They’re the biggest assholes after a night of fun, reminding you that, yep, those three shots of whisky about an hour before leaving were not such a great idea.
We all get them, though, and they’re never fun, nor easy, to deal with.
Thankfully, in addition to some wicked hangover cures, we have a little bit more information on how to escape one without passing on the booze entirely.
According to a piece from Tonic, a hangover doesn’t begin right as your body is waking up the next morning, but, in reality, a hangover starts once your blood alcohol level drops back down to zero—which is, generally speaking, during the four to five hours it takes your body to metabolize the alcohol you’ve consumed.
So, what can you do to try and prevent that God-awful feeling? First off, forget the whole, “glass of water for every glass of beer” theory—it’s bullshit. According to Raymond F. Anton, scientific director of the Alcohol Research Center at the Medical University of South Carolina, “It really does not matter when you stop drinking, but it does matter what your BAC is when you stop.” Therefore, if you take it slow and drink about a pint per hour—about the amount of time it takes for the body to metabolize the booze—you should be in the clear.
As for what alcohols to choose, it’s a safer bet to stick with clear alcohol like vodka and silver tequila, which have fewer toxic congeners than things like whisky, which will help your body break things down quicker to be ready for the morning after.
The last thing to be aware of? Sleep.
That’s right, staying out until 4 a.m. isn’t helping your hangover, so give yourself enough time to get as much rest as possible—because exhaustion only makes those hangover symptoms worse.
While there isn’t a “secret recipe” or absolute time you should stop drinking, understanding your BAC is important—whether that’s getting a quick buzz and easing off the juice, or gradually sipping a few beers over a four-hour period. And, remember, when you do get home, drink some water, pop a couple ibuprofen, get some rest and eat something the next morning so you’re not the lowest functioning person on the planet.