So, you hit the town last night and now you’re feeling a little worse for wear…
It seems like just five minutes ago that a shower and a coffee could shake off even the worst hangover! But now, you’re sprawled out on the couch wondering if you’ll ever move again, am I right?
Believe me, we’ve all been there. The chances are, even the word cocktails makes you want to run to the bathroom. But why do hangovers seem to have a 24-48hr expiry date all of a sudden? What happened to just brushing it off and heading out the door?
Well, my friend… If you’re wondering where it all went wrong, keep reading! As I’m about to cover why these types of hangovers occur, and how to combat them.
What’s a hangover, really?
Although many of us can define a (horrendous) hangover pretty easily, from a medical standpoint, there’s actually limited understanding.
Generally, a hangover is considered a form of withdrawal and tends to be short-term. Although some hangovers may feel like they’re going to last forever, they won’t – I promise!
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Put simply, a hangover involves your liver working overtime in order to process the previous evening’s alcohol intake. First, your liver needs to break down alcohol into acetaldehyde, which is toxic to the body. Next, it breaks down acetaldehyde into acetate, which is nontoxic.
After consuming a few too many cocktails, your body can be overloaded, meaning it can’t turn acetaldehyde into acetate quick enough. This is usually where the dreaded hangover comes in.
What does alcohol do to the body?
While the odd drink here and there isn’t likely to cause significant damage, binge drinking can take a serious toll on your overall health over time. We’re all affected by alcohol differently, but here are some of the feelings you may experience after drinking:
- Muscle pain – drinking alcohol could lead to muscle cramps and weakness.
- Metabolism problems – alcohol can damage the tissues in your digestive tract and prevent your intestines from digesting food properly, which means that your body doesn’t absorb nutrients and vitamins.
- Neurological function – alcohol can make communication between your brain and body more difficult. This makes coordination quite tricky for sure!
- Reduced immunity – according to research, drinking a lot of alcohol may reduce your body’s immunity, making it more difficult for your body to fight off germs and viruses.
How much alcohol causes a hangover?
Sadly, there is no magic number (sorry!). And how much a person drinks before experiencing a hangover will depend on their own body and metabolism.
For some of us, the liver can detox a lot faster, removing alcohol from the body. While others may have impaired alcohol metabolism (usually due to genetic factors) and may find that half a glass of wine or beer is enough to have a hangover.
Women often have lower levels of the liver enzyme to remove toxins from the body than men, so women are more likely to experience a hangover (sorry ladies!).
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To make matters more complicated, weight and height can also affect how you flush alcohol out of your body.
Why can some hangovers linger for longer?
When your head is thumping and your hangover feels never-ending… Here’s why it could be hanging around a little longer than you hoped:
- You didn’t drink enough water – Alcohol can quickly dehydrate you, making you feel sluggish (and pretty gross!) the next day. It can also slow down how quickly your body detoxes the alcohol out of your system the next day.
- You didn’t get enough sleep – After drinking, our sleep is typically more disturbed than usual. So while you may have conked out after a few too many, the likelihood of deep, peaceful sleep is relatively low.
- You were drinking dark booze -Introducing… congeners, these are the flavoring agents or by-products of fermentation, and they’re linked to hangovers. Stay clear to keep clear of hangovers.
- You’re getting old…er… – Compared to your 20s, the body’s ability to detox starts to slow as we get older. As we age, our cells are also aging and unable to process toxins in the same way as when we were 21, for example.
- You have a sensitivity or intolerance – Many of us have sensitivities we’re unaware of, especially when it comes to gluten – with beer made with barley and hops.
- You drank on an empty stomach – Alcohol can irritate your stomach lining, making any hangover nausea, pain, or vomiting worse. Not having food in your stomach before drinking can make this all feel worse. Eat something filling and carb-filled over a salad to line your stomach.
- You’re on your period – During your period, your body is already going through a lot! Adding dehydration into the mix can lead to a nasty hangover you’d rather avoid, believe me.
- You’re on medication – since your liver is responsible for breaking down medications, if you’re on medication, you’ll be forcing those two organs to work even harder, which may result in them working slowly.
How to cure a hangover
If you’re hanging off the couch as you read this, don’t worry, I’m about to share my top tips for both preventing (although it may be too late now, sorry!) and curing a hangover.
While there is little research into truly ‘treating’ and ‘curing’ a hangover, a small amount of research has shown that people who took an L-cysteine supplement after three hours of drinking reported lower levels of nausea, headaches, and anxiety the following day compared to those who took a placebo. However, there’s still room for plenty of further research.
Until someone works out the ultimate hangover cure from a medical perspective, I’m sharing my top tips to help shake off that dreaded next-day feeling:
- Make sure you eat breakfast! This helps to restore any lost vitamins and minerals, as well as restore your blood sugar levels and reduce hangover symptoms.
- Get plenty of (good quality) sleep
- Keep drinking… Water. It’s important to rehydrate!
Now, remember, in order to help avoid that dreaded hangover feeling, remember to eat before drinking, keep drinking water throughout and don’t go overboard, ladies!
Now, once your hangover is well and truly over, Trimtone is here to support your healthy living goals! Get back on track and boost your metabolism with our 100% natural formula, designed to curb cravings and boost fat loss. You’ve got this, ladies!