Scientifically-proven strategies to avoid hangovers

The alcohol hangover is defined as the combination of negative mental and physical symptoms, which can be experienced after a single episode of alcohol consumption, starting when blood alcohol concentration (BAC) approaches zero1. Hangovers are a common consequence of drinking too much alcohol, and can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms such as headache, nausea, dehydration, and fatigue. While there is no surefire way to prevent a hangover, there are some scientifically-proven strategies that may help reduce the severity of your symptoms.

  1. Stay hydrated: Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it can increase the amount of urine your body produces, leading to dehydration. To help mitigate this, it is important to drink water while you are drinking alcohol, and to continue drinking water after you stop. This can help prevent the dehydrating effects of alcohol and reduce the severity of your hangover.
  2. Eat before or while you drink: Having food in your stomach can help slow the absorption of alcohol, which may help reduce the severity of your hangover. It is also a good idea to eat a meal that is high in carbohydrates and protein, as these nutrients can help replenish energy stores and repair damaged cells.
  3. Avoid mixing drinks: Mixing different types of alcohol can increase the severity of your hangover. Stick to one type of drink, and try to avoid cocktails that contain sugary mixers, as these can contribute to your hangover.
  4. Get plenty of sleep: Alcohol can interfere with your sleep cycle, which can contribute to hangover symptoms. Try to get a good night’s sleep after drinking, as this can help your body recover and reduce the severity of your hangover.
  5. Take over-the-counter pain medication: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help relieve headache and muscle pain associated with a hangover. However, it is important to use these medications as directed and not exceed the recommended dosage, as taking too much can be harmful to your health.

However, currently, there are no hangover treatments where the effectiveness has been demonstrated in independent double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials2

While there is no guaranteed way to prevent a hangover, following these scientifically-proven strategies may help reduce the severity of your symptoms and make the experience more bearable. It is also important to remember to drink alcohol in moderation, as excessive alcohol consumption can have serious negative impacts on your health.


  1. Verster JC, Arnoldy L, Benson S, Scholey A, Stock AK. The Alcohol Hangover Research Group: Ten Years of Progress in Research on the Causes, Consequences, and Treatment of the Alcohol Hangover. J Clin Med. 2020 Nov 16;9(11):3670. doi: 10.3390/jcm9113670. PMID: 33207574; PMCID: PMC7696633.
  2. Pittler M.H., Verster J.C., Ernst E. Interventions for preventing or treating alcohol hangover: Systematic review of randomized trials.
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