Food & Drink

The Cure For Hangovers Is Actually Pretty Simple

We've all been there. The initial, careful opening of those eyelids that feel like two giant stone tablets. The ensuing flood of bright light, which feels like a dagger piercing directly into your brain, initiating the first pounding of a headache which isn't going anywhere in the near future. Then rising up from your belly: the sickness. Followed shortly after by the panic, the clutching for memories. Did I do that? Did that really happen? And then the regret. Oh the regret.

Yes, you're hungover. And it feels like you genuinely might die this time.

We all have our ways of dealing with them, but one of mankind's greatest adventures has been the quest to find an elusive, catch-all way to cure a hangover - and we're delighted that scientists have finally found it.

Drink less.

Yes, sorry to say, but that's the only way to not have a hangover. Despite many alternative theories - eating before, during or after your session; drinking water before, during or after - none of this will actually make any difference to the severity of your next morning suffering.

The full English: the traditional hangover 'cure'

A study of 826 Dutch students were questioned about their most recent heavy drinking session and quizzed about their related eating and drinking habits.

Dr Joris Verster, from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, lead scientist on the study, presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology's annual meeting in Amsterdam and said: "Those who took food or water showed a slight statistical improvement in how they felt over those who didn't, but this didn't really translate into a meaningful difference. From what we know from the surveys so far, the only practical way to avoid a hangover is to drink less alcohol."

Meanwhile, those big shots among your friend group who claim that they "never get hangovers" may well actually simply not be drinking enough to get one in the first place. That's right, they're dirty lightweights.

Despite 25-30 per cent of drinkers claiming that they could drink unlimited alcohol without suffering a hangover, a study of another group of 789 Canadian students found that 79 per cent of those "non-suffering" people had actually drunk less on their night out than they thought, with their average post-drinking blood alcohol level being less than 10 per cent - 'only' around twice the drink-driving limit for many European countries.

Dr Vester stated: "In general, we found a pretty straight relationship; the more you drink, the more likely you are to get a hangover. The majority of those who in fact reported never having a hangover tended to drink less - perhaps less than they themselves thought would lead to a hangover."

Psychologist Dr Michael Bloomfield, from University College London, added: "Throughout the world the economic and social costs of alcohol abuse run into hundreds of billions of euros per year. It's therefore very important to answer simple questions like 'how do you avoid a hangover?' Whilst further research is needed, this new research tells us that the answer is simple - 'drink less'."

(Images: Shutterstock)