Wednesday 25 August 2010

Hangover: Prevention or Cure

It’s the strange void before the discomfort which strikes first. An eyes-closed where am I, what time is it? Swallow and your tongue feels like your last meal was a sandcastle. Eyes stinging as the beer goggles linger like left-in contact lenses. A sea-sick stomach, a sudden flashback of something from the night before, an internal groan, the possibility that someone is actually in your brain and trying to break out by punching through your skull.

Sadly it’s something that most of us have had the displeasure of experiencing, not through intentioned design, of course, more a product of a good time, a bit like the sluggish lethargy following Christmas dinner. But how do you approach this unwelcome inevitability? Can you stave it off using preventative measures or do you wake up and then deal with it? (Abstinence doesn’t count)

Pre-university, as a fledgling drinker from the ages 18-20, my cure was simple: a pint of water and a packet of salt and vinegar squares. This would work for all but the fiercest of evenings (when meat and chips was required). During university it was dealt with by volume: a full meal at 3am, often cold leftovers (the most memorable being a five-day-old ‘bread and butter pudding’ made from a reduced-to-10p pack of eight jam doughnuts eaten straight from the fridge as I swayed bleary-eyed) or a mass panic-buy from the 24 hour Budgens. Post-university and the method is in a strange limbo: drink water, eat lots, eat whatever, hope for the best, sleep.

Some say have a glass of milk before you drink. Some champion eating a booze-soaking meal. Some say to order light-coloured drinks over dark. Some call for a glass of water between alcoholic drinks. Most go for the pint of water before bed… These all aim to prevent, but do they actually work?

Then the morning after… Stepping shaky-legged across splayed trousers, pizza boxes and borrowed street signs, what feast can guarantee to pick you up? Is it bacon? A full fry up? Black coffee, paracetamol and a cigarette? A bottle of sports drink. A head-clearing walk? Hair of the dog? Or do you mourn under the covers until indecently late?

Drink responsibly. Deal with the after-effects tactically. Are you a preventer or a curer or do you need a bit of both?


  1. It's simple, just follow these simple steps until you feel better. The worse the hangover the more steps you will need to complete:
    1) Coffee
    2) Orange Juice
    3) Fry Up
    4) Bloody Mary / Pint

  2. Before: hydrate and populate. Meaning, water and liver supliments, milk thistle.

    Then something like a liquid nourishment, or yoghurty milk drink. Stops the nibbles and slows the drinking.

    Drink a fair chunk of water thru the perio of drinking.

    Then, no salty things.

    Before bed, water, and have some ibruprofen to hand in case.

    You'll be fine.

    Or, you could just throw the whole idea and suffer like a bastard, like I did on Monday morning.

  3. i used to take a multi-vitamin pill when i got home (if i remembered; university days) now i just man up and bare it. Sleep, sleep, more sleep and pastry; i cannot do orange juice; it just curdles

  4. I’ve probably been an ‘all of the above’ man in my time excepting perhaps the cigarette. These days I tend to ignore the prevention part baring making sure I’m not going out for a session on an empty stomach.

    The cure tends to follow the 2 pints of water one of which containing some soluble para-codeine prior to falling into bed and the same when I wake up followed by a full fry up. I find that a Wetherspoon fry ups seem to have some mystical curative powers and would be happy to coordinate the clinical trial which tests this theory. I don’t claim any of this works, it usually only dulls the pain, but I always worry if I omit one of the steps.

    Of course I find that Hair of the Dog is also worthy of the occasional attempt too.

  5. I agree orange juice just makes you feel worst.

    Personally cup of tea wait for a period of time then have a resolve.

    Wait for a while then have something to eat, toast if you can't stomach much else or a cooked breakfast if you can eat. Eaten with a glass of water sipped.

    Hot bath with another glass of water to sip. This should mean you are over the worst of it. If by lunch time you still feel a bit shaky then a pint of beer will help to get rid of the reminder of the hangover.

    Remember to drink more water and have a decent dinner and go to bed early.

    However I have learn to just avoid drinking to excess, losing a day because you had too much the night before is just daft now I'm over thirty.

  6. When I were a lad the only rule was to not mix spirits with beer, especially bloody tequila.

    As I've got older, I try to remember to rehydrate during the session, but that isn't always successful. If possible, some food during can also mitigate the onset of pissedness.

    Once it's all over, eat something before bed, chased down with a glass of milk.

  7. I'm firmly in the "prevention is better than cure" camp. I actually dislike being drunk to be honest and try and do all I can to avoid it. When that's difficult then eating a shit load is the way to go. Lots of water before bed and then a long lay in the next day.

    Either that or just start drinking at breakfast, get hammered by lunch, sleep through the afternoon and feel fine the next day! :P

  8. Simple, a glass of water before you leave the pub and a fry up the next morning. It really does work, if you can keep it down longer than 20 minutes your laughing.
    However for the ultimte preventor have some chips on the way home and all should be fine.

  9. Eat lots. On the way home from nights out at uni we stopped at the legendary Sarnie Shack in Lincoln.

    1 x Meat Munch for the walk home

    1 x Barracuda when home

    1 x Meat Munch in the morning for brekkie

    1 x avoid 9am lecture in favour of Mario Kart and we were fine.

  10. I used to swear by Lucozade and fresh air.

  11. I'm with ATJ on the lucozade thing. Must be something to do with the sugar (which is how i beleive a full english works). Also - water before bed works for me (or at least dulls the pain), although the downside is copious pissing in the night. On my stag do last month I discovered Alka-Seltzer XL, which I'd never had before but sorted me out wonderfully!! Now an essential peice of kit (I'll bring you some on the October twiss-up!)

  12. I'm with ATJ on the lucozade thing. Must be something to do with the sugar (which is how i beleive a full english works). Also - water before bed works for me (or at least dulls the pain), although the downside is copious pissing in the night. On my stag do last month I discovered Alka-Seltzer XL, which I'd never had before but sorted me out wonderfully!! Now an essential peice of kit (I'll bring you some on the October twiss-up!)

  13. Naturally a full fry and a bottle of Irn-Bru is what I claim works for a hangover. However, these days in the absence of Irn-Bru, every third pint being water does the trick.

  14. If there's anything which unites us all when it comes to beer then it's the hangover!!

    Some good tips there. Leigh, I need to find some Alka-Seltzer XL, it sounds miraculous!

    I've started on Lucozade or isotonic drinks recently as they seem to do a decent job. The one thing which can guarantee to make me worse is coffee - I can't handle it hungover.

    I'm glad I've got these tips, too, because I've got three big days in Czech Republic coming up and I need to be on good form the day after (or I get pissy like a little bitch!)

  15. Before bed, water.
    Ibuprofen and water at 6am when the headache wakes me up anyway.
    Coffee, shower, and if that still fails, powerade. Breakfast only when feeling like it'll stay down.

  16. @ATJ I used to swear by Lucozade (the fizzy hospital drink not the new fangled isotonic stuff) but I think I'm immune now. And you are right about fresh air.

    Although, it should be said that not one single one of these cures will make a difference once you sit down at an office PC t 9an. They won't work one iota, I promise you.

  17. Three words: Chicken Fried Steak. It's a preventative and a cure. Mark, next time in the states, I'm making sure you eat this nectar of the gods.

    On the topic of orange juice, after my first Friday night at Boonville, I stammered out of the tent, stomach churning, head throbbing, to see one of the New Belgium Rangers sitting back with his feet up, orange in one hand, beer in the other. Then, to no one in particular, holding the orange as if it were Yorick he said, "Ahh, now that's a good pairing. An orange and a Tripel."

    I couldn't handle it. After keeping it together through the night, I made a bee-line for the bushes.

  18. Professor Pie-Tin27 August 2010 at 23:03

    I'm afraid you're all talking complete and utter bollocks.
    The only think to cure a hangover is sex - I've yet to experience a bad morning after that hasn't been instantly cured by banging the missus senseless.
    What a load of fucking lightweights.

  19. as a young un my preferred remedy was always a pint of 'Break Time' strawberry flavoured milk, and possibly a microwaved sausage roll after. usually did the trick. nowadays I just try not to do it unless I just think fuck it after the first five pints, but a bowl of sugar puffs and some ibuprofen helps. and morning sex always blows away the cobwebs, sprogs permitting