What is a hangover and what are the symptoms?
Hangovers vary from person to person, but usually involve a headache, nausea, tiredness and dehydration. Dehydration is one of the main causes of your hangover symptoms.
A hangover can leave you struggling to concentrate, feeling irritable and sensitive to light – not a good combination if you were planning to make the most of the day and not spend it in bed.
The main cause of a hangover is the effect of ethanol – the alcohol in your drinks.
It's a toxic chemical that works in the body as a diuretic, which means it makes you pee more and you can become dehydrated as a result.
How to prevent a hangover
To avoid recurrence of hangovers, keep track of what you're drinking and stay within the low risk drinking guidelines by not regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week. If you do choose to drink as much as this, spread your drinking evenly over three or more days and take several drink-free days during the week. The Drinkaware app can help you keep track how much you're drinking in terms of units and provide support to help you cut down.
Avoid alcohol on an empty stomach as it increases the risk of experiencing hangover symptoms. Food helps slow down the rate your body absorbs alcohol.
Try not to get into rounds. They make it harder to control how much you drink.
Drink plenty of water or soft drinks in between alcoholic drinks to avoid dehydration, one of the main causes of a hangover.
Depending on your weight and other factors, it takes about one hour for a healthy liver to process a unit of alcohol. Consider stopping drinking well before the end of the evening, so the process can begin before you go to bed.
Drink plenty of water before going to sleep and keep a glass by the bed.
Tips to cut down how much you drink