Lorraine: Dr Hilary shares his 'hangover cure'
Hangover cures are generally a myth, according to the NHS, but there are things you can to avoid one and to ease symptoms the next day. Fizzy drinks are a popular hangover cure, but according to Hird, who’s also cofounder of ViDrate, fizzy drinks are actually a bad idea.
He said: “Don’t drink non-alcoholic fizzy drinks, instead of water to try and fight off the hangover. Fizzy drinks actually increase the rate at which your body absorbs alcohol – so will make your hangover worse.
“Same with carbonated alcohol such as prosecco and champagne – the carbon dioxide speeds up your alcohol intake meaning you get drunker faster, resulting in a worse hangover.”
Hird offers five other tips for easing your hangover symptoms quickly.
Replace lost electrolytes
Electrolytes are key to hydration, said Hird. He explained: “They replenish your body with the minerals you need to retain fluids and expel toxins, meaning they’re one of the most effective remedies for a hangover, especially when combined with plenty of water.”
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While coffee may seem a quick and easy pick-me-up, Hird advises against it.
He warned: “Reaching for a cup of coffee on a hangover might seem like a good idea, but the caffeine dehydrates you further – making your hangover even worse.”
Have a power nap
Sleep is one of the best hangover remedies but when you’ve been drinking the alcohol disturbs your restorative sleep, according to Hird.
He said: “Try and schedule in a power nap the next day, or if you don’t have time make sure you get an early night so your body can recover.”
Exercise may be the last thing you want to do when your head is pounding. But you could reap the benefits after.
Hird advised: “Even a short walk or jog will make you feel better due to the fresh air and endorphins released by physical activity.”
If your stomach is unsettled and you keep getting waves of nausea then ginger is a great remedy.
Hird explained: “Ginger helps reduce inflammation and helps settle your stomach.
“Why not try adding it to a smoothie, the extra fruit and vegetables will also help replace the nutrients lost. Another idea is to add ginger to hot water, lemon and honey. The sugar in the honey will also help re-balance your low blood sugar levels.”
There is one way you can avoid a hangover completely and that is not to drink.
UK guidelines advise men and women don’t drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis and for drinking to be spread out over three or more days.
But if you choose to drink, Hird offers some recommendations to keep your hangover to a minimum.
Hydrate before drinking
“Dehydration is the main cause of feeling hungover, alongside vitamin depletion and excessively putting toxins into your body,” said Hird.
He added: “By staying hydrated before drinking you’re giving your body a head start. You’re supposed to drink 6-8 glasses of water everyday – so this gives you an idea of how much you should be drinking to stay hydrated.”
Make sure you eat
“This is an obvious one, but one many people ignore,” said Hird. “Don’t start drinking on an empty stomach as this makes your body absorb the alcohol quicker. By eating a well-balanced meal before a night out, you slow down the body’s alcohol absorption rate.”
Drink water with your alcohol
Alcohol is a diuretic, which stimulates your kidneys to produce urine, meaning it makes you lose more water than you take on board.
Hird explained: “Basically you pee more than you drink, which means you are dehydrating yourself and with that you also lose some of the body’s electrolytes. Drinking a glass of water for every alcoholic drink keeps you hydrated and helps you retain some water, minerals and vitamins.”
Don’t drink too much water
“Don’t chug multiple glasses of water before bed as this might do more harm than good,” warned Hird. Drinking water in excess means you’ll need to go to the toilet and can mess up your sleeping pattern.
He advised: “Drink one glass of water before bed and keep another on your bedside table for when you wake up with a banging head and dry mouth.”
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