More to the hangover than myths
Almost all of us are guilty of having one too many drinks during the festive season.
And what often comes with this is the dreaded hangover the next morning, something which can ruin an entire day and make us regret ever touching alcohol.
There many common myths and misconceptions about hangovers and what causes them.
According to Professor Steve Allsop from Curtin University’s National Drug Research Institute, there are many theories as to what causes us to feel rotten the morning after.
“A lack of sleep is one. Some suggest dehydration could be a factor because alcohol is a diuretic,” he said.
“So for want of a better phrasing, you are peeing more than you drink. And in our hot climate, that can be a particular issue.
“It could also be the congeners. Congeners are the things that give flavour to drinks. Brandy has more congeners than vodka. White wine has less congeners than red wine.
“Some people have adverse reactions to congeners and that means drinks that are heavier in congers can make them feel ill the next day.”
Professor Allsop said one of the main causes was that alcohol was toxic.
“Alcohol is broken down into an aldehyde and this can make you feel very unwell,” he said.
“The liver is quick to settle the aldehyde down.
“There seems to be some variation between different people as to how quickly they can break that toxin down.”
Professor Allsop said even the preservatives in certain alcoholic beverages can lead to a hangover.
“Some people say they react to certain preservatives and that can result in a hangover,” he said.
“I can name a few myself, but I won’t. There are a couple of
high-profile, low-quality beers that are on the market that make me feel foul after just the one.”
Although it may be obvious, Professor Allsop said the more you drink, the more likely you were to get a hangover.
This was as opposed to the theory that if you mix drinks, you are more likely to feel the negative affects.
“When it comes down to it, the main factor that causes hangovers is how much you drink,” he said.
“During the festive season people drink more often and in our climate they do it for longer.
“There are many weird and wonderful theories regarding hangovers, such as I shouldn’t have had that last drink or I shouldn’t have had that whisky.
“But really it was the previous 14 that they had that caused the hangover.
“If you have one drink, it is very hard to mix your drinks.”
Red wine has more congeners than white wine, which can increase the effects of a hangover.