Monday, February 4, 2013

Hang-Over Cure

Chivas' 2010 "Live with Chivalry" event.
I paced my sips, scotch is a strong drink ;)

(Health Opinion)

I’m an advocate of good health and fitness, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t drink alcoholic substance.  I like beer and red wine, and occasionally consume ‘hard’ or liquor. And believe me beer and red wine (and sometimes others) are good for you. As long as you don’t over drink!

Beer is only water and carbs (skip your rice, perhaps?), and good intestinal ‘washer’. And in my case - with beer, one can better control the mood ‘effects’ given low alcohol content (hence less absorption rate over time). Red wine (although a bit stronger 12-13% alc. vs. regular beer’s 5%) has many health benefits – doctors and medical experts are still debating whether to officially recommend this. I feel this is something one should drink once in a while to keep a good health. Even St. Paul advised Timothy to drink wine (Timothy 5:23).  There must be an apostolic reason why... ;p

Now the issue with above-moderate consumption (and sometimes even just moderate amount) – other than getting drunk or wasted, is HANG-OVER.

Being in an outdoor community where there’s a very high percentage of drinking population, frequent get together parties, simple meetings with drinks on the side, and sports events which almost always end up in partying - I normally consume more than I should, though still within good physiological tolerance.

Having a good alcohol tolerance, my primary concern is not getting drunk (or the havoc it brought afterwards), but getting bad hang over. A simple ‘quick drink’ after office starts with a couple (of bottles)... A good conversation, gossiping and some good laughs inevitably leads to consuming more than 5 bottles – sometimes reaching 10 (or more haha).

Fast forward to next morning – the head ache, the ‘dehydrated feeling’, feeling of puking out – all these were normally overpowering – making one feel weak and sick. Even if one didn’t feel drunk the night before! This was a decade of a lingering issue that I was unable to prevent, forcing me to simply do the ‘after the hang-over’ fix (hydration drinks, hot soups, etc.) or minor and not so effective pre-hangover routine (hydration, soup).

Two weeks ago, I found my CURE. =) And hopefully this is not a unique me-only cure that can be re-applied by others. Or perhaps, it’s already known and I’m not just aware of it.. Argh!

That night, after the usual bottles and chats – I headed home, and straight to bed. I felt an unusual slow and light heartbeat (-years of high altitude climbing have conditioned me to be aware if my heartbeat is super normal or a tiny bit out of tune). I decided to elevate my head (using 2 ‘cascading’ pillows) while ensuring nape/shoulder were a bit elevated as well (to avoid abrupt/ neck-breaking head over tilt). Elevating my head has been my technique to lessen the "breathlessness" feeling during night sleep at high altitudes, or any weird feeling about my heartbeat or heartrate.

To my surprise, I woke up 4ish am (pee time) with no head-ache. I went back, still with double pillow. Next morning – no hand-over! A few days after, another after-office quick spree became 5, then to 7 or so. Not the threat of being tipsy but the hang-over issue looms. I consciously re-applied the same elevated-head technique – and not surprisingly – another success! I repeat the 3rd time and concluded – THIS WORKS!

Why? I think – very similar to severe bleeding or snake venom problem (medics 101), one has to elevate the ‘injured’ part higher than the heart to reduce pressure and effect. By elevating the head (during pre-hang-over/ post-drinking session), the heart is lower and hence the ‘pressure’ to the head’s blood vessels which to me meant less alcohol rate absorption in the head. (To understand this pressure difference, ‘stand’ upside-down so you can feel the surging blood in your head).
Not using a pillow at all, or head slightly below the heart is WORSE and will only make the alcohol effects worse!

So, will it work for you - only one way to find out… :)

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