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Cracking the Christmas Hangover – Top Tips and Tricks

Written by Science, Science & Tech

The first thought of any Uni student (and most adults) when someone mentions the word Christmas, is alcohol, alcohol and more alcohol (and pigs in blankets). Christmas is well known as the time of the year when you can drink to your heart’s delight in the midst of celebration – until the heaviest hangover you can imagine hits you on Boxing Day annually. So what are the best tips and tricks to keep you singing and dancing to ‘Fairytale of New York’ all day and night, but still keep you able to get those deals in the Boxing Day sales?

One of the most obvious, and yet best hangover cures is drinking water – yes, it’s amazing how something can be so simple yet so effective.

The reason for this, is that excess alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration, by limiting the release of a hormone called vasopressin (also known as anti-diuretic hormone). This means water is no longer absorbed by the kidneys, so it travels straight to the bladder. This also explains why you spend at least 50%, if not more, of your night visiting the loo, as well as having a mouth as dry as the desert and a banging headache the next morning.

So, the first tip to stop you feeling like someone’s hammering at your head the next morning, is to put a pint of water before your bed before you start your festivities. Therefore, you have to stumble across it before you tuck into bed, virtually guaranteeing you’ll down it before you drift off. An alternative, or even addition, could be to match every drink with a glass of water afterwards – but let’s be honest the idea of an extra glass of wine instead will probably take over!

If water is a bit too bland for your liking, fizzy drinks is another popular suggestion to cure those ‘popping’ headaches.

According to research carried out in China, Sprite is thought to be most effective at curing your hangover, as it can metabolize alcohol at the fastest rate.

Jane Scrivener, author of The Quick-Fix Hangover Detox: 99 Ways To Feel 100 Times Better, said: “It has a high water content to rehydrate you and is high in sugar for an instant pick-me-up, yet the simple sugars mean you’re likely to soon come crashing back down. But, its lemon and lime juice content is alkaline and will help balance the acid in your gut, quelling feelings of nausea.”

Another tip which can’t go wrong is a good old portion of grub– so get out those Christmas day leftovers which are waiting in the fridge to be eaten. Cysteine, an amino acid found in foods such as turkey, helps to break down acetaldehyde, a poisonous conjugate which is broken down by the liver after you drink alcohol. Don’t forget about those roast potatoes though – hangovers can cause your blood sugar levels to drop and carbohydrates help redress the balance.

If the tips above seem a little too obvious for you, there are many weird and wonderful hangover cures suggested from all around the world you could try- although, they are definitely not scientifically proven, or recommended!

For example, it’s reported that Puerto Ricans believe rubbing a lemon into your armpit whilst drinking could prevent the next morning becoming a nightmare, as it reduces the risk of dehydration, maybe it could work with a Christingle?

Another exotic suggestion is that in Japan, locals are thought to eat umeboshi, an extremely pickled, dried fruit (similar to a plum or apricot) with green tea. There is supposedly some science behind this cure, as the salt in the plum attempts to replenish depleted electrolytes. I think I’d stick to a pint of water!

Despite all these tips, we should remember that Christmas only comes around once a year, so for what it’s worth I’m sure a little headache which can be easily cured with a couple of paracetamols, is worth it. After all, Christmas is for celebrating right?!

 

 

Last modified: 11th December 2018

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