The best way to minimize a hangover is to hydrate. But there’s more to it than just drinking water. Here’s my advice:
First, start your night of drinking with a bottle of Gatorade or Powerade, or some other hydrating drink. NOT AN ENERGY DRINK. Don’t drink anything with caffeine. Do this first, so you’re ahead of the game, and keep your electrolytes up. Do it when you’re still sober, so you don’t forget.
Next, chase every drink with a half glass of water. Or every 2 drinks with a whole glass of water, which ever you prefer. This will keep you hydrated. You’ll be in the bathroom a lot, but that’s fine. Adults don’t play the “Don’t break the seal” game. You’re in the bathroom now so you’re not in the bathroom all night puking.
Stick to one kind of alcohol in each category. What does that mean? Don’t drink beer and wine. Don’t drink vodka and tequila. You can drink tequila and beer, but don’t get loaded on beer first, then switch to tequila. Do your tequila drinking (or whiskey, or vodka, or gin, or rum) first. Hard stuff first. Once you’re already drunk, STOP DRINKING HARD STUFF. Do not continue to push liquor into a drunk stomach. If you simply must keep drinking, switch to beer, and don’t switch back.
Eat. Wine goes with food. Beer is food. Liquor requires food. You’ve got to eat something. Follow your cravings. They’re your body’s way of telling you what it needs. If you’re feeling pizza, eat pizza. If you’re craving tacos, eat tacos. But whatever you do, eat something. If there’s no food, stop drinking.
And finally, just before bed, drink another Gatorade or Powerade, or another glass of water. Seriously, do it. I know, you’ve had a lot. Just drink it.
If you follow these steps, you’ll be feeling great the next day, and you can mess with your hung-over friends. If you forget to follow these steps, and you find yourself hung over, the only solutions are electrolytes and ibuprofen. So drink another Gatorade/Powerade, and pop a couple Advil.
But whatever you do, DO NOT TAKE TYLENOL or PARACETAMOL. The drug in Tylenol/Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is metabolized in the liver, but your liver has its hands full already, trying to filter out all that booze. This forces the acetaminophen into different pathways in the liver, which can become toxic, and cause permanent liver damage. DO NOT TAKE TYLENOL/ PARACETAMOL FOR A HANGOVER. Take ibuprofen. It’ll take a while to kick in, but it’s better than liver damage.
And have something to eat. Its better to take ibuprofen with something in your stomach, anyway.
Now, as for the “Hair of the Dog,” meaning, having another drink… well, I have good news and bad news. If you’re poorly hydrated, a morning drink may push off your hangover until you can get some more fluids in you, but it’s not ideal. One mimosa or a Bloody Mary may take the edge off your pain while you get hydrated, and have something to eat, but if you don’t at least do that (eat something and drink fluids), it’s only going to make it matters worse.
So that’s it. Hydrate, eat food, don’t mix liquors, and don’t drink liquor when you’re already drunk. Words to live by.
TL/DR: Drink electrolytes, stay hydrated, stick to one, maybe 2 kinds of alcohol, stop drinking liquor once you’re drunk, drink water chasers, get something to eat, chug another glass of water or an electrolyte drink before bed, take ibuprofen and more electrolytes in the morning, DO NOT TAKE TYLENOL or PARACETAMOL, and tread lightly on the morning drinks.
The featured image for this article is Day072-5_June by flickr user Kristina. It is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0) license.