et's all be honest here - hangovers are the absolute worst. Between the headaches, nausea, sweats, and inability to do anything but lay in darkness, it’s all enough to make you swear off drinking forever…or until the next time you go out.
The older you get, the more your hangovers change - and not for the better. Back in college, you probably were able to throw back ungodly amounts of alcohol with no repercussions. You could drink all Saturday night and still pop out of bed Sunday morning to hit the books and get in a workout.
Nowadays, you may find it hard to get out of bed after a night out drinking, let alone use your brain or exercise. So, you wind up sacrificing an entire day for one night.
This is the 25 and older club.
If you’re wondering why this happens and what can you do about those annoying hangovers, then you’ve come to the right place. We have all of the answers and we intend to spill them.
Why Hangovers Don’t Age Like Fine Wine
Your Tolerance Is Lower
During college, you’re practically invisible. Between mixers, date parties, and bar crawls, you’re drinking like it’s your job. So, when drinking Thursday-Saturday is standard protocol, you can find yourself 3 drinks in and barely feeling a thing. Like a college pro, you built yourself a tolerance.
But, that was once upon a time and you’re an adult now. And, in the adult world, apart from the occasional beer or glass of wine with dinner, nights of heavy drinking are far and few. In response, your tolerance becomes low and you feel more with less. Just 3 drinks could have you boozed up one night and down bad the next morning.
You’re Going Through Changes
As you age, your body is less able to retain water. Don’t ask why - it’s just science. And, since alcohol’s M.O. is to dehydrate you, the aftermath of a night drinking will be much worse for someone starting their night already dehydrated.
Age also wears heavily on the functioning of your liver and kidney causing it to take longer to process alcohol. This means toxins are allowed to linger around for longer rather than being flushed out as quickly as possible. Additionally, age makes you more susceptible to toxins and infections. As you can imagine, this makes drinking alcohol a non-forgiving pastime. This combination equates to a long road to recovery the day after drinking.
To Prevent A Hangover
Alternate every other drink with a glass of water. In the morning, you’ll be glad you did. If you can’t commit to this, another option is sticking to drinks that are more hydrating – basically any cocktail that is a mix of soda water.
Take Your Vitamins
Once you’ve “broken the seal” during a night of drinking, you become susceptible to losing nutrients and vitamins. B12 is the most crucial vitamin for metabolizing alcohol and getting the toxins to pass through your system. Therefore, taking a B12 supplement or getting it through foods - e.g. eggs, cheese, red meat - is an easy way to improve your odds at avoiding a hangover. Although vitamins will help, they have to be taken regularly. Because, there’s no denying that when you come home at 2am after a few too many drinks, a vitamin supplement is the last thing on your mind.
Whatever reason you have for not eating before you drink, don’t do it. If you’ve already noticed your tolerance drop since your early 20s, you are in for a ride if you drink on an empty stomach. Your body needs nutrients, more specifically it needs fatty foods and high fiber foods. Fat and fiber help slow the absorption of alcohol so it is harder to get you drunk, and in return, hungover. Fiber will also keep you full longer and stock your body up with vitamins and minerals that are sure to be depleted as the night progresses.
This means you would need more alcohol to feel intoxicated and hungover the next day. Don’t make the mistake of holding out until you’re drunkenly shoving french fries down your throat, even if you have to risk feeling bloated in your crop top. We can confidently say, you’ll regret it. Here are some of the best foods to eat before the clock strikes happy hour:
- Greek yogurt
- Sweet potatoes
To Treat A Hangover
If you wake up in pain - whether in the head or all-over - don’t hesitate to reach for a pain reliever. However, the caveat is that there’s really only one type of pain reliever you should be using for a hangover - good ole’ ibuprofen. Tylenol mixed with alcohol is a recipe for disaster. Taking Tylenol with alcohol in your system can cause liver damage. The goal is to not be reliant on Ibuprofen every time you drink, but if you suffer a splitting headache then Ibuprofen can be your saving grace.
Water and electrolytes take a major hit during a booze cruise. Therefore, the best thing you can do for yourself before and after binge drinking is hydrate. Hydration is all that stands between you and a good day after drinking. You especially want to make sure that you’re keeping yourself hydrated if one of the symptoms of your hangover is vomiting. Keep drinks with electrolytes on standby because when morning rolls around, making it to the store is going to be the last thing you want to do.
When you were younger, a sports drink may have cut it, but to see substantial improvement in your mid-20s you may need to switch to something with more electrolytes like a Pedialyte drink. Start drinking that bad boy before you go to bed or very early in the morning to waste the least amount of your day and advance the onset of improvement. This will help ensure that you wake up feeling more replenished and energized.
In college, you probably capped the night with a post-drinking binge eating session. Whether it was pizza, a hoagie, or wings, this was a habit of nature. But, nowadays you’re probably not ending your night by hitting up the nearest fast food restaurant. Or, maybe you are - no judgment.
Nevertheless, this is probably not the best habit to maintain because heavy foods can induce nausea and vomiting, and are not forgiving when it comes to maintaining your weight. In fact, greasy foods are only helpful if you eat them before drinking. However, salt and sustenance are an ally in your hangover cure efforts. Salty foods help retain moisture by restoring the levels of sodium and water in your body, which helps to flush out toxins, and consequently make you feel better in the morning. If you’ve already been drinking, go for these hangover-friendly snacks:
- Avocado toast
- Honey on toast
Sometimes all you can do is sleep it off. Even though alcohol can knock you unconscious, the sleep you receive after drinking isn’t all that great. Drinking actually disrupts the sleep cycle and you may - to your own displeasure - find yourself waking up throughout the night or early in the morning. Once you’ve hydrated, replenished, and taken Ibuprofen, it may be a good time to hit the snooze button and tuck yourself back into bed to give yourself the rest you need. After all, even if you steer clear of a hangover, you can’t be all that productive if you keep dozing off throughout the day.
The Bottom Line
Until a magic hangover pill is invented, the only true solution is sobriety or time. And, since you’re likely not quite ready to commit to the former, you’re going to see your hangover through until the end. However, we suggest drinking with caution to ease or prevent your pain. Just because you’re not 21 anymore doesn’t mean you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Just follow these tips and you’ll be able to drink throughout the night and bounce back in the morning. Cheers to aging!