If you've ever had alcohol, chances are you've also experienced a hangover. It's uncomfortable, annoying and sometimes even painful.
Thankfully there are certain measures you can take to limit the severity of your hangover and how long your hangover will last. Easy decisions like choosing the right foods, staying hydrated and various other steps can help get rid of a hangover. Everyone reacts differently to alcohol (and may have a more severe hangover than others) but all can benefit from these tips.
Unfortunately for those with Asian Flush, or alcohol intolerance, hangover symptoms can be even more severe than usual. Some individuals will even experience symptoms as soon as their first drink, or even after the first few sips of alcohol.
Thankfully there are ways to reduce hangover symptoms, even for those with Asian Flush.
But first, what are the signs of a hangover? How can you spot a hangover?
Like with everything in life, the symptoms of being hungover will vary from person to person and will be influenced by numerous different factors. Aspects such as age of the individual, type of alcohol consumed, how quickly the person was drinking and the amount of alcohol consumed will impact a hangover.
However, common symptoms of a hangover can include:
- nausea and/or vomiting
- stomach ache
- dry mouth
- poor sleep
- sore muscles
- less ability to concentrate
- increased anxiety or depression
It's not hard to imagine that experiencing a severe hangover isn't pleasant. You don't want to miss out on drinking with friends at the bar, but you also don't want to deal with a massive hangover the next day. Or in the worst case, a two day hangover.
So what can you do for hangover relief? Choosing the right next-day food is a good place to begin.
Everyone has their own ideas about the best hangover food. Maybe your go-to meal is a big greasy breakfast, or you swear by a certain type of fruit smoothie. Either way, there's some science behind which foods can help reduce your hangover symptoms.
When drinking alcohol, you'll often experience dehydration and the loss of electrolytes like potassium and sodium. An easy way to help replenish your amount of potassium are bananas, which are obviously cheap and easily accessible. If you plan on going out one night, check to make sure you have some bananas at home for later!
Eggs and Cysteine
Another hangover food option are eggs, which are rich in cysteine. Cysteine is an amino acid that your body uses to create the powerful antioxidant glutathione.
When you consume alcoholic drinks, your body's level of glutathione will decrease. Without it, your system will struggle breaking down the toxic byproduct of alcohol called acetaldehyde. This chemical will then cause numerous issues in your system and some really uncomfortable symptoms.
Sodium and water through soup
Sometimes comfort foods like chicken noodle soup are easy sources of hangover relief. However, chicken noodle soup can actually help in a real way. This type of soup works improve sodium and water levels in the body. Like eggs, chicken also contains cysteine which will work towards lowering toxic acetaldehyde levels in the body.
It's cheap, easy to make and widely accessible, which are all bonuses, too!
Oats, oats, oats!
While not that exciting, oats can be very beneficial for reducing your hangover symptoms. Oatmeal has numerous nutrients like B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Oats can also help neutralize acids in the body and raise blood sugar levels, giving you an instant energy boost. Plus who doesn't feel comforted while having a hot bowl of oatmeal after a big night out?
Just by making simple choices about your after-party food can make a big difference on how severe your hangover will feel and how long it will last. So rather than reach for a big greasy fry-up, maybe try out these options mentioned instead.
Why do you get a headache after drinking?
It's obvious to point out, but still important, that drinking lots of water will help reduce your hangover symptoms. Your body gets dehydrated when drinking alcohol and will need plenty of water to recuperate afterwards.
Basically, drinking alcohol means getting dehydrated. That's why one of the most common hangover symptoms are headaches. This is your body's way of telling you that it needs water!
An easy way to avoid headaches after drinking alcohol is to ensure having a glass of water, or non-alcoholic drink, in-between all your alcoholic drinks. This will force you to stay hydrated and also drink less alcohol. A win-win!
It's also wise to drink enough water the following day to make-up for all the alcohol you've already drank.
Acetaldehyde and alcohol
As mentioned before, toxic acetaldehyde can build up in your system when drinking alcohol. For those with alcohol intolerance, or Asian Flush, a high amount of acetaldehyde can accumulate and cause severe negative symptoms.
For those with this condition, their body cannot process acetaldehyde normally when drinking alcohol. Instead of being broken down into a harmless chemical, acetaldehyde will continue to build-up in the system. This will cause the usual hangover symptoms, but often immediately after (or even during) drinking alcohol.
Commonly sufferers can experience a flushed red face soon after ingesting alcohol, hence why it's sometimes called "Asian Glow."
Although it's commonly know by Asian Flush, or Asian Glow, this type of condition can happen to anyone of any descent. It's often passed down through family members, so if your parents have Asian Flush, it's likely that you will, too.
In the end, this means that those with Asian Flush can experience an intense hangover, with symptoms appearing as soon as their first drink.
How long does a hangover last?
As with everything, hangovers are different person to person, and are even different from occasion to occasion. A usual hangover may last around 24 hours, but could be even longer if a lot of alcohol was consumed. Like hangover symptoms, there are a lot of different factors that can influence how long your unpleasant hangover will last, such as:
- type of alcohol consumed (spirits, beer, wine, etc)
- mixing different types of alcohol (first had spirits, than beer, then wine, etc)
- how quickly the alcohol was consumed (within 1 hour or across several hours)
- drinking on an empty stomach versus on a full stomach
- alternating alcoholic drinks with water and/or non-alcoholic drinks
- taking any medications that can lower your tolerance to alcohol
- a person's weight and age
Most people know how much they need to drink to experience a bad hangover the next day. Unfortunately, this comes with trial and error.
Understanding your own limit is important when consuming alcohol. Always try to stay within your limit so you have a comfortable and safe night out.
Other hangover remedies
Other than proper food and lots of water, there are few other ways to help reduce your hangover symptoms.
- Get some sleep - By giving your body some rest, you'll be able to recover quicker after a night out at the bar. Plus if you're feeling dizzy or nauseous, it's helpful to sleep through those symptoms.
- Take a shower - Everyone knows that a nice warm shower can solve a lot of issue. Make sure to take a shower after getting some sleep to help you feel better during your hangover.
- Consider painkillers - Some painkillers like paracetamol may help alleviate headache pain and muscle cramps felt from hangovers.
- A cup of coffee - A study conducted by Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia found that "a cup of coffee, strategically paired with aspirin, may be the best cure for a hangover." The study, conducted on rats, found that a dose of caffeine and an anti-inflammatory blocked the chemical acetate (which brings on headaches from alcohol) and relieved the pain.
There are a few hangover supplements currently on the market, most notably being Sobur. Sobur works to actually prevent hangovers by using a herbal extract called Dihydromyricetin (DHM). Sobur's ingredients aim to help the body "process alcohol quicker, protect your liver, and bring the chemicals in your brain back to regular (sober) levels."
All you have to do is take 1-2 capsules before bed with plenty of water. An easy solution!
A supplement like Sobur is a great option if you'd like to avoid your hangover all-together, rather than reduce the negative symptoms after the fact. Obviously nothing can 100% solve a hangover, but Sobur works to greatly eliminate hangover symptoms.
Can Sunset help with hangovers?
Although Sunset is designed for alcohol flush support, it uses a lot of the same vitamins and ingredients that are required to lessen a hangover. That's why you may not experience a severe hangover when using Sunset for flushing support.
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a great example. Used in both hangover supplements and Sunset, NAC is an amino acid that turns into glutathione, one of the most powerful anti-oxidants the human body can handle. In turn, glutathione works to break down toxic acetaldehyde that builds up in your system.
For those with Asian Flush, this toxic chemical causes your face to turn red (among other symptoms). However, breaking down acetaldehyde, even in those without Asian Flush, also means preventing symptoms such as headaches and nausea.
B vitamins are also really important to help with alcohol flush and hangover symptoms. Sunset has B vitamins such as Riboflavin, Niacin, Pridoxine, Cobalamin and Biotin. Not only do these vitamins help the body metabolise alcohol properly, it also helps turn NAC into glutathione.
So although Sunset is created for alcohol flush support, it also helps reduce the severity of hangovers.
Is there a hangover cure?
Unfortunately, no. There is no perfect cure for hangovers. However, by staying hydrated, eating properly and following some of the tips mentioned here, you can get your body back to speed quicker. You may even be able to reduce the length of your hangover.
No matter what techniques you decide to follow, make sure to always drink responsibly.