‘Tis the season to be drinking. How to cure a hangover
Every single day this month we’ve seen a new slew of articles about how to behave – and, more important, how not to behave – at the holiday party. Is it just us or does it seem like the annual holiday office party is the one time of year anyone has a drink or two, ever? And, because all these people never, ever drink, that drink or two turns us all into uncontrollable animals who lose any sense of social norms and decorum? Everybody’s wearing lampshades, photocopying their butts, telling the boss rude jokes, barfing in wastebaskets, and waking up in strange apartments next to guys from sales trying to piece together what happened after the 10th Jagermeister shot and the group karaoke rendition of Don’t Stop Believing.
North America’s offices are OUT. OF. CONTROL.
Either that or the media is just desperate for content.
Whatever the case, there will likely be more drinking over these next couple of weeks than at most other times of the year – New Year’s Eve is certainly one of the year’s biggest drinking days. And, after some of those crazy nights, there are poor unfortunate folks who will have to go into the work with raging hangovers.
A couple of interesting things to note:
1. As disdainful as I seem to be of the whole thing, there is some scientific evidence suggesting not only that my mock scenario is accurate, but that it isn’t the fault of the masses. Research has shown that alcohol actually has a greater effect when consumed at work events – or in environments in which we would not usually imbibe.
2. Hangovers cost the U.S. economy an estimated $160 billion per year. The calculations were done using cost per drink, and Canadian beer is stronger than American so…draw your own conclusions.
To stay at the top of your game, you need to stop that hangover in its tracks. How? Easier said than done. An estimated 77% of drinkers suffer from hangovers, and the weird thing is that nobody knows exactly what causes them, and the cure has eluded humankind since the discovery of fermentation.
One thing we have learned is that they aren’t caused by what you think they are. Dehydration, research suggests, is not the problem. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow the old, one glass of water between drinks rule. If nothing else, this will slow down your drinking.
Remember to eat, since that will help with absorption. Also, clear alcohol, like vodka, purportedly has less of a hangover effect than darker alcohol like whiskey.
There are the folk remedies, none of which are scientifically proven, but you never know. These are plentiful and date way back, of course. Pliny the Elder was partial to a couple of owl’s eggs in the morning.
Here are some things that are purported by some to cure or stave off what ails you the morning after:
- Japanese pickled plums
a hair of the dog
Things that non-anecdotal research suggests are actually effective are anti-inflammatory drugs and a big ol’ fried breakfast. Richard Stephens of the Alcohol Hangover Research Group told The Atlantic, “A few things were tried and found to heal hangover symptoms — one of them was anti-inflammatory drugs that you might take when you have a headache, and that ties in with the idea of hangover being an inflammatory response due to immunosuppression. But then again, given that headache is one of the top symptoms of hangover it’s not very surprising that headache pills will reduce hangover symptoms.”
If it’s an inflammatory response, this might suggest you’re better off with ibuprofen than acetaminophen which is not an anti-inflammatory drug (but I don’t know, I’m not a doctor).
Stephens also said that one mechanism of the hangover “is to do with glucose metabolism and not having enough blood sugar. In Britain one of the most prevalent hangover cures is a big fried breakfast – fried eggs, sausages, baked beans, and all the rest—that’s well-renowned as a hangover cure in Britain, and it probably does work because there are lot of carbohydrates in that meal. And that will restore depleted sugar levels.”
If, one day, someone actually discovers a surefire cure or preventative measure, they’ll surely make a billion dollars. In the meantime, if you have a hangover, pop some Advil and eat a fry up.