contains everything you need – salt to fight dehydration and B vitamins that need to be replenished,” says scientist Jade Lovell, who is also a presenter on YouTube channel ‘Did Someone Say Science?’.
2 The morning after
Mix 150 ml of coconut water with 150 ml of orange or grapefruit juice and a pinch of salt. “It rehydrates you brilliantly,” says Katherine.
Take two days off between parties
It gives the liver time to mop up some of the damage. If you have a super social party season though, choose to not drink at some events. “Be the designated driver and make your friends happy,” suggests Dr Bolam. Otherwise, to get through the night temptation-free, try having your soft drink in a wine glass, as it makes you feel more festive and also tends to rebuff most questions. But if people are nagging you to drink, a sense of humour helps others better understand your choice. If, for example, people accuse you of being no fun, say something like, “Not true, I’m intending to dance rings around you later and need to have my coordination intact.”