What’s the best way to avoid a hangover? Don’t get drunk, says taxpayer-funded NHS Choices website


  • Official NHS guidance says the best way to avoid a hangover is to not drink
  • Common sense advice is found on the taxpayer-funded NHS Choices site 
  • Advice page tells drinkers to have a glass of water before they go to bed
  • ‘Hair of the dog’ – drinking more alcohol – will not rid of a hangover, it adds
  • But Bouillon soup, a thin vegetable-based broth, will ease some symptoms

From a greasy-fry-up and strong coffee to ‘hair of the dog’ and a dose of painkillers, Britons have long sought after the perfect hangover cure.

And now even the NHS has issued official advice on how to combat a hangover ― don’t get drunk.

Health bosses state the obvious in a ‘hangover cures’ guide on the taxpayer-funded NHS Choices website, dedicating a page to debunking myths about how to avoid a headache after a heavy night.

The NHS has issued official advice on how to combat a hangover ― do not get drunk in the first place (file picture)

The NHS has issued official advice on how to combat a hangover ― do not get drunk in the first place (file picture)

The common sense advice states: ‘Hangover cures are generally a myth. There are no cures for a hangover. There are tips for avoiding hangovers and for easing the symptoms.

‘The best way to avoid a hangover is not to drink.’

With millions preparing for a New Year knees-up on Tuesday evening, the official advice from the health service adds that drinkers should consider eating pasta or rice before they go out

The hangover guide also suggests drinking ‘water or non-fizzy soft drinks in between each alcoholic drink’, and drinking a pint of water before bed.

The patronising tips page adds: ‘If you wake up the next morning feeling terrible, you probably didn’t follow this advice.’

Listing methods to lessen the alcohol-induced aches and pains felt the morning after the night before, the NHS Choices page suggests taking paracetamol rather than aspirin, as the latter can cause nausea.

The official advice from the health service adds that drinkers should consider eating pasta or rice before going out (file picture)

The official advice from the health service adds that drinkers should consider eating pasta or rice before going out (file picture)

The humble bacon sandwich has long been considered a hangover cure, but NHS experts suggest trying Bouillon soup instead

The humble bacon sandwich has long been considered a hangover cure, but NHS experts suggest trying Bouillon soup instead

Other suggestions include drinking water, fizzy drinks or isotonic sports beverages to rehydrate the body.

The NHS’ top tip for hungover men and women is having some Bouillon soup, a thin vegetable-based broth.

The soup ‘is a good source of vitamins and minerals, which can top-up depleted resources. Its main advantage is that it’s easy for a fragile stomach to digest,’ the health experts say.

‘Hair of the dog’, drinking more alcohol in an attempt to drink off a hangover, does not work, the NHS say.

The health experts call the alleged cure a ‘risky habit’, and explain that it may simply delay the appearance of hangover symptoms until the booze wears off once more.

In a final piece of advice, webpage suggests waiting 48 hours after a hangover before drinking again.

‘Sometimes, of course, a hangover makes that advice easier to follow,’ the guide adds.

DRINK A GLASS OF MILK AS YOU HEAD TO BED, SAYS HEADACHE EXPERT

Experts agree drinking water before you go to bed will help stave off some of the damaging effects of dehydration, which contributes to a hangover.

But migraine specialist Andy Dowson recommends milk before bed instead.‘Drinking milk will combat many symptoms,’ he says. 

‘Hangovers are thought to be triggered by low blood sugar and dehydration, both of which are potent triggers for migraine — so if you can stomach it, drink milk before sleeping.

‘This will give you the volume of fluid as well as help get your blood sugar levels back up.‘Milk is also an anti-diuretic (stopping kidneys producing urine).’

This should mean fewer trips to the loo, minimising sleep disruption.

The fact that milk is alkaline might also counteract any inflammation of the stomach caused by excess acidity.

Howcast Guide: How to cure the next morning hangover

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