Hangover Headaches: What to do!

Your birthday is coming up, your friends have planned you a party and you intend to celebrate in style!  Unfortunately, despite the fun and frolics, this means you will more than likely have to deal with the dreaded hangover day.  Here’s some hopefully useful information to help get you through….


What is alcohol and how does it affect you?

Alcohol is a toxic substance that affects many different areas of your body.  As you sip away at your drink and it is absorbed by your stomach lining, it’s then free to wander across your blood-brain barrier which causes the first pleasurable effects of intoxication.

From there your kidneys and liver begin to work overtime to process the toxins, you urinate more often which causes dehydration and you become uncoordinated. 


What is a hangover headache?

After the fun has ended and you eventually fall asleep, your body works like crazy to clear out the rest of the alcohol from your system.  When you wake up, you are groggy, the room spins and you feel nauseous.  Quite often you end up with your head down the toilet and wishing you could crawl under a rock until next spring. 

The headache occurs as you become more and more dehydrated and your brain begins to shrink.  The membranes on your skull are stretched and pulled which causes the horrendous pain we all know so well.

If you want to know more about the chemical changes that occur during a hangover, The Smithsonian website has a detailed report on what seems to be going on.


How are they cured or prevented?

Now for the most important part, how to feel better!  Generally, there are no actual cures for hangovers (other than time and feeling sorry for yourself) but there are a few things you can do to ease your suffering or help to prevent the severity.

  • Ibuprofen or aspirin.  These can help to relieve your headache which in turn begins to settle the nauseous feeling in your stomach.
  • High protein food such as eggs which contain amino acids will help to detox your liver.
  • Bananas are said to help due to their high levels of potassium and electrolytes which your body needs to replace after a heavy drinking session.
  • Before you go to sleep, drinking plenty of water and eating something like a sandwich will help to lessen the nauseous feeling when you wake up.
  • Drinking water in between each alcoholic drink will also work wonders for your morning after feeling.  Rehydrating as you go can only be a good thing.
  • Sleep!  Even though alcohol seems to knock you out, the quality of sleep is quite poor.  If you have the opportunity, getting some more shut eye is probably one of the most effective things you can do to recover from your wild adventures.


Was it worth it?

After all your body goes through while battling alcohol toxins it’s a wonder we continue to put ourselves through it.  Researchers say that our distant ancestors may have been consuming alcohol through fermented fruit as long as 10 million years ago.  This is a good indication that this trend will continue for many years to come.  If you don’t want to face a hangover, don’t drink, but for those of you that enjoy the odd tipple, hopefully some of the above suggestions will help the next day go smoother.