We all know prevention is the best cure, but it’s Christmas time and let’s face it, we can get a bit over excited at the office party. Not least because of the open bar. We enjoy letting our hair down with colleagues and getting up to general festive mischief together. It’s the annual office high note.

Health on Female First

Health on Female First

But what goes up must come down. You wake up in the morning with a raspy throat, unquenchable thirst and a raging headache. A whisper seems like a yell. Hello hangover.

New findings by events specialists Smart Parties reveal that of all the cringeworthy things we do to ourselves at the festive bash, nothing induces more next-day-dread than having to deal with the looming hangover. With 57% of people leaving the party much later than they intended to, the chances of avoiding the ‘Big H’ become ever slimmer.

Here, Lauren Faraday, an events manager from Smart Parties, is here to offer nine life hacks to help you nurse a heaving hangover.

Water - one for one

You’ve heard this one before, yes, but it’s really important to remember so it comes in at number one. Alcohol is a diuretic which means we pass urine more often and anything that results in more trips to the loo is going to dehydrate you. And this in turn, causes headaches.

Lauren recommends that ideally, you should start drinking water early in the night. Have one glass of water for each alcoholic drink throughout the evening. Then two more glasses before hitting the hay and another two in the morning. You may well need to ‘go’ a few times during the night but it will be worth it the next day when you’re feeling more capable of getting through a full day of work.

Wear comfortable clothing

Feeling awful and wearing stiff formal clothing aren’t the best recipe for a good day at the office. Go for looser, comfier clothes that feel like you’re still in pyjamas but that still look casual chic. Being more relaxed in your gear and free of unnecessary jewellery or accessories, will help you feel calm.

Depending on the dress code in your office, you may need to make small swaps, but generally speaking, try wearing darker clothes to feel less exposed, possibly a cosy roll neck jumper to hide your face in when you want to, comfortable flat shoes and your most relaxed trousers.

Lauren says that tricking your brain to get to your homey happy place can help you combat the heaviness of the brain fog.

Hair of the dog is a myth

Lauren explains that having another drink to ‘fix’ a hangover is an urban myth and will only delay the inevitable. This is because the hangover starts when the alcohol in the blood wears off, so by having another drink you’re simply delaying that moment by a little longer.

However, she says, if you fancy the idea but not the science, you can certainly help yourself to a Virgin Mary or a glass of Tonic water. Tomato juice has simple and natural sugars which replenish energy. Tonic water isn’t necessarily nutritional but does have quite a few calories and a little sugar which could give you a small boost if you’re not quite ready to eat yet. And the sparkles will open those sinuses.

Take a hot and cold shower. Rinse. Repeat

Far from fun, but going showering in hot water, then going to cold water and back again is actually a great pick-me-up for a hangover as it stimulates blood circulation. A steamy bathroom will help you sweat out the toxins and the cold bursts will give you a good wake up call and leave you feeling fresh. It’s not a cure by any means, but Lauren says it provides a healthy distraction from your headache.

Make yourself minty fresh

Oh, the lingering odour of stale beer breath won’t do anyone any favours in the office, not least yourself if you are already feeling sensitive. A minty fresh fragrance makeover for the senses will help you feel alert throughout the day. In addition to the obvious spritz of perfume or cologne, and generous helping of deodorant, there are other little spritely menthol-based tricks to put some bounce back in your feet.

Smear just a tiny smidge of Vaporub under your nose to mask unpleasant smells, soak your eyelids with lukewarm mint teabags, put on some minty lip balm and of course, keep your mouth icy fresh with a pocketful of peppermints.

Another health benefit of mint is to ease nausea and tummy upsets which are an all too common side effects of hangovers.

Honey is the sweet spot

Hangovers leave us feeling lethargic and sluggish. A couple of tablespoons of honey can make a remarkable difference because it’s high in natural sugars like fructose and glucose which are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.

Fructose is actually known to speed up the oxidation of alcohol, acting as a 'sobering' agent. It’s a great way to top up the sugars depleted during alcohol metabolism. If that’s not enough, honey can also improve digestion with its rich sodium and potassium qualities.

Eat a good breakfast

A good breakfast can help maintain blood sugar levels, which are often associated with a hangover. But the key is to keep it simple and light. Peanut butter on toast is a good option because it's tolerable for most people after a night of drinking and bread is actually quite helpful. Eating a breakfast full of complex carbs instead of refined sugars can help improve mood and reduce fatigue.

Eggs are brilliant too, adds Lauren. They help break down Acetaldehyde, the root cause of hangovers. The minerals in eggs are also good at getting rid of toxins. A banana is a great cure on the go with its high levels of potassium which combat dehydration.

Spruce up with Sprite

Who would have thought that a can of Sprite could be a great hangover cure? A study of 57 drinks done in China a few years ago suggested that the lemon lime fizzy drink can break down acetaldehyde,. It also suggested that good old club soda – plain carbonated water – might be a good option too. The truth is that, when you get into the detail of the findings, the science is a bit confusing. Lauren suggests it might be worth giving it a try and see if it works for you.

Air it out

Fresh air can do you the world of good when you’re feeling worse for wear. Getting out and about is invigorating and gets the bones moving rather than being slumped for hours at your computer screen. Oxygen boosts energy levels, increases concentration and eases headaches. Alcohol can act as a depressant, but exercise releases endorphins which promotes the feel-good factor.

Lauren says that a gentle stroll around the office is a good way to kick things off, and you can always work your way up to a stronger exercise as you start to feel better. Working up a sweat too early increases dehydration which is what you’re trying to fix, not worsen.

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