A mid-week St. Patrick’s Day is a blessing and a curse: You have an excuse for a Wednesday bender, but you have to go to work the next day, no matter what condition you’re in. Here’s your guide to getting through the inevitable hangover.
1. Plan to get your H2O
Because the main cause of a hangover is dehydration, John Brick, the executive director of alcohol research group Intoxikon International and author of The Doctor’s Hangover Handbook, recommends you pound back water while you pound back those green beers.
It’s good advice, but “we know that never actually happens,” says David Sloan, a writer and artist in Key West, Fla., who also works in the hospitality industry and has experienced more than his share of wild nights followed by rough mornings. “Living in Key West, every day is St. Patrick’s Day,” he quips. With this first-hand knowledge, he co-authored The Hangover Survival Guide – Key West.
His recommendation: Drink as much water as your body can handle at the end of the night, before you go to bed.
“The biggest problem is when you get home, you want to lay down. So plan ahead – have it set out on the counter or beside your bed waiting for you.”
2. Mixing is not the problem
The idea that mixing drinks is the cause of vomiting is a myth, Dr. Brick says.
“It’s not from mixing different types of alcohol, it’s not from food that you’ve eaten that doesn’t go well with drinking. It’s either the concentration of alcohol in your blood or change in your brain that is too great – it’s a sign of poisoning.”
When the brew starts flowing, keep track of just how many pints you’re knocking back.
3. Go easy on the java
If you want to have coffee in the morning to get your brain in gear for work, Dr. Brick says go ahead and grab a cup – but scale back on the amount.
Caffeine constricts your blood vessels and can alter blood flow to the brain, he explains. Your brain cells are likely already be dehydrated from the alcohol consumption, so “if you add caffeine to that, it may make that condition worse.”
“If you are a regular coffee drinker and don’t drink coffee, you will probably experience some mild withdrawal,” he says. “Just try less than you’d normally drink.” Dr. Brick also says if you have a serious headache, Aspirin, not Tylenol, is best.
4. Have a smart breakfast
“As you’re losing water from drinking, you’re losing some ... important nutrients in the process,” Dr. Brick says.
A hearty comfort breakfast of bacon and eggs may be what you’re craving, but make sure you grab a side order of fruits and veggies, too.
What are your hangover cures? Share your tips with other readers
A sports drink such a Gatorade is great for the next morning, Dr. Brick adds, because “those types of drinks contain electrolytes, potassium and minerals that are very important for cell functioning.”
And if a night of hard drinking makes you lose your appetite, Mr. Sloan recommends potassium-rich bananas and vitamin- and iron-filled carrot juice – they’re great supplements to a big meal.
*And don’t do this:
Waste your time on “hair of the dog” concoctions. Most have only a placebo effect in treating your hangover.