lifestyle

How to maximise your ability to go ‘out out’ and not feel awful the next day


Eat some salmon two hours before heading out (Picture: Getty)

Let’s face it, sometimes we go out and drink on nights we shouldn’t.

Perhaps it’s the work Christmas party hosted on a Thursday, and you need to get back to office first thing Friday, or maybe you had a date that went a little too well and are now rushing to look presentable for your meeting while faced with a hangover.

Whatever the reason alcohol was consumed, there are some things you can do pre- and post-going out to make the next day that bit more manageable.

You can’t undo the texts you sent, but you can make your body feel better.

It all starts with what you eat and ends with what you do before finally hitting the pillow.

While we’re not advocating excessive drinking, there are some better health practices we think you should know for the times you do go ‘out out’ with a beverage in hand.

What to eat before a night out

Before you figure out what to eat, first get the timing right.

Dr Naomi Newman-Beinart, a nutritionist and chartered psychologist specialising in health, tells us it’s a good idea to eat dinner one and a half to two hours before you go out. This means you won’t be drinking on an empty stomach but you’ll have some time to process your food.

‘All foods will give you energy, but they will all affect your energy differently,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.

‘For example, “simple” carbs like white pasta and white bread, will give you a quicker energy boost than “complex carbs” like oats and wholemeal pasta and bread.

‘Healthy fats and protein, will help keep you fuller for longer as they take longer to digest – this means that these foods will keep giving you energy for longer than just a bowl of pasta by itself.

‘My ideal pre-drinking meal is grilled teriyaki salmon with sweet potato mash and veggies.’



Hangover avoidance through hydration

There’s no such thing as a hangover cure, but getting hydrated before the hangover kicks in makes a huge difference.

Dr Naomi finds that ‘if someone normally is well hydrated and drinks “enough” water on a daily basis, then they are less likely to struggle with a terrible hangover,’ so to help you get there, she recommends the following:

  • It’s best to try and have a really good day when it comes to drinking water, so have your 1.5/2litres of water throughout the day.
  • Have a small glass of water between each alcoholic drink.
  • Another good option is to change your mixers to soda water.
  • A general rule I use is to try and have one pint of water in the hour or so after drinking alcohol, preferably with a multivitamin to help replenish those vitamins and minerals lost through drinking.

Though, try not to rush all your rehydrating in one go, as dietician Lola Biggs warns, as your sleep will be even more disturbed by a full bladder.

She continues: ‘You can’t avoid a hangover by eating certain foods before drinking. But, you can certainly reduce the impact that the alcohol has on your body, leaving you with a much more manageable hangover.

‘The quicker alcohol is absorbed into your body, the worse your hangover will be.’

Researchers at the University of Indiana studied how different food groups affect absorption of alcohol and found that carbs, protein and fats all worked as well as each other, so that myth about needing carbs to ‘soak up’ alcohol isn’t entirely true.

Lola Biggs, a dietitian at natural health supplement brand Together Health says the average meal takes around 20 to 30 minutes for the small intestine to release the energy from it, but sustained energy is delivered for three to four hours if the meal is balanced.

This is what you want to aim for.

The perfect dinner before a night out (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Protein-rich foods such as eggs have been shown to slow down the speed at which alcohol gets absorbed through slowing stomach emptying,’ explains Lola.

‘Protein combined with starchy foods will give the maximum feeling of fullness for longer, making it a good combo to fend off cravings.

‘Good fats omega 3 fatty acids are a great option as they have been shown to have a shielding effect on the brain, which can be affected during heavy nights of drinking. Avocados, salmon and nuts and seeds can provide this.’

With both our experts recommending salmon, you have your answer for the ideal pre-drinking meal.

Before you sleep

So you stumble home in the early hours and all you want to do is fall into bed.

Not so fast – this will cost you come tomorrow.

Dr Kat Lederle, author of Sleep Sense, tells us the first thing to do is ‘slow down’.

‘We need a bit of time to come to a fully resting, sleeping state,’ Dr Kat tells us. ‘We quite literally need to slow and wind-down, give the mind time to process the events of the day, and allow the body to switch into rest and repair mode. 

‘Before you go to bed, sit with a cup of tea of your choice (but don’t have anything with caffeine), have a dim light or candle on but turn the phone of. And then just reflect on the evening.

‘If you like, put some quiet music on or do some gentle, mindful breathing that functions as a signal to the body and mind that you are transitioning to sleep.’ 

This idea is not to rush to bed, even if it is past your bedtime.

‘If you rush, you put pressure on yourself and that can cause you to get worried about sleep and how awful you will feel tomorrow,’ Dr Kat adds. ‘And that anxiety will wake you up and make sleep harder to come by.’

Hydration is key (Picture: Getty Images)



Is one drink better than another to prevent hangovers?

‘Acetaldehyde is a toxic substance produced in the body from alcohol, and some researchers believe that an acetaldehyde build-up is the cause of hangovers,’ Dr Naomi says.

‘All types of alcoholic drinks contain some methanol, a substance blamed for the worst hangovers.

‘Whiskey, cheap red wine, fruit brandy and other dark spirits contain the most methanol, sometimes as much as 2% by volume.

‘Vodka and other clear drinks contain the least. In the liver, methanol takes 10 times longer than ethanol to break down.’

Wanting to fall asleep quickly does two things, according to Dr Kat:

  • ‘It makes you impatient which raises your stress levels. Elevated stress levels make the body tense and alert, none of which is conducive to sleep.’
  • ‘It gets you into a struggle position because you try to avoid the reality you find yourself in (being awake). When we struggle with something we resist it. But that also means we keep engaging with it (which is why we say ‘what you resist persists’). When you try to avoid being awake at night, you inadvertently keep checking in on yourself whether you are still awake. And who is doing this checking? Your brain. Yes, exactly that part that you want to go and rest.’

The key is to accept that you’re not going to have the best night’s sleep.

Back to nutrition, this is a good time to take a magnesium supplement. Lola recommends taking 300-400 mg of marine sourced magnesium, as that provides all five natural forms of magnesium and is easily absorbed.

If you’re in an unfamiliar environment, perhaps sleeping on a friend’s sofa or in a hotel, this can disturb sleep further.

Dr Kat says: ‘Being in a new environment is a little unsettling for the brain because it doesn’t know whether there any danger, so parts of the brain will fall asleep as usual but other parts will remain vigilant and semi-awake to monitor the environment for any danger.

‘Bring your own pillow or a favourite item with you to help the environment feel more familiar.’

And the next day?

As alcohol hampers sleep quality, if you can afford it, Dr Kat recommends blocking out time to have a 30 minute lie-in, a 30 minute after need nap, and then going to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual the following day. This should help to counterbalance lost sleep.

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.


MORE : Signs it’s time to reassess your relationship with alcohol


MORE : People who use sleep apps are ‘50% more likely to have a better night’s sleep’


MORE : These Christmas foods are surprisingly great for your skin





READ SOURCE

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more