The hangover is the body's way of telling you that you drank too much alcohol last night. Despite all the stories you have heard and will hear, the only real way to avoid a hangover is not to drink.

17 million working days are lost to hangovers each year, costing employers a massive 6.4 billion.

Alcohol is broken down in the liver, first to acetaldehyde, and then to ethanoic acid, or vinegar. Acetaldehyde can cause sweats, flushes, nausea, vomiting, and a rapid pulse. The other symptoms may include dehydration, headache, aches and pains, fatigue and restlessness.


     
   

Cures

If it's too late for a lecture about not drinking then see below for a list of tips on how to reduce the pain:

  • Alcohol is a diuretic - it makes you wee more. Most hangover symptoms are caused by dehydration so drink as much water as you can before you go to bed, that should reduce the dry mouth, headache and dizziness. As you lose water, you also lose salts so, if you can face it, the best way to replenish them is a pint of water with a teaspoon of salt and eight of sugar.

  • Drinking lots of water should ease your headache, a painkiller helps reduce it even more.

  • Alcohol irritates your stomach lining which is why you will feel sick, take an antacid or drink a cup of ginger tea to help it settle.

  • Although alcohol is a sedative and makes you feel sleepy, when it wears off you get the opposite effect and you become restless, often waking in the middle of the night. You are also more likely to snore and need the toilet. After a bad nights sleep tea and coffee can give you a caffeine boost, making you feel a bit livelier.

  • Your blood sugar levels will be low eat a good breakfast the next morning cereal, toast and eggs are all good options.

  • A hair of the dog, which means another alcoholic drink, isn't a good idea. The hangover will just be twice as bad the next day.

  • The effects can actually last 48 hours so it's best to have a couple of days off drinking after a heavy session to let your body recover.


     
   

Prevention

To avoid a hangover in the future:

  •  Don't drink excessive amounts

  •  Eat a good meal before you go out

  •  Alternate water or non-fizzy soft drinks with alcoholic ones

  •  Avoid fizzy drinks

  •  Drink lots of water or an isotonic drink before you go to bed
     
   

Your hangover cures

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Drinking tomato juice before bed cures hangovers - Natalie, 15

Eating red leicester cheese with brussel sprouts - Anon, 11

Bacon sandwich and a cup or coffee with a paracetamol - Nath 13

A good cure for hangovers that works for me & all other people that have used it is: The largest bar of milk chocolate you can face Cadburys Dairy Milk is my choice & at least 1 big bottle of lemonade not diet the more you can drink the better. I know it sounds daft but it works try it - Phil

A big fried breakfast cup of coffee and paracetamol - Leigh, 17

My favourite cure for a hangover is to drink loads of water and eat a big bucket of KFC or a beef butty on white bread, with a cup of tea! It works a treat!! O ye and watch Flintstones The Movie. - Anon

Drink loads of water to cure a hangover it cleans your system and dilutes the alcohol - Kia

I used to dance professionally and as you can imagine dancers do like their pop! The best cure for a hangover I discovered was a very loud energetic Can Can. - Amy

4 pints of orange juice, big fry up, 2 sachets of resolve and you`re ready to start again - Anon

Have a pint of water before you go to bed and in the night it helps - Anon

Eat a tomato sandwich - Adam, 12