Every single one of us has had the Best. Night. Ever. only to wake up and have the Worst. Morning. Ever. That’s because hangovers are real, and they are terrible. Your drunken bliss soon turns into pleas for a merciful death, and your golden party sheen turns into something you might find in an episode of The Walking Dead.
Everybody knows this, though, and so everyone tries to cheat death by doing anything and everything they can to avoid the full viciousness of a killer hangover. Unfortunately, you all fuck it up. A lot. Yes, people make horrific mistakes, mistakes that actually make a hangover much, much worse.
So, while everyone is busy giving you advice on how to “cure” a hangover, I’m going to be the dude who sits you down and tells you all the mistakes you’re making. So, here are 8 things not to do if you want to avoid a hangover.
Don’t Mix Beer and Liquor
Seriously, you need to quit doing this. I know, I know, the night gets out of hand and, hey! Look who it is! Shots! This starts so, so well, and ends so, so badly. Usually in a pool of vomit. You’re just giving your already over-stressed body more shit to have to deal with.
If you have to do this – and let’s face it, we all “have” to do this on occasion, and that “occasion” is usually a random Saturday night – just remember one simple bit of folk wisdom: “Beer before liquor, you’ve never been sicker. Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.” I believe Jesus said that.
You shouldn’t smoke anyway, but no one wants to hear that shit. I’m not your mom. But smoking really does make a hangover worse. I know that sounds like some jerk-off scare tactic dreamed up by the same people who put out those wretched anti-smoking commercials everyone hates, but it’s true. Here, let me drop some science.
When you drink, one of the primary reasons a hangover develops is because of something called Acetaldehyde, which is a bi-product of ethanol, and is 10-30 times more toxic than just plain old alcohol. Good times! Anyway, Acetaldehyde is what causes your body to flush when you’re drunk, and also causes inflammation, which is why you feel like shit in the morning.
How does this relate to smoking? Well, tobacco companies, because they’re assholes, put this shit into your cigarettes. That’s right, every time you smoke, you’re inhaling that same garbage that causes your hangovers in the first place. Look, anytime you can avoid putting more of anything that ends in “aldehyde” into your body, you should, umm, you should probably do that. That’s just a rule I have.
Don’t Drink the Dark Stuff
I know you will anyway, and good for you. Responsible drinking is a disgrace. But if you really, really want to avoid a shitty hangover, you should probably drink vodka instead of that demon whiskey. That’s because dark liquors contain a ton of toxic compounds (including our old friend, Acetaldehyde.) Basically, dark liquors are “dark” because there’s more shit in them, while clear liquors are clear because, well, they don’t. It’s simple: less garbage going into your body = less of a monster hangover.
Don’t Eat Shitty Food
It’s a ritual as old as time: you get drunk, you stumble into some greasy spoon with your boys, and then you proceed to basically eat the contents of a lard bucket. I’m not sure why people think this is supposed to help. It just gives you more garbage to spew out of both ends the next day.
On the other hand, you don’t want to avoid eating altogether and drink on the dreaded empty stomach. You want something in there, preferably bread, to soak up some of the alcohol for you. I know, I know, no one wants to hear about eating a proper diet when they’re wasted, but no one wants to see the mutilated remains of a chili-dog fly out of their butt either, while its cousins, chili-fries, fly out the other end and your toilet moans in despair.
Don’t Drink Coffee
“Coffee will sober you up!” is a hideous lie perpetrated by Starbucks, Juan Valdez, and that kid in high school who thought drinking coffee made him seem mature and cool. The reality is that coffee will just make you feel even shittier.
That’s because coffee contains caffeine, which is a diuretic. That means you piss more. You piss more, and you become more dehydrated. Dehydration is one of the biggest reasons you feel like death just took a dump in your mouth. Again, you’re just adding more crap for your body to have to deal with. No wonder it turns on you.
Don’t Try to “Sober Up”
You can’t try to “fool” a hangover. It just doesn’t work. And yet people try anyway. They figure if they quit drinking and sober-up before they go to bed then they won’t have to deal with a hangover. But the hangover always gets its man – always – and all you’re doing is setting yourself up for a shitty night.
First of all, the hangover is coming. Accept that. If you try to fight it by sobering up, you’re just going to end up having less fun. While your friends are still drinking, you’ll just be sitting there with a headache, and a mouth that feels like you just ate the contents of a dirty ashtray. That’s because instead of a hangover the next morning, when you can just stay in bed, you get to experience that hangover Right Now, while everyone is having fun, the music is loud and no one cares that you’re suffering. Plus, you’ll probably still feel like shit in the morning. Don’t be this idiot.
Don’t Just Crash
On the other hand, you don’t want to pound shots and then literally pass out without taking some precautions. Don’t let yourself sober up, but at least take a moment to pound some water before you go to bed, maybe pop some Ibuprofen (more on that in a second), brush your teeth if you’re at home (which helps for psychological purposes, if nothing else) and then get a big glass of water to put next to your bed. Start the fight as soon as you can. Don’t let your hangover blitzkrieg you like the Germans.
Don’t Take Tylenol
It sounds stupid, but this is actually the most important thing I could tell you, and the worst mistake that people make when they’re trying to avoid a hangover. You see, even on its own, Tylenol – also known as acetaminophen – is kinda dangerous. That’s because your liver has a hard time processing it. People accidentally overdose on Tylenol all the time and then have to die a slow, excruciating death while their liver shuts down on them. Good times!
Now, what organ does alcohol fuck with the worst? That’s right, your liver. Combine alcohol and Tylenol, and you pretty much set yourself up for disaster.
Besides, Tylenol doesn’t even really help with what’s causing your hangover: inflammation. Yes, the reason your head and your stomach feel so awful the next day is because they’re both inflamed. Your whole body is inflamed thanks to all those toxic chemicals we discussed earlier. Tylenol can pretty much nothing for that.
On the other hand, Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) is specifically designed to fight inflammation. So, if you really want to take something, take Ibuprofen. I’m not saying it will “cure” your hangover, but at least it won’t, you know, kill you. And really, that’s about all you can ask for.
Drunk man image by Shutterstock