How much did I drink last night ? HANGOVERS!!

Since tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and the only proper way to celebrate such a day is to drink our faces off and behave badly, I thought it was only fitting to discuss the finer points of the dreaded Hangover!

We've all been there, one too many chardonnays or shots of cheap tequila and we're passed out on our bed or someone else's, without taking the proper steps (ie. drinking a glass of water) to avoid feeling quite ill the next day.

What exactly is a hangover?...I'm glad you asked.
Hangovers occur after a night of alcohol indulgence. The severity of the hangover usually correlates to the amount of alcohol consumed, the different types of alcohol and the amount of sleep. The impurities and preservatives in the drinks can also lead to hangovers even after one beverage.

According to the Mayo Clinic:
  • Alcohol causes your body to produce more urine. In turn, urinating more than usual can lead to dehydration — often characterized by thirst, dizziness and lightheadedness.
  • Alcohol triggers an inflammatory response from your immune system. In particular, your immune system may trigger certain agents that commonly produce certain symptoms, such as an inability to concentrate, memory problems, decreased appetite and loss of interest in usual activities.
  • Alcohol irritates the lining of your stomach. It increases the production of stomach acid and delays stomach emptying. Any of these factors can cause abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting.
  • Alcohol can cause your blood sugar to fall. If your blood sugar dips too low, you may experience fatigue, weakness, shakiness and mood disturbances, even seizures.
  • Alcohol causes your blood vessels to expand, which can lead to headaches.
  • Alcohol can make you sleepy, but your quality of sleep will decrease. This may leave you groggy and fatigued.
  • Alcoholic beverages contain ingredients called congeners, which give many types of alcoholic beverages their flavor and which can contribute to hangovers. Congeners are found in larger amounts in dark liquors, such as brandy and whiskey, than in clear liquors, such as vodka and gin.
How to avoid a hangover:
Between alcoholic beverages, drink water.
Eat food.
Get plenty of sleep.
Don't drink to excess.

Ok but we all know there will be those occasions that one too many drinks are consumed and you wake up the next morning with the onset of a hangover. What you might experience:

Headache or Migraine - mostly due to dehydration
Nausea and Vomiting
Depression and Anxiety
Muscle aches
Sensitivity to light and sound
Rapid heart beat
Decreased ability to concentrate

That sounds like so much fun doesn't it! If you're lucky enough to wake up and feel like this, there are a few steps you can take to start the road to recovery.

 1. If you can stand it - go for a walk or exercise. I know it feels like that last thing you want to do but wouldn't you rather have the toxins moving out of the body via sweat and urine than pooling in your blood while you lay in bed.
2. If you can't fathom getting out of bed, or the nausea is that severe, try sleeping. Sleeping will speed up the recovery.
3. Eat something - putting nutrients back into your body is crucial.
4. Sip water throughout the day. You are severely dehydrated, that alcohol made you pee several times last night, you sweated your butt off on the dance floor and you likely threw up at some point. You need fluids.

Ultimately a hangover has to run its course. It won't be fun, but you should feel better by the end of the day.

AVOID TYLENOL - the combination of alcohol and acetaminophen is a recipe for a toxic liver.
AVOID MORE ALCOHOL - the "hair of the dog" is a myth, more booze will only prolong the hangover.

There are 20-30% of people who don't get hangovers even after a big night of partying. To those people I say - Eff you! lol

Naturopathic Advice for hangovers: 
Homeopathic remedy = Nux vomica 30C - a couple pellets under the tongue, taken the night before and in the morning, especially if you're a puker.
B vitamins - especially B1 (Thiamin) - will help your liver detox a bit faster and prevent a buildup of glutarate in the brain leading to headaches.
Sodium bicarb or baking soda in water will help with the nausea
If you're going to drink - do a vodka, water, bar-lime combo - it has the water and electrolytes you need to prevent a terrible hangover the next day.

And finally, I'm not such a square that I will tell you not to drink, you are all adults (hopefully) and you know your limits. I just ask that you are responsible for your decisions and actions, don't drink alone (cause its just sad) and don't pick fights or call your ex.

I wish you all a speedy recovery.

Happy St. Patty's!