We all know that a large part of St Patrick’s Day festivities include drinking, which is all well and good until the morning after, at which point everything you’ve had to drink the night before comes back to haunt you. If you’re planning to take the next day off from everything except recovering from that hangover, then you’re probably not in need of this article. However, for the rest of us, that may be a luxury we simply can’t afford to take (if you can call laying in bed with a monster of a headache, punctuated by frequent trips to the porcelain throne, a luxury…).
So if you’re willing to take some extra steps on St Patrick’s Day, and perhaps a few in the early hours the day after, you can save yourself and your family from experiencing some of the worst side effects of drinking too much booze.
7. Balance fluids with solids (Eat more food): The worst kind of hangover tends to be one where you’ve had too much to drink on an empty stomach, so be sure to eat before you head to the St Patrick’s Day party, plan on grazing on snacks while you’re drinking, and have a meal after you’re ready to call it quits on drinking for the night. Having some food in your belly slows the absorption of alcohol, which helps your body to deal more effectively with acetaldehyde (your liver converts ethanol into acetaldehyde, which is 10 to 30 times more toxic than the alcohol itself).
6. Keep yourself properly hydrated (Drink more water): Just because alcoholic drinks are liquids doesn’t mean they are keeping you hydrated. In fact, one of the effects of ethanol on the body is as a diuretic – increased production of urine – which can add dehydration to the number of things your body has to deal with while drinking. Drink plenty of water before beginning your party session, make sure you’re drinking a glass of water after every alcoholic drink, and drink as much water as you can before hitting the sack that night. And if you’re really on top of your game, fill a water bottle before bed and keep it next to you for that thirst that comes in the middle of the night (and first thing in the morning).
5. Choose clear and light-colored drinks: Darker liquors tend to have higher levels of fusel oils and congeners, which are byproducts of alcohol fermentation and are suspected in exaggerating the effects of alcohol on the body, including hangovers. So think about skipping that red wine or bourbon and choosing vodka instead (and steer clear of the green beer!).
4. Stick to your poison: Mixing the kinds of drinks you imbibe just might make your hangover that much worse, so pick your poison and stick to it. Having a variety of different types of drinks in your system also brings with it a variety of different kinds of flavorings, additives, and ingredients, which causes your body to deal with more than it would with a single type of drink.
3. Set limits for yourself: When we say we’re hungover because we drank “too much”, there’s a lot of truth in that. If we had stuck with just one or two drinks (it depends on your size and tolerance for alcohol), then we probably wouldn’t be on our knees in front of the toilet. Set a limit to the number of drinks you’ll consume on St Patrick’s Day, and stick to it. If you absolutely must have a drink in your hand to be part of the party, then make sure it’s water, juice, or a sports drink.
2. Pop some pills: No, not those kinds of pills, but rather some aspirin and multivitamins. Taking aspirin can help head off the effects of a nasty St Patrick’s Day hangover, and vitamins can help your body by replacing some of the crucial nutrients which get used up or lost when it deals with excessive alcohol intake.
1. Just say no: This is probably the least popular option for avoiding a hangover, but also the most effective – it’s hard to get a hangover when you haven’t been drinking! Again, if you feel that you must have a drink in your hand at a party, go ahead, but replace that cocktail or Guinness with a juice, water, or sports drink (or bring along your own non-alcoholic sparkling beverage for a great look-alike drink).