Tips to avoid hangovers from drinking

Planning on a big night out? There are things you can do to feel better tomorrow morning if you want to drink tonight. Here are some tips.

Eat before you drink

Having food in your stomach will help keep your blood alcohol level from spiking. This will help you avoid blackouts.

Choose your drink thoughtfully

What you choose to drink has a lot to do with how you’ll feel the next day. Here’s a rundown of the major types of alcohol and their effects:

  • Beer has the lowest percentage of alcohol (4 to 6 percent) but the carbonation speeds up the absorption.
  • Wine has a higher alcohol percentage than beer (7 to 15 percent). Choose white wine over red to prevent hangovers. Class it up if you can afford it—generally, the cheaper the wine, the worse the hangover.
  • Liquor has the highest alcohol content (40 to 95 percent) which increases the likelihood of a hangover. Choose clear liquors (vodka, gin) to prevent hangovers. Generally, cheaper booze will result in a worse hangover.

Pace your party

Try to stick with one type of drink (e.g., only beer, only wine, only gin and tonics). If you like mixed drinks, ask your bartender for a steady measured pour so you know how much booze is in your drink. Drink slowly.

Before you start drinking, set your limit

Think before you grab your first drink. Ask yourself, “Is today a good day to drink?” If you are taking medications that interact with alcohol, managing a medical condition that can be made worse by drinking, or planning to drive a car, it’s safest to avoid alcohol altogether or proceed with extreme caution.

If today is a good day to drink ask, “How much do I want to drink today?” Setting a limit before you get started can be really helpful.

Drink water

Drink a glass of water between each adult beverage. This combats dehydration and helps dilute the leftover byproducts in your stomach that leave you feeling sluggish the next day.

Think about your liver and immune system health

Heavy regular drinking can damage your liver and weaken your immune system (your body’s defense system against infections). For those of us who are HIV-positive and taking medications, heavy, regular drinking can result in our bodies not being able to process our medications as well. It also might lead to having worse medication side effects. If you have hepatitis or have been diagnosed with high triglycerides (high levels of blood fats), we recommend you cut down or stop drinking and double up on the water intake.