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Hangover Myths and Facts

Hangover Myths and Facts

Hangovers can be defined as: the one thing they forgot to leave out when they invented alcohol. We’ve all been hungover before, and most of us have done some silly things to get rid of that nasty headache or upset stomach. As you venture out this weekend you might want to keep in mind some of the hangover myths and facts for the following morning. Recently I scoured the web and checked out The Doctor’s Hangover Handbook by Dr. John Brick, and to my surprise many of the things I thought were a sure-fire way to cure a hangover were actually a great way to make things worse. In his book, Brick notes that we actually become smarter from drinking and being hungover. Why? Just as it is in the wild, only the strong survive; as you kill brain cells with each drink, the stronger cells endure. So cheer up, you must be a genius by now! So what’s the best way to fight a hangover? Here are some hangover myths and facts:

Myth: The hair of the dog. Have another Bud Light they said, you’ll feel better they said. You will feel better in short term, but it will only delay the inevitable. That morning drink could lead to you feeling like you’re hungover the next day! I’ll pass.

Fact: Toast and crackers. Every time I was sick as a child my mother would bring me Saltines and dry toast. I think mom was onto something because Dr. Charles Cutler, of the American College of Physicians, agrees that we should stick to easy to digest foods like toast when we are hungover.

Myth: Sweat it out. You might’ve heard one of your friends say they’re going for a workout or to the sauna to “sweat out” the toxins. The thing is, if you’re hungover you’re most likely dehydrated and don’t have the right nutrients in your system. Additionally, there are dozens of alcohol related sauna deaths each year as the heat drastically drops your blood pressure. If you simply must hit the gym stay out of the sauna, stay hydrated and keep the workout light.

Fact: R & R. It goes without saying that sleep, water, and a shower is the way to go (Gatorade is okay too). But how many times do we rush off to our daily activities still hungover or skip on the water cooler? If you’re able to relax, do it. Now don’t just sit in bed in the clothes you came home in, take a shower, you’ll be amazed how much of a difference it makes.

Myth: The greasy morning after. Get that greasy meal in before you drink, not after. Dr. Brick agrees that having a greasy meal the next day isn’t going to warrant you much more than heartburn and maybe a trip to the bathroom. Having it after the damage has been done, is like massaging your arm after you broke it.

Fact: Sunglasses and Advil… and quiet. Kanye West got something right. While no real painkillers are recommended if you’re a heavy drinker, you should choose something like Advil instead of Tylenol. Tylenol is too risky, says Dr. Cutler, as it can do further damage to your already aching liver. If you must go out while hungover, keep those shades on and try to keep things quiet. Bright lights and loud noises won’t help your cause.

Myth: Hangover pills and other things. One New Year’s Day, with a bad hangover and watching Mad Men, I noticed good ol’ Don Draper knocking back some Alka-Seltzer. I immediately crawled to my medicine cabinet and took what appeared to be 3 year old Alka-Seltzer. To my surprise my stomach actually felt worse, maybe others like Don had better luck. Also, there isn’t much scientific proof that hangover pills do anything for your hangover. Oh the irony.

Coffee! The most controversial of the hangover myths and facts. For myself, a cup of coffee during a hangover turns a moderate headache and cotton mouth into a tsunami of pain. For others that I’ve heard from, it’s just what they need to snap out of it. However, keep in mind that caffeine can have negative effects on both the nervous system and blood vessels. So if you must have your coffee fix start very small and see how you feel.

Unfortunately there really is only one way to ensure that you don’t have a date with Mr. Hangover, and that’s to not drink. I can’t say that’s an option, here’s to our next date — Cheers!