No one loves to drink too much (or eat too much) and wake up with morning-after regrets — about the booze consumed or otherwise.
While the festivities offer a slew of excuses to overindulge, remember that the only guaranteed way to avoid a hangover is to reduce your booze intake.
While there are some ways to lessen your discomfort if you do end up overdoing it, there’s no wonder cure to reverse the damage.
Here are some hangover MYTHS to think about before you start boozing.
- MYTH #1: REACH FOR 'THE HAIR OF THE DOG'As tempting as hitting the cocktail menu for a decadent Bloody Mary or mimosa might be, think twice. More booze will only delay an inevitable hangover, which starts as soon as your blood alcohol level starts to dip. Unless you want to prolong the pain, it's probably best to get the headache and nausea over with as soon as possible.
- MYTH #2: TAKE HERBAL SUPPLEMENTSWhile activated charcoal or chlorella can lessen hangover symptoms, liver-cleansing herbal supplements won't. In theory, they may help the liver flush enough toxins to make a difference. However, alternative medicine practitioner Melanie Angelis of Nourished In Eden says her clients haven't noticed much of a difference after using milk thistle, reishi mushroom, or the amino acid glycine.
- MYTH #3: DRINK COFFEEIf you drink coffee regularly, a little bit won't hurt, (and may help with caffeine withdrawal), but don't think for a second that your morning joe is the key to getting back in the feel-good saddle. Instead of alleviating symptoms, it can amplify them by narrowing blood vessels and increasing blood pressure. It's a quick path to upgrading the throbbing in your head to a full-scale assault.
- MYTH #4: EAT GREASY FOODBacon and eggs may sound like the breakfast of champions, but no one picks up a gold medal for indigestion. Instead, think bland carbs that raise blood sugar, such as toast, oatmeal, and cereal.
- MYTH #5: SWEAT IT OUTA moderate workout may help you feel better. But if you feel up to working out, first guzzle water or a sports drink fortified with electrolytes. When you're in a hangover state, dehydration makes it tough to work out. The good news? Giving in to your weary side and sleeping it off may be a better solution.
- MYTH #6: DRINK PICKLE JUICESome individuals vow by the Polish hangover remedy of drinking pickle juice before bed. Sure, the liquid contains a high concentration of electrolytes (read: sodium), but swallowing down this salty mixture doesn't do much to alleviate a hangover (and, after a night of boozing, it's kind of gross).
- MYTH #7: POP A PAINKILLERAlcohol can alter how your body performs to painkillers -- and the result can be fatal. Acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) can lead to liver damage when used in combination with alcohol, especially in the elderly or those with a prevailing illness. Aspirin isn't a great second choice because it can raise stomach acids, contributing to ulcers and other complications. Ibuprofen (usually sold as Advil or Motrin) is generally a better option for the morning after.
- MYTH #8: HAVE AN ORGASMThere isn't plenty in life that an orgasm can't top, but there's no investigation indicating that a big O will out-wow the agony of a hangover. Nevertheless, if it makes you happy, go for it.
- MYTH #9: THROW UPIt's intuitive to want to get the awful stuff out, but surrendering down to the porcelain god isn't going to save you. Vomiting increases dehydration, and there's a risk of vomit entering your lungs. Instead, consume water and request medical treatment if you start to shake or experience hallucinations.
- MYTH #10: EAT BEFORE BEDA midnight (or later) snack is a case of the perfect idea at the incorrect time. It's best to have a belly full of food before drinking, not after. Although a massive bout of drinking may bring on a craving for a pre-bedtime burger, all that food is going to lay heavily on top of the alcohol that's still moving straight to your bloodstream.
- MYTH #11: BEER BEFORE LIQUOR, NEVER SICKERThere's no authenticity to the chemistry of combining booze in a specific order. Beer, wine, and spirits all encompass distinct levels of alcohol, and it takes longer to get drunk with beer than the hard stuff. But once you've reached the point of no return, the feeling is equally miserable.
- MYTH #12: SWALLOW A MULTIVITAMINWhile a multivitamin won't harm, don't expect a miracle, either. While someone with nutritional deficiencies due to long-term alcoholism may pay off, the intermittent stand-alone drinking binge takes a negligible impact on your vitamin levels. While many so-called hangover remedies believe to offer you a needed B12 or D push, healthy individuals won't recognize any change in their hangover symptoms.