The severity of a hangover is closely linked to how much alcohol the person has consumed and how much sleep they have had.
It is not possible to make a general prediction about how much alcohol leads to a hangover. The association depends on individual and situational factors, including sleep, hydration, splitting headache, shaking, nausea, general despair and the pacing of alcoholic drinks.
Here are 4 unfortunate truths about hangovers:
Another fun aspect of adulthood: Hangovers get worse as you get older. Scientists think this has to do with the depletion of enzymes that are needed to break down alcohol. Enzymes called aldehyde dehydrogenase or ALDH, and alcohol dehydrogenase, or ADH, work together to break down the booze first into acetaldehyde and then into a non-toxic substance called acetic acid. Without these enzymes working in full force, hangovers last longer.
- Juice and coffee can’t save you.
You might be tempted to roll out of bed and reach for the OJ or coffee, but these beverages aren’t going to do you any favours. There is no evidence that either will lessen the effects of your hangover. Plus, sugar and caffeine crashes are very real things—and are not fun when mixed with your already-throbbing headache.
- You can’t “soak up the alcohol” by eating starchy food.
Despite one popular myth about a bacon sandwich being the ultimate hangover cure, there is no evidence to support the popular theory that carbs and greasy foods will cure your hangover. However, more forward thinkers can prevent the whole mess from happening by drinking Asian pear juice before hitting the bottle. The fruit acts on the enzymes that break down alcohol, so a glass before going out could be your saving grace.
- Smoking makes them worse.
Studies have shown that drinkers are much more likely to smoke tobacco. And to add insult to injury, doing so only adds to the problem. The exact reason is not clear, but it could be because tobacco has acetaldehyde, a possible culprit for why we get hangovers from alcohol. In hangover terms, lighting up a cigarette could be the equivalent of knocking back another drink, and should therefore be avoided if possible.