It’s the morning after a night out with friends. You drank a little too much. The hangover is in full swing.
What’s the first thing you do? Grab the aspirin, some water, a cup of coffee, maybe a cheap, greasy breakfast?
Hold up. Here are 10 popular hangover myths you shouldn’t be so quick to believe:
1. Drinking more alcohol will cure your hangover.
Your grandpa calls this “a little hair of the dog.” Some claim they’re “self-medicating.” But alcohol is the reason you have a hangover in the first place, so all you’re really doing is delaying the inevitable.
2. Pop an aspirin before you go to bed and you’ll feel fine come morning.
The aspirin might help with the headache and inflammation in your body, but there’s no guarantee it’ll completely fight off a hangover. Ibuprofen can work, too, but stay away from acetaminophen like Tylenol – it could cause serious damage to your already overworked liver.
3. Eat bread before you start drinking.
It’ll soak up the alcohol as you drink, right? Eh…sort of. It does help to eat something before and while you’re drinking – it helps your body slow down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream, but it’s not a sponge. You’re going to digest the alcohol either way. Remember to pace yourself.
4. Sleep off the hangover.
No one wants to jump out of bed and hit the gym when they wake up with a hangover. You may think you’ll be able to sleep it off, but alcohol hurts the quality of your sleep, making that rest not so restful after all. It’s not uncommon to wake up feeling pretty foggy…Plus, the best way to get rid of the alcohol still flowing through your body is through urine and breathing. So, drink lots of water and get moving!
5. Greasy food will help with that hangover.
Stick to the basics. Something bland and easy to digest, like crackers, toast, or oatmeal will help a lot more than a greasy bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich or leftover pizza. Hangovers can cause your blood sugar to drop, so skip the grease and munch on an English muffin instead. Your already nauseous stomach will thank you.
6. A strong cup of coffee will help you recover a faster.
But that’s not true. The caffeine may make you more alert, but it won’t help you sober up any faster. Like alcohol, caffeine is a diuretic, meaning can will actually dehydrate you more. Repeat after me: Water! Water! Water!
7. If you drink nothing but clear alcohol, you’ll be fine.
This comes from the idea that drinking alcohol with fewer congeners - a chemical produced by alcohol fermentation - will help prevent a hangover. (Clear liquors like vodka or lighter beers don’t contain as many congeners as darker liquors, like whiskey, red wine, or darker beers.) This is a bit true, but if you’re throwing back shot after shot – regardless of what kind of alcohol you’re drinking - it won’t do you any good. You’ll still feel the damage in the morning.
8. “Beer before liquor, never been sicker. Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.”
If you’re putting your faith in nursery rhymes, then you probably shouldn’t be drinking in the first place.. If you’re going to be drinking a lot, it doesn’t matter what order you take your drinks in. You’ll still get drunk. Your bloodstream will still absorb the alcohol you’re consuming. You’ll still feel rough around the edges in the morning. It’s simple biology.
9. Only binge drinkers will get a hangover the next morning.
Downing a large amount of alcohol in a short amount of time will usually guarantee a hangover, but you don’t have to be a binge drinker to get one. Some people can end up with a hangover after only one drink. It all depends on your gender, size, tolerance, and even ethnicity.
If you’re going to be drinking, alternate alcoholic beverages with water throughout the night (it might not prevent a hangover, but it can help keep you hydrated). Don’t overdo it ─ everyone has a camera in their pocket. And don’t buy into the hangover myths you’ll hear repeated over and over again on campus. You’re smarter than that!
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