And some helpful tips.
We can all agree no one wants to wear sunglasses at brunch. But if that’s the case, why have we all been there? Probably because we don’t know why we have hangovers. Did I drink too much? Not eat enough? While those play a role in your hangover, there’s a lot more to it.
First, a few disclaimers:
- I’m not a scientist and am only relaying information here.
- Social House Vodka does not condone irresponsible drinking, which may lead to hangovers. Neither do I.
- Everything scientists know about hangovers are theories.
Now that legal is happy, we can move on.
Dehydration is often touted as the number one culprit for a hangover. Alcohol is a diuretic. It dehydrates you and headaches are often the result. That makes sense, right? It does, but it’s not entirely accurate. Here’s what I mean. Some research says your electrolyte levels are no different when hungover vs. not. This is why chugging water after heavy drinking only helps a little.
Pro tip: drinking water may help prevent a headache, but won’t prevent your hangover.
2. Stomach Irritation
Alcohol irritates the GI tract. Period. This can lead to nausea and vomiting. Self-explanatory.
Pro tip: bitters are commonly used to settle your stomach, so have some on hand. You’ll need it!
The ever-dreaded congeners! Congener: a minor chemical constituent that gives distinctive character to wine or spirits. Many people feel worse when having drinks with more congeners. Scientists have ruled this out. At best, spirits with more congeners could make you feel worse, but don’t cause a hangover.
Pro tip: when someone says “this alcohol won’t give you a hangover, trust me,” don’t trust them.
4. Your brain
More specifically, what alcohol does to your brain. Maybe you’ve heard of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), but probably not. It’s a neurotransmitter — a molecule the brains uses to communicate with itself. GABA slows things down, and the same receptors it binds to are sensitive to alcohol. This is why, in smaller doses, alcohol has the same effect. Over time, your brain figures this out and changes things a little. As a result, parts of your brain can become hyperactive, causing hangover-like symptoms. The correlation is uncanny.
Pro tip: alcohol in smaller doses is best on your brain.
Evidently, no one, even scientists, can speak on hangovers with absolute authority. One thing that’s true: drink enough to blow a 0.1 BAC on a breathalyzer, and you’ll be hungover the next day (probably).
If you’re one of the smarty pants out there that didn’t learn anything after reading this, I have something for you. Another name for a hangover is veisalgia. It comes from Norwegian and Greek. Kveis in Norwegian means “uneasiness following debauchery.” The Greek word algia means “pain.” That describes a hangover, don’t you think?
Live socially. Enjoy responsibly.™