Learn / How To Avoid a Hangover: What Works & What Doesn't

August 11th, 2023

How To Avoid a Hangover: What Works & What Doesn't

Life has its moments of indulgence, and for many, these times involve sipping on various blends of spirits, unveiling flavors and stories bottled within. Yet, the morning-after toll of such moments, that dreaded hangover, can cast a heavy, undesired cloud over what should be the start of a fresh, promising day.

The hangover arrives with a dull ache that echoes through the serene silence of dawn. With their unwelcome range of symptoms, they can shroud the rising day in a veil of dreary-eyed discontent. Confronted with this discomfort, a longing for relief wells up within, as strong as the desire for the first cool breeze on a sweltering summer day.

In this article, we aim to provide the tools necessary to unmask the dawn from the specter of hangovers. Let us embark on this journey together, seeking solace and relief and finding our way back to the sheer joy of a hangover-free morning.

How Can Alcohol Affect the Body?

Venturing further into the labyrinth of alcoholic beverages, it is essential to understand alcohol's effects on the body and mind. The prime component in such beverages is ethanol, a substance that, once consumed, affects nearly every part of the body, altering perception, mood, and physical coordination.

When the body processes alcohol, it prioritizes it over other metabolic processes. The liver works tirelessly to metabolize the alcohol, but it can only handle so much at a time, leaving excess alcohol circulating in the body, affecting various body systems and leading to the feeling of intoxication.

This is where the concept of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which defines the amount of alcohol present in your bloodstream, comes into play. BAC is a key player in how alcohol impairs your abilities, clouds your judgment, and eventually manifests as a hangover.

Alcohol's diuretic effect furthers the woes. It acts on the kidneys, encouraging frequent urination. This frequent elimination of fluids can lead to dehydration during alcohol consumption, further exacerbating the symptoms of a hangover.

What Causes Hangovers?

Diving deeper into the cascade of effects set off by heavy drinking, the ethanol in alcohol is a central figure. When consumed, the body works hard to break down ethanol into acetic acid via acetaldehyde, a highly toxic compound and a known carcinogen.

Under normal circumstances, the body is equipped to convert and eliminate acetaldehyde quickly. However, after a night of drinking too much alcohol, acetaldehyde accumulates in the body, causing various hangover symptoms such as nausea, sweating, and a rapid heartbeat.

Another less known but critical cause of hangovers is congeners. Found in alcoholic beverages, congeners are minor chemical constituents, such as methanol, which contribute to the beverage's flavor and aroma. However, these very substances are also known to cause more severe hangovers.

The severity of a hangover also hinges on how much alcohol is absorbed through the small intestine and into the bloodstream, impacting bodily functions and intensifying the subsequent morning's discomfort.

What Are Common Hangover Symptoms?

The day following a night of drinking greets you not with its usual golden warmth but with an ensemble of discomfort. Here are some common hangover symptoms and the science behind them:

  • Headache: The dehydrating effect of alcohol results in your body drawing water from any available source, including the brain, leading to headaches.
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort: Alcohol increases gastric acid in your stomach, causing feelings of nausea, vomiting, or an upset stomach.
  • Fatigue: Alcohol can disrupt your sleep patterns, causing you to feel exceptionally tired, lethargic, or fatigued even after a full night's sleep.
  • Mood disturbances: Alcohol impacts various neurotransmitters in the brain, potentially leading to feelings of stress, irritability, or sadness.
  • Sensitivity to light and sound: Alcohol withdrawal can make your senses extra keen, leading to an uncomfortable sensitivity to light and sound.
  • Dizziness: Alcohol can cause your blood sugar to fall, leading to shakiness, vertigo, and overall feelings of weakness.

Can Different Types of Alcohols Play a Role in Hangovers?

Indeed, different drinks can subtly shift how a hangover presents itself come morning. Certain types of alcohol, like red wine, are notably rich in congeners, the byproducts of fermentation, and are often associated with more intense hangovers.

Conversely, beverages like tequila, which generally contain fewer congeners, may produce milder hangovers. But, it’s imperative to note that all alcoholic drinks have the potential to cause hangovers, as they impact the nervous system and interfere with the body’s equilibrium.

What Doesn't Work for Hangovers: Common Myths Debunked

Navigating the murky waters of a hangover can be a complex journey. It requires understanding, care, and a pinch of grace toward oneself. Let’s first unravel common myths when it comes to soothing your hangover.

Hair of the Dog

As you awake the next day, grappling with the weight of feeling hungover, it's easy to be seduced by the myriad myths promising swift relief. It's a comforting illusion, a balm for your weary body, but sadly, they often fail to deliver on their promises.

A common legend tells us of the “hair of the dog” — the idea that consuming more alcohol can help alleviate a hangover. However, this is but a mirage in the desert of discomfort, simply delaying the inevitable and potentially leading to unhealthy patterns of drinking.

Over-the-Counter Medication

Turning to over-the-counter pain medications might seem like a logical step, but it can be a double-edged sword. Ibuprofen, while it may soothe the headache, can also be harsh on the stomach lining, which might already be irritated due to alcohol's effects.

And, when combined with alcohol, the acetaminophen found in Tylenol can intensify the risks of alcohol on your liver, the very organ working tirelessly to help you recover. As we take steps towards understanding and debunking myths, we move closer to wellness, mindful moments, and slow, luxurious mornings devoid of discomfort.

What Can Work: Exploring Hangover Cures and Remedies

As we uncover the tapestry of hangovers, it's time to explore the paths leading to recovery and how to reclaim the grace of clear-headed mornings and shared, slow moments.

Stay Hydrated

The most vital step towards recovering from a hangover lies in simple, life-giving hydration. After alcohol tricks the body into expelling more water than it should, leading to dehydration, replenishing lost fluids by drinking plenty of water becomes a crucial part of the recovery process.

Replenish Electrolytes

As you hydrate, remember that it's not just water your body craves but also electrolytes lost in the alcoholic haze. Products like sports drinks or Pedialyte can aid in restoring these vital nutrients, lending you the strength to slowly rise from the ashes of a hangover.

Seek Out the Right Nutrients

Food, in its nurturing glory, plays an essential role in hangover remedies. Consuming carbohydrates can help stabilize blood sugar levels, while avocados, rich in healthy fats and fibers, can help restore essential nutrients lost during heavy drinking.

Certain minerals and vitamins like zinc and B vitamins can also help support the body's recovery from a hangover, while supplements like red ginseng and cysteine also show promise.

These supplements may aid in detoxifying the body and support liver health, which is vital after a night of indulgence. But remember, it's important to seek medical advice from your healthcare provider before adding new supplements to your diet.

How Can Hangovers Be Prevented?

While remedies offer comfort, prevention is the preferred path for many. By understanding our limits and practicing mindful consumption, we can create an environment that supports wellness and enjoyment.

Mindful Consumption

An effective shield against the barrage of hangover discomfort lies in conscious consumption. Keeping an attentive eye on your intake of alcohol can act as your guardian against overindulgence and the dreaded aftermath.

Navigating the ebbs and flows of the night also means recognizing the crucial point when to stop drinking and gracefully retire your glass, ensuring the twilight's pleasures aren't tainted by dawn's distress.

Don’t Drink on an Empty Stomach

Embarking on your night of enjoyment on a full stomach is key, as food can act as a slow-release buffer, mitigating the absorption of alcohol to help limit blood alcohol levels and softening the next morning’s dreaded after-effects.

Always have a glass of water as your trusted companion in this journey, allowing it to quench your thirst in alternation with your alcoholic beverages. It stands as a refreshing balance to alcohol intake and a preventative guard against the dehydrating effects of alcohol.

Swap Out Your Alcohol for Non-Alcoholic Functional Cocktails

Heighten the experience of the moment with Aplós functional spirits. Crafted from botanical ingredients, our blends unveil an alternative pathway to relaxation or revitalization, elevating the moment without the toll of a harsh dawn. This empowerment affords you the luxury of savoring shared moments and tranquil mornings, free from the cloak of a hangover.

Embrace non-alcoholic beverages like functional cocktails enriched with our Aplós Calme or Arise for an elevated sensory experience. With Calme's bright and calming hemp infusions and Arise's bold and energizing adaptogens, our spirits offer connections woven from shared enjoyment.

Let these spirits fill your evening’s cup, and you might find that the most rewarding moments come with clarity, and the most delightful mornings, with presence.

The Bottom Line

The allure of shared laughter over a glass, the sparkle of twilight conversations, the magic of conversing through the night — these moments brim with opportunities for connection, reflection, and celebration. Yet, the morning-after hangover can dim the luster of these beautiful moments, leaving a bitter aftertaste.

Yet, with a blend of mindful drinking, hydration, and proper nutrition, we can mitigate the effects of a night of indulgence. We can savor the sophisticated allure of beverages like Aplós functional cocktails without losing out on the present moment of today — or tomorrow.

So, as the sun ushers in another day, let it illuminate not the shadows of a hangover but the promise of a mindful, balanced existence. A day that starts with the luxurious yawn of wellness, with the calm embrace of a clear mind, and with the profound understanding that every moment is precious, and so are we.


Ethanol metabolism: The good, the bad, and the ugly | ScienceDirect

Mechanism of Dehydration Following Alcohol Ingestion | JAMA Internal Medicine

The Chemistry of a Hangover | Office for Science and Society | McGill University.

​​The role of beverage congeners in hangover and other residual effects of alcohol intoxication: a review | PMC

Dietary Nutrient Intake, Alcohol Metabolism, and Hangover Severity | PMC