So, you’re going out tonight.
Maybe it’s a work drink. Or a friend’s housewarming party. Or a night out to that wine bar you’ve been dying to try. (You even scored a reservation!)
Whatever it may be, you’re already dreading the morning after. You’ve got a big call or meeting first thing in the morning, and you really have to bring your A game. In other words: a hangover is not in the cards. So how do you go about stopping it before it ever happens?
Luckily, there are a number of steps you can take throughout the night and morning after to prevent a hangover from wreaking havoc. Here’s what to do:
1. Drink a lot of water
Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it makes your body lose water through urination much faster than normal. That often leaves you dehydrated, which is partly what you’re feeling the next morning. So be prepared — drink water constantly throughout your night; before, during, and after alcohol consumption. We suggest the “every other” rule: swap in a glass of water in between every other drink.
2. Take a natural supplement before drinkingWe often recommend taking a natural supplement, like Over EZ, with water as early as possible. As in right before you start drinking, or in between your first or second drink. That way, your body will be able to absorb the vital minerals it needs quicker, and more easily.
3. Stick to drinks with less congeners
What are congeners, you might ask? That’s the name for the toxins that attack your liver when you drink, causing a hangover to worsen. They are more readily found in dark liquors such as bourbon, red wine, or stout beers. So if you can avoid them, you’ll be better off. Opt for light liquors, wine, and beer. (For example vodka has practically no congeners.)
4. Drink less
This is an obvious one. The more you drink, the worse your hangover will be. The less you drink, the better off. So if you’ve said “last beer” a few times now, it may be time to pack up and head home. You’ll thank yourself later.
5. Get good sleep
Sleeping under the influence of alcohol produces lackluster results, which affects how you feel the next day. So you’ll want to ensure you’re getting as much good sleep as you can. If you need the bedroom at a specific temperature or a certain blanket to sleep more comfortably, put those precautions into place before dozing off. And while the typical eight hours is crucial every day, really aim to get them here.
6. Go natural the morning after
So you made it home, and now you’re awake the next day. Hopefully, your head isn’t throbbing, but if it still is, we have a back-up plan. It lies in the food you’re craving right now. If you can make fatty food, like eggs, go for it. If you can brew a caffeinated drink, like coffee, please do. And if you can grab coconut water on your way to work, then we highly encourage it. That way, your body can get the electrolytes, amino acids, and hydration it so desperately needs.
A big part of this instruction is to avoid greasy foods or candy. If you’re thinking that bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich will save you, think again. Contrary to “soaking it all up,” as many believe they’ll do, greasy foods, like bacon or burgers, can actually make your hangover worse, by irritating an already sensitive stomach. And if you’re reaching for that candy bar at the work kitchen, hold off: artificial sugars can confuse your body’s need for natural electrolytes and carbs. That’s where the coconut water or fruits really should come in.
(See our previous post on the best and worst food to eat when you’re hungover.)
7. Exercise helps
We know it’s a tall order to get out and moving the morning after drinking, but if you think you can handle it, it makes a huge difference. A quick jog or treadmill run will get your heart pumping, which then circulates the toxins out of your blood system. And the faster those are gone, the better. So hit the gym, if you can make it there.
8. Don’t forget to keep hydrating
It’s the first and last bit of advice here because hydration doesn’t just end when you go to sleep. You should be continuously drinking water throughout the day because your body will still need it. For the watercooler at work, we recommend a refillable bottle that never leaves your desk. And if you’re going to the bathroom a lot, just remember — that’s your body getting itself back in order.
With these eight steps in mind, you’ll be on your way to nailing that presentation, acing the call, or tackling the day’s work. Because no night should keep you from being your best self.
Be prepared, and carry on.