For an updated version of this article see Andy Hamilton’s other site.
Despite efforts to be moderate sometimes we end up having a few too many. This can lead to awaking on a park bench wearing nothing but a top hat and someone’s phone number tattooed to your forehead, surrounded by a crowd of people all speaking a language totally alien to you and not having a clue of anything happening after you had that last, “One for the road”.
Ok, so it might not be to that extreme, but it can be common to awake with a sore head and a strange anxious or depressed feeling that stays with you for the rest of the day. This can often be coupled with other maladies like having to nip off to the loo every now and then to coat it with a technicoloured yawn. In truth, the downside of drinking, the dreaded hangover can be bloody awful.
One thing most home brewers will agree on (and there is a lot we don’t), is the strange phenomena that is the mild home brew hangover. It does seem that if there was ever a hangover competition (or lack of), a night drinking commercial beers or wines vs. a night drinking home brew will always produce one clear winner. That is not to say you don’t get a hangover at all!
However, when you do get one there are steps that will help lessen the affects. Drinking a glass of water for every unit of alcohol is the best preventative measure. Alcohol acts as a diuretic which means it increases the flow of urine from the kidneys leading to dehydration. It’s this dehydration that causes some of the tell tale signs of a hangover such as dizziness, dry mouth and nausea. What’s more increased bladder flow can deplete valuable vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamin C and various B vitamins. To further these feelings an increase in REM (rapid eye movement/dream) sleep means your brain has been falsely excited and this can lead to depression.
These vitamins and minerals have to be replaced in order for you to start feeling human again. A ready supply of vitamin B complex will certainly help matters and a dose before and after drinking will deaden the anxious feelings. Interesting lack of B12 can bring on feelings of guilt which sometimes plays a part in the psychological side of a hangover. B12 can be found in eggs, bacon and black pudding another reason the fry up makes you feel better.
The potassium can be reintroduced by eating bananas and I like to have two the morning after. Vitamin C can be found in fruit so perhaps a smoothy might be the easiest way to get useful vitamins down you. Lastly going back to sleep for a bit will also help as you won’t have had the deep sleep you need to feel better.
Of course if the sensible way of getting over a hangover doesn’t work you could always try one from the Romans. 5 litres of wine with 16 bulbs of garlic infused in it!