‘Tis the season of drinking! With McGill’s competitive drinking season in full swing, and the cold weather prompting students to drink more to stay warm while going out, there are plenty of hangovers to look forward to this semester. In order to help you survive the next few weeks, The McGill Tribune has compiled a list of tips to avoid a hangover and what to do when the inevitable occurs.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
First and foremost, it’s essential to stay hydrated the day before a night of drinking. As alcohol dehydrates the body, you need to make sure to drink extra water before going out in order to maintain normal hydration levels. To prepare for your night of drinking games, make drinking water a game. Setting time marks on a clear water bottle can help to meet drinking goals throughout the day. Otherwise, every time you get up from your seat in McLennan, always make a point to finish your water bottle and go refill it during your break.
Eat before drinking
Secondly, eat! It is well known to students that by skipping out on dinner, they will be able to get drunk a lot quicker. Without any food in your body to slow down the alcohol absorption process, much more goes directly into your bloodstream. It’s important to eat proteins, fats and dense carbohydrates before drinking. Although greasy and fried foods are great to eat before drinking, it may be wise to avoid the post-party poutine and $2 chow mein at Chez Mein, which may make hangover nausea worse the next day.
Steer clear of dark-coloured alcohols
Additionally, clearer and lighter liquids tend to cause fewer hangover symptoms—they don’t have as many congeners, a chemical formed during the alcohol’s fermenting process. Congeners, found in most dark liquors such as brandy, bourbon, darker beer, and red wine, give many types of alcoholic beverages their flavor but can contribute to hangovers or worsen their severity. With this in mind, try to stick to either tequila, vodka, or white wines when choosing your drink for the night. Instead of perusing the SAQ or a nearby dep without an idea of what to drink for the night, make a plan of what to buy—then get in and out!
Keep a tally of your drinks
Once it’s time to hit the party and start drinking, be sure to alternate your drinks with water to keep up the hydration. A good way to keep a tally of how many drinks you’ve had is by marking them with a pen on your hand. Once you’re home, eat a high-carb food, such as an apple or some pasta, and drink more water to help you avoid getting a hangover the next day.
If you get a hangover…
Hangovers come with all sorts of symptoms; from pounding headaches and exhaustion, to mood swings and nausea. Yet, there are measures you can take to treat the pain. Drink lots of water, eat some carbs, and replenish your electrolytes with a bottle or two of Gatorade. Although it often helps to sleep off a hangover, don’t take that as an excuse to stay in bed all day–getting some fresh air and a little exercise is a great way to alleviate hangover symptoms. Alcohol serves as a depressor, so exercise will help by releasing endorphins and improving your mood throughout the day.
You don’t always have to drink
In all honesty, the best way to avoid a hangover is to not drink at all. If you really need to avoid a hangover the next morning but don’t want to miss out, perhaps consider skipping the drinking and going out anyway. While not the same experience, going out as the sober friend can make for some unforgettable memories. Hopefully, the above remedies to prevent and treat a hangover work for you, but if not, at least the symptoms can’t last forever. To students going out this winter semester, have fun, stay warm, and remember to prepare for the inevitable and dreaded visit of everyone’s dear friend, the college hangover.