We are fast approaching the party season and some of us are dreading the hangovers we are about to experience! So through my experience of working with 100’s of clients over the years from all backgrounds (and drinking abilities!) I’ve had to find out how to help people be more efficient at dealing with a hangover in their workouts and Jobs!
The reason you feel so lousy after a hard night’s drinking could be a combination of dehydration, hormonal changes induced by alcohol, direct toxic effects of alcohol, and inflammation caused by metabolising alcohol, or it could be a result of impurities in the beverages.
Here’s a few tips to help you:
1. Hydration, hydration, hydration. Most of the ‘pain’ of a hangover is actually dehydration. Even if your body loses 2% of its water it will cause a host of problems and alcohol has a huge impact on dehydrating the body. It’s nice to think that the ‘banging’ head ache is actually dehydrated blood trying to be pumped through the brain! So, water is needed first thing in the morning but coconut water can be even better as it replaces electrolytes naturally and juicing carrots, apple and lemon can have an instant alkalising effect on the body with the lemon reducing head aches in some cases.
2. Exercise. So after hydrating yourself, don’t lay in bed and feel sorry for yourself, get outside in the fresh air and have a mild run for 10-20 minutes. This will increase blood flow, enabling the body to dispel toxins and make you feel better.
3. Magnesium. Many of the symptoms of hangovers are believed to come from the magnesium depletion that occurs when you drink alcohol. Supplementing your diet with addition magnesium helps counteract hangover symptoms that stem from a lack of magnesium. Epsom salt baths are a simple and effective way to absorb magnesium into the body when you’re hung over.
4. Fizzy mixers. Avoid carbonated mixers as researchers have proven that fizzy mixers increase the amount of alcohol absorption into the system
5. Balance blood sugar. Alcohol will really mess with your blood sugar levels, that will increase cortisol levels in the body and cortisol increases will disturb your sleep quality. So drinking full fat milk before bed helps with hydration through the night without you having to pee every 30 minutes and eating something high in fat and protein can help to stabilise blood sugar before bed.
6. Balance liver function. For the long term, look after your liver! Ever remember that hangovers were not such a bad thing and you would be fine by mid day? That was probably when your liver was younger and healthier! The more efficient your liver and digestive system is, the faster you will recover. Use milk thistle as a supplement and eat lots of dark green vegetables at least every day.
7. Go low for a high. Eat low glycemic index foods the following day and avoid caffeine and sugar. Caffeine will dehydrate you more and sugar will raise blood sugar again making you feel far worse after a brief pick up.
8. Women should drink less. Yes I said it, women that try to (and do) drink as much as men are in for a rougher ride. When a woman drinks, the alcohol in her blood stream generally reaches higher levels than a mans because most women have less water in their bodies than a man and so is less diluted. So for the long term, a woman is more susceptible to organ damage and more impaired by alcohol. Interestingly, birth control pills or other medications containing oestrogen can slow down the rate that alcohol is eliminated from the body.
9. Drink clean. Go for cleaner drinks like high quality vodka, red wine and tequila. Avoid high sugar drinks and mixers, very sweet wines and get off the beer if you’re gluten or yeast intolerant because that’s a very bad hangover right there.
Have a great December!