The Price We Pay

I haven’t figured it out. New Year’s Eve seems to be a universal excuse for partying and overindulging. Why does everyone party hearty this one day of the year? Problem is, most people pay for their revelry the next day – me included.

Hangovers aren’t a new thing. It’s said that the Romans ate roasted canaries as a hangover remedy. (Tweetie, you’re safe in my house.) Today we know scientifically why most people get hangovers … the alcohol changes into a toxin as your body processes it and the hangover effect is the fight to get all that crap out of your system. In addition, alcohol dehydrates you which also isn’t a good thing. What science hasn’t figured out is why some people can overindulge and not get a hangover. (I’m jealous.)

The best cure for a hangover is not to get drunk in the first place. However, we know that’s not going to happen so the next best things are:

1. Eat a full meal before you start drinking. The food in your stomach will absorb some of the alcohol. That’s not to say it’ll absorb all of it but it’s a slight buffer between the alcohol and your really-absorbent stomach lining (and bloodstream). Keep nibbling during the party, too. “Coating your stomach” beforehand with a stick of butter doesn’t work and only raises your cholesterol levels.

2. Stay hydrated and rehydrate. Try to drink a glass of plain water between drinks and as much water as you can handle before you go to bed.

3. You lose a lot of electrolytes and vitamins while drinking so a sports drink designed to replace these things can help. However, sports drinks can also dehydrate so add plain water in there, too. Fruit juice will replace lost vitamin C as well as some water.

4. Get some exercise. As abhorrent as it may sound when you’re having problems staying erect, exercising can help move the toxins out of your system faster. While you might not be able to balance on a bicycle, a brisk walk will help clear the cobwebs.

5. Avoid caffeine. You’ve heard the term “wide awake drunk”, I’m sure. Well, caffeine will just make you a wide awake miserable person. Caffeine is dehydrating, too, and just makes the situation worse.


6. Sleep. Most people don’t have to work tomorrow and sleep is one of the best things you can do to help your body recuperate. If you wake and can’t go back to sleep, as long as you don’t have any bets riding, you can doze during the football games.

A lot of hangovers are simply bad headaches. Stop before you reach for the bottle of aspirin or ibuprofen. Aspirin is a blood-thinner (as are the herbal equivalents) and ibuprofen can harm your already-overworked liver. In most cases, the headache is the result of dehydration so drink juice and water instead.

For hangovers with nausea, try ginger tea or a few slices of fresh ginger. Ginger is a well-known help for nausea. However, there are those for whom ginger just won’t be enough. Go ahead and pray to the porcelain god. You’ll feel better for it.

Above all, have a safe New Year’s Eve. Have a designated driver, take a taxi or don’t go out at all. If you’re the host of the party, please confiscate car keys. Hangovers are much, much worse to deal with in jail.

Enjoy your evening … I’ll see you next year!