The Hangover Kit
If you enjoy a good night out, whether it’s dancing, propping up a sophisticated cocktail bar or dining with friends, you may well be familiar with the unpleasant aftermath of too much drinking: the hangover. There’s a price to be paid for enjoying yourself, and often the morning after might make you wonder whether the night before was worth it.
If you understand what’s causing the hangover, you can prepare for it, and put together a kit of hangover necessities! This box of essentials can wait by your bedside or in your kitchen, ready for you to stagger back into consciousness and go looking for a cure. With the right emergency ingredients, you can solve the worst of the problem, and give your body an edge as it processes all the toxins you had fun filling it with. If you’re ready with a hangover kit, you don’t have to lose a full day to feeling lousy, you can recover and get back to enjoying life!
Let’s take a look at what makes up a hangover, so we know how to stock a hangover kit.
The biggest contributor to unpleasant symptoms of the hangover is dehydration – anyone who
regularly pushes themselves at the gym, or even who’s spent too long between drinks on a hot day, is familiar with what being parched feels like: the dry mouth, persistent sense of thirst, and eventual headache and plunging mood. A hangover can plunge you into true dehydration that can reach levels of discomfort that skirt actual danger.
Alcohol, among the many other effects it has on your body, is a diuretic. This means that it interferes with your body’s ability to store a normal, healthy amount of water. Normally, your brain manufactures what’s called ‘Anti-Diuretic Hormone’ or ADH, which regulates how your body stores water, and ejects it when you’ve taken on too much. Alcohol counteracts this hormone, leading to your body seeing more and water as excess, and cycling it through your kidneys to be excreted.
On top of that, alcohol also dilates your blood vessels and raises your heart rate – it’s this effect that means some people get a little flush in the face after a couple of glasses of wine. This can also cause you to sweat more, especially if you’re in a hot room and even more so if you’re combining a few drinks with some strenuous activity like dancing. This too contributes to the dehydration that’s the foundation of a hangover.
When the water leeches out of your cells, they get smaller – when this happens to your brain cells, your brain actually shrinks, and pulls at the membrane that anchors it to your skull. This pulling sensation is the powerful hangover headache that blights your mornings.
A pint of water before bed might help to rehydrate you, but that’s far from all you need to cure a hangover. You lose more than water when you get dehydrated: you also lose electrolytes.
Electrolytes are salts that your body keeps dissolved in water. They include sodium, magnesium and calcium, and they help to regulate key processes in your body, from water retention to the transmission of nerve impulses from your brain!
When your electrolyte levels get low you start to see lots of unpleasant symptoms: they include dizziness, vomiting, fatigue, and mood swings. These are all classic hangover symptoms, so to avoid the hangover you need to make sure you’re topping up your electrolyte levels as well as rehydrating.
Feeling sick and unsteady is another main component of the hangover: this is caused by your body’s attempts to deal with the toxin you’ve flooded it with. Alcohol itself can’t be immediately broken down so your liver goes through three cycles, first processing ethanol into acetaldehyde, then into acetate, which can finally be split into carbon dioxide and water. Unfortunately, while this process is ongoing, it can leave you feeling queasy and delicate – and it can be made worse depending on what you were drinking! The more additives, pollutants and toxins in your drink, the worse you’ll feel.
Highly filtered vodka is close to pure ethanol, which is easy for your body to break down. Dark rum contains lots of extra ingredients which build the flavour, but also build your hangover the next day.
CURING YOUR HANGOVER
Your emergency hangover kit needs to tackle all of these issues: dehydration, electrolyte replacement, and nausea. One possible version is all the ingredients of the 19th Century hangover cure, the Prairie Oyster
- 1 egg
- Tabasco Sauce
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Salt and Pepper
Keep these on your nightstand, and in the morning, crack the egg into the glass, season appropriately and drink it down in one. Either the combination of fats, salts and spices will replenish your electrolytes, calm your stomach and stop your liver pumping up post-alcohol toxins, for a brief respite, or the experience will put your hangover into perspective.
Alternatively, and more temptingly our Ideal Hangover Kit Includes:
- 2.glasses of water
- 1 tube of O.R.S. rehydration tablets
- 1 banana
Drink the first glass of water before bed! This starts to repair the rehydration damage before it starts, and means you’ll wake up feeling much better than you would otherwise.
When you wake up, drop an O.R.S. tablet into your second glass of water and watch it dissolve. This is soothing and stops you feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of your hangover. As it dissolves it releases vitamins and minerals chosen according to the World Health Organisation’s standards for rehydration – it contains everything you need to get back on your feet!
Sip the water slowly – going too fast might upset your delicate stomach – and eat your banana. This fruit is gentle on your stomach, helps you get your blood sugar back up to normal levels, so you feel more active, and is another good source of electrolytes.
This hangover kit is easy to put together, and keep by your bed so whenever you’re facing a hangover emergency you’ll have just what you need.