It’s an ongoing joke among individuals who are in their 30s and beyond — for each decade you are past 20, your hangover seems to last an extra day. If you’ve become all too familiar with the two-day hangover, it's hard not to wonder why your hangover gets worse as you age. If you really want to answer this question, it’s important to first understand two things: Why hangovers occur in the first place and how your body processes alcohol.
What is a Hangover & Why Does it Happen?
Not many of us need a precise definition to tell us what a hangover is. We’ve all been there before…“There” being the day after a night of fun with a dull or splitting headache, unbearable nausea, diarrhea, shakiness, loss of appetite and overwhelming fatigue. If you’re the frequent victim of your self-inflicted fun, you may not need us to tell you what a hangover is. However, it may help to understand why it happens. Below are a few of the top causes of hangovers.
The most compelling theory regarding hangovers is that they are the result of an accumulation of acetaldehyde, the first byproduct of alcohol once it enters the digestive system. Acetaldehyde is far more toxic to the body than the alcohol itself, with researchers estimating it to be 10 to 30 times more potent than the wine, liquor or spirits from which they came. In controlled studies, researchers found that the compound causes a myriad of symptoms that closely resemble those of a hangover, including nausea, flushed skin, sweating and vomiting.
Another theory about why hangovers happen is that alcohol, though good on the taste buds, is harsh on the stomach lining. Once it enters the system, alcohol simultaneously increases the production of stomach acids while delaying stomach emptying. Combined, these factors can contribute to nausea, stomach pain and vomiting.
Yet another reason that hangovers occur is because alcohol is a diuretic. When you have a beverage, or several, the fun half of the concoction quells the release of the hormone vasopressin, which tells the kidneys to retain fluid. Without this hormone, the kidneys release whatever fluid enters the system, leading to excessive urination and eventual dehydration.
Poor sleep quality
Though alcohol tends to make people tired, it actually prevents you from reaching deeper stages of sleep. As a result, you may find that you wake often after a night of drinking and, therefore, feel groggy and lethargic the next day. On top of the other effects of overindulgence, fatigue may be the straw that breaks your proverbial back.
In the most extreme situation, your feelings of being hungover may, in fact, be the symptoms of mini-withdrawal. If you’re coming off a period of binge drinking, or if you’re trying to cut back from a couple of drinks a night to a couple of drinks a weekend, the symptoms you experience may be those of withdrawal as opposed to the standard hangover.
Why Your Hangover Gets Worse With Age
So, now that you know what causes hangovers, you may wonder, what does any of this have to do with your age? The answer mostly pertains to acetaldehyde — or, rather, your body’s ability to process it.
As we already indicated, many researchers are of the belief that acetaldehyde is the number one culprit of the traditional hangover. The liver is directly responsible for detoxifying the body of acetaldehyde and, only once it completes its job can you begin to feel better. Regardless of your age, your liver can only process toxins so fast and, unfortunately, it grows slower with age. As a result, acetaldehyde typically hangs around longer in older people than it does in younger people.
Not only does acetaldehyde linger in the liver longer but also, it gets pushed back into the bloodstream. As a result, a hangover in your 30s may be far more potent than a hangover in your 20s, even if what and how much you drink remains the same.
So, even though you have the desire and stamina to party like it’s 1999, your body may protest by delivering a whopper of a hangover the next day.
Top Tips for Easing Your Hangover Symptoms
Age, smage, right? Don’t let what is ultimately a number keep you from living your best life. Instead, find ways to not just work with your body but also, enhance its natural detoxification processes. If you can do this, you can ease even the worst of hangover symptoms swiftly and effectively.
So, what can you do? Here are a few tips that work for us:
- Drink plenty of H2O. Don’t just schedule hydration for the hours after — sip water throughout the night to counteract the dehydrating effects of alcohol.
- Munch on some carbs to absorb as much of the alcohol as possible.
- Eat foods high in B vitamins and zinc.
- Take an OTC pain reliever.
- Fuel up with coffee or tea.
Finally, make Polisorb your lost shot of the night and first drink of the morning. Polisorb binds to toxins in your system and swiftly moves them through the digestive tract and out of it. When up against Polisorb, that pesky acetaldehyde doesn’t stand a chance.
Your "Get Ish Done the Next Day" Hangover Hack Shop Hangover Relief
Hangovers and age can go hand in hand, but they don’t have to. When you arm yourself with hangover remedy tips and tools, you can trick your body into thinking it’s 21 again and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go after a night out, no matter how much debauchery you get into the night before.