Silly Season Survival Tips #3 - Hangover

Hello again and here’s hoping that your Silly Season is progressing along quite nicely and that you have taken on the previous 2 episodes’ helpful information about how and why it is important that you ensure – at this time of year especially – that you are getting enough good quality sleep and eating well even when you are short on time. If you missed these episodes then please check out the Blog on my website or my Facebook page.

Have you ever had a hangover? Don’t forget that Santa is watching how you answer that question!! Sadly, most people who drink alcohol, would almost undoubtedly answer ‘yes’! It is very easy to get carried away when you are having a few drinks with friends or colleagues at one of the many functions that occur during the Silly Season, having a great time, perhaps really enjoying the escape that being a little ‘under the influence’ can provide – especially when life in general is pretty stressful. Before you know it, you’ve had way more than a standard drink per hour, and you’ve quite possibly also not eaten much or consumed much water. The next day you may really pay for your overindulgence.

What is a hangover?

A hangover is really just a large group of potential symptoms that occur when you have consumed too much alcohol. The over-consumption of alcohol has a number of effects on the body and the resulting reactions are what is known as a hangover.

Potential symptoms of hangover are:

  • nausea
  • vomiting and/ or diarrohea
  • headache
  • tiredness
  • blood shot eyes
  • sensitivity to light and sound

How to prevent a hangover?

Well the obvious one here is don’t drink too much alcohol to start with! Why not nominate yourself as the designated driver or make a commitment for yourself for the next morning (something important like a Reiki appointment!) so that you are not tempted to let loose too much!

Water

Many of the symptoms of hangover are actually caused by dehydration so making sure that you consume plenty of water as well as alcohol will help to prevent a hangover. The main problem is that alcohol is actually a diuretic, so it causes more frequent urination, and this means that your body loses more water than usual. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you don’t need to top up your water because you are drinking a mixed drink containing soft drink, as well as alcohol. Soft drinks are generally very high in sodium and this also causes dehydration. The easiest thing to do is drink a glass of water for every glass of alcohol. As well as having a designated driver, why not have a water monitor who keeps everyone’s water glass full and can prompt those people in the group who aren’t drinking enough water?

Sleep

Yes, one of my favourite topics again! And yes, really sleep is a cure-all! Hangover symptoms are heightened by not having enough good quality sleep. Again the main problem is that in fact alcohol affects the quality and duration of sleep, so making sure that you allow enough hours to fit some decent sleep in can really reduce your hangover symptoms.

Types of alcohol

Alcohol cannot be stored by the body so it has to be broken down as it is consumed.  When the body can’t keep up with consumption you may get a hangover. Some alcoholic drinks are more easily broken down by the body and are therefore less likely to cause hangover symptoms. However, please note that overconsumption of any alcohol will most likely cause some symptoms! When alcohol is produced through fermentation, toxic by-products are created, along with alcohol. One of these by-products – congeners – have been found to be strongly associated with hangover symptoms. Drinks that contain high levels of congeners are whiskey, bourbon and tequila. Clear drinks like gin, vodka and rum contain significantly lower levels of congeners. On a personal note though I must say that the worst hangover I ever had was after a night of G&Ts!! Bear in mind as well that many drinks, especially wine, contain preservatives, and as discussed in Episode 2, the human body is not designed to break down preservatives easily and any rapid build up of toxins can cause you to feel pretty unwell.

Food

Hangover smptoms can also be more prevalent where your body is also low in blood sugar. This occurs when you have not consumed enough food before and during your drinking session. Alcohol stimulates the production of stomach acid so if there is food in your stomach it gives that excess stomach acid something to do! Perhaps that late night kebab is not such a crazy idea after all! However I would recommend that you eat something that is very nutritious, as discussed in Episode 2.

It’s too late and you have a hangover! What can you do to ease your symptoms?

Well a lot of the preventative measures listed above also apply as ways to ‘medicate’ your condition:

Water – drink a lot of it to rehydrate your body, do not drink soft drink or coffee which is going to further dehydrate you, water, water everywhere and loads of drops to drink! If you can drink filtered water or soda water even better for avoiding adding further toxins to your poor system

Food – this can be tricky if you are feeling very nauseous, in which case just have very plain foods for 24 hours – toast, crackers – and if you can’t stomach anything then a day of sleep and water will be perfect! If you can manage it then eating nutrient dense foods to increase your blood sugar levels is a great idea.

Sleep – yep, just go back to bed, sleep makes everything better!

Essential oils – are really essential for dealing with hangover. I would highly recommend DigestZen, a DoTerra oil blend that is fabulous for supporting digestion and reducing any digestive complaint, Peppermint if you have a headache – put one drop under your tongue and another on your soft palate (back of the roof of your mouth) – you can also apply it topically to temples or the back of your neck – it is cooling and analgesic. Peppermint is also energizing so if you can’t go back to bed, go inhale some peppermint oil! Lemon or grapefruit – adding 3-4 drops, plus a few drops of lavender oil to a bath is wonderful when you have a hangover. Applying these oils topically over your liver area (top right abdomen) or the back, or neck will assist, as will diffusing them. Citrus oils are very uplifting so they will also support you on an emotional level. If you are using Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade oil then you can ingest them as well, taking 5-6 drops in half a glass of water every 4-6 hours will help to speed your recovery. Lemon or grapefruit juice in water will also help your liver to break down the alcohol.

Reiki – I couldn’t finish without mentioning Reiki, which is very beneficial for pretty much anything, including hangover. Reiki works on all energetic levels – physical, mental, emotional and spritiual – all of which will be very out of balance with over consumption of alcohol. Reiki is extrememly relaxing, and you don’t need to talk! The room will be dark and quiet – sounds like heaven doesn’t it?! Also don’t forget that you can receive a Reiki treatment in the comfort of your own home with Distance Reiki.

So perhaps it would be a good idea to book an appointment for the day after your next Christmas party – you know you’ll be glad you did!

For any further information about hangovers – how to prevent or treat them, or anything else, please feel free to get in touch and I would love to hear your own favourite (healthy) hangover cure! If you are concerned about addiction to alcohol for yourself, or someone else, please have a look at my video on this topic.