Student Survival: Hangovers


Read these top tips for overcoming those killer hangovers

Words by Steph Butcher and edited by Rebecca Pates

With the start of the New Year and a new term, here are a few tips on how to improve how you feel the morning after a wild night out and still make it to those early morning lectures. Although these tips will help, it is impossible to eradicate all symptoms caused by a heavy night of drinking. Keep in mind these are only prevention methods to feeling rough in the morning, not methods to avoid the heath consequences of getting drunk.

Step 1 – Before the Night Begins

The first stage of preventing a hangover starts before you begin drinking with the most obvious tip: eat a hearty meal.

This one seems like common sense, but it’s surprising how many people skip eating before heavy drinking – an act that is incredibly dangerous and, not to mention, can result in getting embarrassingly drunk very quickly. It’s been recommended that eating red meat is the most effective to bust those toxic by-products of alcohol, due to the amino acids and Vitamin B. So make sure you eat a meal that consists of carbs, protein and fat before you start your night. Lining your stomach helps your digestive system to cope with the alcohol because it won’t have to deal with the toxins all at once.

In addition, make sure your body has plenty of vitamins. Dr Burke (founder of Hangover Heaven in Las Vegas that deals with those who party a little too hard) swears that taking a multivitamin will help the inflammation and oxidative stress that alcohol causes, with antioxidants helping to rectify the damage.

Step 2 – Let The Drinks Pour

When the night begins and the drinks start to flow, there are also a few things you can do to help prevent the aftermath. For choices of drinks, it is best to stick to clear spirits, such as vodka and gin, that contain fewer impurities than dark liquors like rum and whiskey. Choosing juices over carbonated sodas can also have a slight positive effect. Containing less sugar and fewer calories but more vitamins than carbonated sodas, overall juice is simply a healthier option!

Step 3 – Rehydration

Of course, one of the main factors that causes hangovers is dehydration and drinking water is most people’s main solution. Although this will help, drinking a sports drink, such as Lucozade, will not only help to rehydrate but also quickly replace the vital electrolytes and nutrients that you lose while drinking alcohol. So before a night out, make sure you leave a bottle on your bedside to help rehydrate before you hit the sack.

Step 4 – Rest and Recuperation

The most important remedy (yet hardest to control) is plenty of sleep. So it’s most sensible to make sure you go out on a night when you know you’ll be able to catch up with your beauty sleep the next morning to help your body heal. Though student life doesn’t always seem to work that way. So once up the next morning, make sure you continue rehydrating and replacing the nutrients your body needs.

One main misconception is how a classic British fry up and a strong cup of coffee is the best way to get rid of a horrible hangover. However, overloading your body with lots of fatty foods will only slow down its ability to process the alcohol, which in turn only prolongs your hangover.

The best thing to do is eat a light breakfast.  Eggs are a good choice due to the cysteine content which will help to break down toxins your body produces while dealing with the alcohol. If you can’t quite face eggs the next morning, toast with honey will help to replenish fructose, potassium and sodium, which are all lost during alcohol consumption.

Furthermore, drinking coffee may give you a quick uplift, but caffeine will only dehydrate you further, again prolonging the process for your body to return to normality. Caffeine is also extremely dangerous for drinkers who intend to drive the next morning. Caffeine can mask how the alcohol is still affecting your reflexes the next morning by making you feel more alert than you really are.

Step 5 – When All Else Fails

Finally, if the hangover is too unbearable, anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, will help with the inflammation that alcohol causes. However, this should not be the solution to every hangover as taking too many painkillers can have other implications.

Save this option for the especially bad mornings that seem unbearable to face.