Happy new . . . hangover
If January 1 for you usually begins with a cracking headache and a solemn vow never to drink again, it’s time to start planning how to minimise the damage. Here are some favourite hangover fixes
YOU wake up — your head is pounding, your stomach is churning, the inside of your mouth feels like a piece of shoe leather. That’s right, you’ve got a huge hangover.
As you make your umpteenth trip to the bathroom, you will no doubt make a solemn promise to yourself that you’ll never drink again. We all know that’s a hollow promise, especially around the festive and New Year party season.
So what can you do to cure every reveller’s worst nightmare: the morning after?
‘‘There is only one method of not getting a hangover,’’ says Trent Watson from the Dietitians Association of Australia.
‘‘And, unfortunately, that involves not drinking to start with.’’
The problem, he explains, is that when we overindulge, we set in motion a process that our bodies will play out regardless of how many times we say ‘please God, I’ll never do it again’.
‘‘When you drink too much it causes dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, gastrointestinal disturbances, low blood sugar, interrupted sleep patterns and biorhythmic disturbances similar to jetlag,’’ says Watson.
‘‘And, of course, if you’ve really overindulged, you might get alcoholic withdrawal symptoms too.
‘‘You get a rapid pulse, nausea or vomiting, flushes — they’re all symptoms of a hangover.’’
And there is nothing you can do to speed up what’s happening to you — your body is undergoing a metabolic clean-out in its own sweet time.
But there are some things you can do to take a bit of the excruciating pain out of your hangover. ‘‘Don’t mix drinks, don’t drink on an empty stomach — the more food before and during, the better — and have plenty of water while you are drinking,’’ advises Watson.
‘‘And women, don’t try to keep up with the guys — men have a higher volume and bigger organs so their tolerance is much greater.’’ If you forget to do all of that perhaps one of our seven cures — one for each day of the week — will actually work for you.
Alex Travers, etiquette expert
‘‘My cure for a little overindulgence is: Go to Yum Cha (tea is cleansing and you can eat what you can manage and you will be spared seeing more Christmas food). Afterwards take yourself and your partner to the movies — it is dark in there, you can either watch the movie or have a snooze. If you have to go to another function never say you have a hangover; that is in the worst taste.’’
Sue Ostler, relationship expert and author
‘‘Denial’s my best hangover cure. I crank up Courtney Love on the stereo and throw together a super-size Berocca and banana smoothie with lashings of fresh ginger and mint. Later I head down to my favourite sushi place for a carb and protein hit. Sushi does it for me — forget grease and salt — a spicy salmon roll washed down with green tea will clear the head and the stomach. Soon I’m good as gold and ready to step out for some serious vodka therapy.’’
Alison Smith, massage therapist
‘‘If I can, I have a massage to relieve my hangover. A good massage seems to go a long way toward bringing some balance back to my system, preceded and followed by copious amounts of water. Failing the availability of massage I’m a fan of miso soup, daggy track pants and a video.’’
Peter Petrou, personal trainer
‘‘If you lead a sedentary lifestyle and never exercise, then this hangover cure is not for you (go and have a donut for breakfast and slip some whisky in your coffee instead). But if you do exercise, even moderately, have a Berocca to replace the B group vitamins and go for a workout. My personal option would be to go for a run. You can go at your own pace, or you may enjoy a brisk power walk or a swim.’’
Tracy Willis, spa resort publicist
‘‘After a night out that has involved too much alcohol, as well as too much high-fat, salty food we can all wake up feeling ordinary. I find it helps to have a peppermint tea — because it’s soothing to the stomach and much gentler than caffeine, plus the peppermint helps if you have a headache. Vegemite on wholemeal toast.’’
Spero Tsindos, vice-president of Australian Naturopathic Practitioners Association
‘‘What I do is have a large glass of water before I start drinking and a Vitamin B Complex. At the end of the night, I have another big glass of water.
Wally Pack, barman
Who better to advise a cure than a head barman? Wally Pack, bar manager at Sydney’s Opera Bar: ‘‘First of all, if you can have a hair of the dog in the morning, you probably haven’t drunk enough! Try to drink the more watery US beers.’’