Really obvious ways to prevent a hangover (and why people don’t do them)

Posted by Erin Anderson on

Every magazine and lifestyle site runs an article around this time of year on how to avoid a hangover. Their advice usually starts with a pearl of wisdom like “drink less” (ORLY???) and mixes common sense with common knowledge. By now, it’s safe to say that most drinkers know how to prevent a hangover, but people are still snapping up Blowfish as fast as they can, so we suspect that plenty of them aren’t doing it. We’ve taken some easy, sensible hangover prevention advice and figured out why people ignore it.

Drink water in between every drink.

Why: It slows down your alcohol consumption and minimizes dehydration caused by alcohol.

Why not: Drinking water in a bar looks kind of prissy – even the DD drinks soda, not just water. Try a seltzer with lime instead - it's a perfect fake gin and tonic, great for hydrating while maintaining your rakish appearance and unshakeable cool.

Eat fatty food before you start drinking.

Why: Fat coats the stomach lining, and you digest alcohol more slowly if there’s real food in your stomach.

Why not: Alcohol is calorie-dense, so dieters who don’t want to give up the booze might think they’re doing themselves a favor by skipping dinner. And some people would rather grab a late-night slice than start the night with a heavy meal, but this actually doesn't help prevent a hangover, because the alcohol has already been digested at this point.

Stick to light-colored alcohol.

Why: Dark-colored beverages have more compounds called congeners, byproducts of the fermentation process that give drinks their signature flavors and colors. They also contribute to hangover severity; in one study, participants who drank bourbon were eleven times as likely to report bad hangovers than those who drank vodka.

Why not: More flavorful alcohols often have more congeners. A hardcore fan of Scotch and red wine is probably not going to start drinking vodka and Chardonnay just to avoid hangovers. Although if we had a nickel for every time we’ve sworn off whiskey on Sunday mornings, we’d have… several nickels.

Get a good night’s sleep. 

Why: There are tons of reasons why sleep is good for you, but it’s especially important after drinking. Alcohol makes you sleep less soundly, so you feel less rested than usual. If you can’t have quality sleep, quantity can help make up for it.

Why not: Drinking and staying up late go together like Kardashians and paparazzi. Going to bed early means you miss out on dance parties, after-hours drink specials, glow-bowling, and pretty much everything else worth doing. And since being hungover is not usually recognized as a legitimate excuse to skip work, you can’t always sleep in the next day.

Even if you ignore the magazines' advice, don't ignore this: stock up on Blowfish.

You don't want to be thinking about tomorrow morning when the hot bartender pours you one on the house. So relax, enjoy the night out wherever it takes you, and leave tomorrow up to us.


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