This Is the Science Behind Hangovers
Hard to explain, but easy to avoid.
BY Editors | Sep 5, 2017 | Food & Drink
Hangovers. They suck. But what the hell are they? The truth is, scientists still don't totally know. If you've ever woken up the victim of a night of too much drinking, you know the symptoms: dehydration, headaches, nausea, and worse. It can put a damper on your whole day. In the video below, Dr. Andrew Kibert explains the factors that can lead to a hangover, and what you can do to avoid them.
While we can't pinpoint the exact cause, what we do know is that multiple factors contribute to the appearance, length, and severity of hangovers. Quantity has a considerable effect: The more you drink, the worse you'll feel. This is because too much acetaldehyde—what alcohol becomes inside your body—leads to all kinds of nasty consequences, especially jitteriness and fatigue. Another factor is the type (or types) of alcohol you put into your system; as a rule, darker alcohols tend to be more likely to cause a hangover than light alcohols, due to certain byproducts left over during the fermentation process.
As for cures, there's reason to believe that hangovers are a mild form of alcohol withdrawal—evidence that the "hair of the dog" technique may actually have some truth to it—but ultimately, the only true cure for a hangover is time.