So, you went out out last night, and today you’re feeling the effects. Didn’t hangovers used just to be a bit of a groggy feeling that a coffee and a shower could blow away?! Now you’re Googling ‘how long do hangovers last?’ and vowing never to drink again.
Yep, ladies, we’ve been there. Generally, hangovers will only last the morning and at most 24 hours. However, occasionally we’re struck by hangovers that stick around way past their welcome and take over your whole weekend.
If your hangovers have started to last longer than they used to, read on as we discuss why this happens and what you can do to combat those dreaded after-effects.
What is a hangover?
Interestingly, hangovers are still somewhat limited in understanding from a medical standpoint. Generally, a hangover is considered a form of withdrawal and tends to be short-term. After drinking alcohol, your liver must work double-time to process it. First, your liver needs to break down alcohol into acetaldehyde, which is toxic to the body. Next, it breaks down acetaldehyde into acetate, which is nontoxic.
If you drink too much for your body or your liver isn’t working efficiently, then your body won’t be able to turn acetaldehyde into acetate quick enough. And this is where the doomed hangover comes in.
Also Read: How to kick sugar cravings to the curb
Seemingly, the duration and intensity of your hangover go together with the amount of alcohol you drank.
What does alcohol do to the body?
Regularly binge drinking can take a serious toll on your health over time. Alcohol affects your body in a few different ways:
- Neurological function – alcohol can make communication between your brain and body more difficult. In turn, this makes coordination more difficult. Plus, you may struggle with balance, memory recollection, and decision making.
- Muscle pain – drinking alcohol could lead to muscle cramps and weakness.
- Metabolism issues – alcohol can damage the tissues in your digestive tract and prevent your intestines from digesting food, which means that your body doesn’t absorb nutrients and vitamins. Resulting in malnutrition may occur, all of which may affect metabolism.
- Reduced immunity – according to research, drinking a lot of alcohol may reduce your body’s immunity, making it more difficult for your body to fight off germs and viruses.
How much do you need to drink to have a hangover?
Unfortunately, there’s no magic number. And how much an individual can drink before they experience a hangover will depend entirely on their own body and metabolism. Some people’s livers can detox quicker and remove alcohol from the body. While others may have an impaired alcohol metabolism (usually due to genetic factors) and may find that half a glass of wine or a beer is enough to leave them with a hangover the next day.
Generally, women have lower liver enzyme levels to remove toxins from the body than men, making women potentially more likely to experience hangovers.
To make things even more complicated, body weight and height can also make a difference in how you flush alcohol from your body. So, just get to know your body and what works for you.
How long should a hangover last?
Typically, a hangover ends around 12 hours after you’ve stopped drinking. However, research shows that hangovers can last for 14-23 hours, with some dragging out over a whopping 72 hours.
What can make a hangover overstay its welcome?
Struggling with why you’ve been struck down with a hangover, especially as you don’t think you drank that much last night? Here are eight possible reasons why:
- You didn’t drink enough water – alcohol has a diuretic effect and drinking heavily may increase that effect. Because alcohol can dehydrate you, especially if you’re vomiting or suffering from diarrhea, it can slow down the detox process if you don’t drink enough water.
- You didn’t sleep enough – although you may conk out after a heavy night of alcohol, you’re not sleeping deeply, and you’ll find that your sleep is more disturbed after drinking.
- You drank dark booze – introducing… congeners, these are the flavoring agents or by-products of fermentation, and they’re linked to hangovers. Stay clear to keep clear of hangovers.
- You’re getting older (sorry) – when you’re 21, your ability to clear alcohol out of your system is vastly different to when you’re 30, 40 and 50. As we get older, our cells are aging and unable to process toxins in the same way as when we were in college.
- You have a sensitivity or intolerance – lots of people have intolerances or sensitivities that they’re not aware of. For example, beer is made with barley and hops, so if you’re sensitive to gluten, that’ll worsen your hangover.
- You drank on an empty stomach – alcohol can irritate your stomach lining, making any hangover nausea, pain, or vomiting worse. Not having food in your stomach before drinking can make this all feel worse. Eat something filling and carb-filled over a salad to line your stomach.
- You have your period – your body is already going through a lot when you’re on your period, so dehydrating yourself can deplete your energy even further.
- You’re on medication – since your liver is responsible for breaking down medications, if you’re on medication, you’ll be forcing those two organs to work even harder, which may result in them working slowly.
What’s the best way to cure a hangover?
Unfortunately, there’s no one tried and tested cure for a hangover. Because hangovers aren’t fully understood yet, it’s challenging to develop a treatment. So-called hangover pills and drinks are full of electrolytes, minerals, and vitamins that might help replenish and rehydrate you, but for now, you’re relying on your liver to do the heavy lifting.
Recent research has shown that people who took an L-cysteine supplement after three hours of drinking reported lower levels of nausea, headaches, and anxiety the following day compared to those who took a placebo. However, more research needs to be done.
So, until then, these three top tips are the only way to feel a little less terrible whilst suffering from a hangover:
- Make sure you eat breakfast. It’ll help you replenish any lost vitamins and minerals, restore your blood sugar levels, and reduce the hangover symptoms.
- Rest and sleep because alcohol interferes with your ability to get high-quality beauty sleep.
- Drink lots of water to rehydrate.
So, there you have it, ladies! Everything you need to know about hangovers and recovering the next day.
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