Saturday, October 12, 2013

SATURDAY REWIND: Five myths about hangovers.

This week there was a slight murmur in the news about Sprite soda being able to ease a hangover.  I've got to believe the Coca-Cola Co. wasn't the source of the news, rather someone with an idea that hangover is normal and Sprite is a normal way out.  (There may be science behind the claim, too.)The following article from the alcohol research news archive recommends the best hangover cure:  Don't get bombed.  Or instead of downing Sprite the morning after drinking too much gin, how about drinking Sprite instead of the gin?  Not solutions likely to be embraced by everyone... I get that.  Here are five hangover myths busted.

Hangovers are serious business because of what alcohol does to the digestive and central nervous systems, but there are a lot of myths that may make your condition worse, not better.

Myth: Eating pasta before bed, popping pain relievers and downing coffee will ease the symptoms.
Fact: Eating before bed only widens your mid-section. If you eat something heavy before drinking, it may slow absorption of the alcohol you drink later and could help you avoid the hangover. Popping acetaminophen (a.k.a. Tylenol) while or after drinking can permanently damage your liver. Drinking coffee only makes you a wide-awake drunk. The main stress on the body immediately following a night of too much drinking is dehydration. Alcohol displaces the water in your body. You want to feel better faster, drink more water throughout the night – alternating between water and your drink of choice – and drink water throughout the next day.

Myth: Hangovers are for men and binge drinkers.
Fact: Men have a higher percentage of water in their bodies, therefore more water to displace. A man and woman drinking the same amount, even if they were close to the same size, would result in the woman having more alcohol in the bloodstream and a bigger hangover. Any person can have a hangover after just a couple of drinks, especially if they don’t drink often.

Myth: Wine and diet drinks are best for avoiding a hangover.
Fact: Wine – especially red wine – is actually worse than vodka, gin or other clearer drinks. Red wines contain tannins, which can turn a bad headache into an all-dayer. Diet drinks help cut some of the calories, but alcohol has enough on its own (see related story). The natural sugars in some fruit juices make for a better mixer for avoiding hangovers, but cost more in calories obviously.

Myth: Alcohol will help me sleep it off.
Fact: Alcohol blocks your Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, so you don’t rest well. There’s a big difference between waking up and coming to. Also, your body is working overtime to process the toxic alcohol while you sleep, and your sleep will not be restful with your liver working that hard.

Myth: Hair of the Dog fixes everything.
Fact: Morning drinking is a sign of alcohol abuse and the disease of alcoholism. More alcohol never helped anyone. It only postpones the hangover, which has its worst symptoms when the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reaches .00. Your body can process about one drink (wine, shot, beer or mixed drink) per hour. If you had six glasses of wine at midnight, your BAC would hit .00 about six a.m. If you had six shots from six p.m. to midnight, your BAC would hit .00 around two a.m. If you had more, you’re going to feel worse later, once the BAC hits bottom. Many drinking and driving arrests happen the morning after because the body still hasn’t processed all the alcohol from the night before.

The only thing that works is time... or just not drinking.

For people concerned about their drinking and the hangovers, the CAGE self-test is a reliable indicator:
Have you ever felt you should Cut back on your drinking?
Have people Annoyed you about your drinking?
Have you ever felt bad or Guilty about your drinking?
Have you ever had an Eye-opener drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?
A score of just two yes answers suggests a significant risk of problem drinking that should be discussed with a doctor.
--from (see full story)