Without being too much of a negative Nelly, if you plan on indulging in the odd tipple over the next few weeks then expect a hangover.

A crippling one at that if we're being honest. Christmas is a joyous time and a lot of us choose to spend it having one too many drinks. Because, when else can you without judgement?

Others of course choose not to and fair play to them, a sober Christmas and New Year means a fantastic start to 2024.

Whenever the festivities come to a halt, whether that be Boxing Day, the 27th, the 28th, the 29th, or indeed 2024, all good things must end, unfortunately.

How to beat the hangover then? Well, the NHS, therefore, suggests these pieces of advice:

Tips to avoid a hangover

To avoid a hangover:

  • Do not drink more than you know your body can cope with. If you're not sure how much that is, be careful.
  • Do not drink on an empty stomach. Before you start drinking, have a meal that includes carbohydrates (such as pasta or rice) or fats. The food will help to slow down your body's absorption of alcohol.
  • Do not drink dark-coloured drinks if you've found you're sensitive to them. They contain natural chemicals called congeners, which irritate blood vessels and tissue in the brain and can make a hangover worse.
  • Drink water or non-fizzy soft drinks in between each alcoholic drink. Fizzy drinks speed up the absorption of alcohol into your body.
  • Drink a pint or so of water before you go to sleep. Keep a glass of water by your bed to sip if you wake up during the night.

Hangover treatment

Dealing with a hangover involves rehydrating your body to help you deal with the painful symptoms. The best time to rehydrate is before going to sleep after a drinking session.

Painkillers can help with headaches and muscle cramps.

Sugary foods may help you feel less trembly. In some cases, an antacid may be needed to settle your stomach first.

Bouillon soup (a thin, vegetable-based broth) is a good source of vitamins and minerals, which can top up depleted resources. It's also easy for a fragile stomach to digest.

You can replace lost fluids by drinking bland liquids that are gentle on your digestive system, such as water, soda water and isotonic drinks.

Things to avoid

Drinking more alcohol, or "hair of the dog", does not help. Drinking in the morning is a risky habit, and you may simply be delaying the appearance of symptoms until the extra alcohol wears off.

If you've been drinking heavily, doctors advise that you wait at least 48 hours before drinking any more alcohol (even if you don't have a hangover), to give your body time to recover.

Sometimes, of course, a hangover makes this advice easier to follow.

Advice for regular drinkers

To keep the health risks from alcohol to a low level, if you drink most weeks:

  • do not drink more than 14 units a week regularly
  • spread your drinking over 3 or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week
  • if you want to cut down, try to have several alcohol-free days each week

14 units is equivalent to 6 pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine.