4 ways to avoid a hangover if happy hour drinks go awry and you're out of practice, according to experts
- After more than a year of pandemic, people want to reconnect over drinks.
- There's a balance between a social life that involves
drinkingand being ready to work the next day.
- Eating a filling meal before
happy houris one way to prevent a hangover.
Before the pandemic, happy hour was a standard part of life.
Now, with nearly 40% of the US fully vaccinated, people are resuming the weekly drinking ritual.
Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, said it's natural for people to want to reconnect, especially after more than a year of our social lives being disrupted.
"This is like a glass of water for people who've been walking across the desert," Humphreys told Insider, along with touching through hugs or handshakes, and simply being around others.
But happy hours tend to be during the work week, and if you're out of practice, or get too excited, that can be bad news for the next day of work.
The only foolproof way to avoid a hangover is not to drink. But if you're going to, there are steps you can take to wake up ready to work.
1. Eat a filling meal before happy hour
Dr. Leon Coleman, professor at the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said to eat a filling meal before grabbing a drink because you're more likely to drink less. It's not so much the content of the meal, but rather feeling full.
"It's not like a magic meal that you can eat that you won't get a hangover," Coleman said. "When you feel full you drink less."
Humphreys said eating on a full stomach delays how fast your body absorbs alcohol, too.
2. Drink water in between drinks
Both Coleman and Humphreys said it takes around 15 minutes to feel the effects of alcohol.
That's why Humphrey recommends having a glass of water after one drink. "It lets you not get in a situation where you're drinking ahead of the effects you're going to experience," Humphreys said.
Alcohol is also a diuretic, meaning it causes our body to become dehydrated, which leads to a hangover. Refilling on a glass of water between drinks can help you stay hydrated.
3. Choose a drink with low alcohol content
Humphreys said instead of opting for a sugary cocktail, choose a drink with high volume and a low alcohol percentage. Vodka has a 40 alcohol by volume percentage whereas a lager or an ale has between 4 to 6 alcohol by volume percentage, according to the alcohol rehab guide.
Drinking a beverage with a high volume of liquid also slows you down. "There's just more fluid in it so it takes you longer to finish," Humphreys said.
4. Tell your friends you don't want to overdrink
Humphreys said given that we've been relatively isolated for more than a year, "it's going to be natural to run amok" at a happy hour.
But if you're trying to keep your drinking under control, communicate that to your friend. Humphreys recommended saying something like "'Hey, I'm looking forward to doing this but I don't want to be wrecked tomorrow. Let's be careful not to overdo it.'"
Saying this to a friend rather than keeping your goals to yourself will make the plan easier to stick to, according to Humphreys.
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