The Hangover

Anyone who has drunk too much at some point will be familiar with a hangover, it is one of the major side effects of alcohol. It can be an extremely unpleasant feeling that can leave you with symptoms including headaches, extreme thirst, nausea and sensitivity to light and noise

There are many urban myths and old wives tales about a cure for a hangover which are nearly all untrue. The body can only process alcohol at one speed so although you can lessen the affects of a hangover your body will still need to break down the alcohol over the coming hours.  Some things will make us feel better but they won’t be removing alcohol from our body.

Things that don’t work!

Hair Of The Dog – Drinking more alcohol will not cure your hangover. All it does is put it off until later whilst boosting the existing toxicity of the alcohol already in your body.

“Beer before liquor – never sicker” – It’s the amount you drink not the order of your drinks that causes a hangover.

Taking aspirin or ibuprofen – if taken before drinking, aspirin has been shown to increase the levels of alcohol in your blood by 26%. Taking ibuprofen while drinking may increase the chance of side effects such as bleeding in the stomach or intestine.

Taking Paracetamol – This can be very dangerous as the toxic dose is very close to the prescribed dose. After consuming alcohol it is very easy to forget how much Paracetamol has been taken

A Fry Up – This might help you feel slightly better in the short term but your body will still have to process the alcohol and now all the greasy food too. Also there is no real nutritional value in a fry up that would help your body recover from being hungover

Coffee – alcohol is a diuretic; this means it will dehydrate you so coffee adds to the problem rather than helping.


Things That Help

Eat – You can reduce the effects of a hangover by eating a meal before you start drinking. The best foods to eat to slow the absorption of alcohol into the body are fatty foods as they remain on the stomach lining for a longer time. If you are in the process of digesting a steak your body has more time to process the alcohol and its by-products which will decrease the chances of a hangover.

Drink water – Before you go to sleep to to rehydrate your body and lessen the effects of the hangover

Rest – The only thing to get rid of the alcohol in your system is time, your body needs to detox and get rid of the alcohol to help reduce your hangover


It takes approximately 1 hour for your body to break down a unit of alcohol, assuming you are a healthy person to begin with. So a large glass of wine or a pint of beer can take 3+ hours to completely leave your body.

So if you went on a binge and started drinking at 8:00pm on Saturday night, you had 8 pints (ABV 4%) and 4 shots (ABV 40%) the alcohol will not have left your body until 6:00pm on Sunday afternoon at the earliest.


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