Here are 10 reasons why you get a hangover:
1. IT’S YOUR GENES
Ever wondered why some people can happily knock back drink after drink and spring out of bed the next morning, while others simply need to walk past a pub to get a hangover? It could be down to genetics. Researchers asked identical twins: ‘How often do you not feel well the day after drinking?’ The genetically identical siblings reported to suffer the same number of days.
2. YOU’RE INTOLERANT
True alcohol allergy is rare, but severe rashes, difficulty in breathing, stomach cramps or collapse can be triggered by just a mouthful of wine or beer. An intolerance to one of the ingredients – grapes or grains, for instance – is more common, and causes headaches, nausea, heartburn, palpitations… sound familiar?
3. THAT RED IS TOO YOUNG
Red wine naturally contains compounds called tannins, derived from the pips, skins and stalks. They are a vitally important preservative, and add to the taste. They also make hangovers worse. It’s not to do with wine being cheap. Tannins ‘fade’ with age, so it could be you’re drinking that bottle too early.
4. BLAME THE ITALIANS
Tyramine is an amino acid that helps to regulate blood pressure and is a known migraine trigger. It is found naturally in some wines, depending on the type of grape. Italian red chianti has high levels of tyramine, as does riesling, first made in Germany.
5. YOU’RE FROM EAST ASIA
When alcohol is broken down by the body it is converted into acetaldehyde, which causes hangover symptoms such as feeling sick. Some people, predominantly of east Asian origin, have a gene mutation which means acetaldehyde is converted much faster, so they suffer to a greater extent.
6. IT’S YOUR AGEING LIVER
As the body ages, so does its capacity to handle alcohol. The process of breaking down alcohol into acetaldehyde takes place in the liver. With age, the liver’s ability to do this decreases.
7. YOU’RE A SMOKER
A 2012 study of university students found that those who had been smoking while drinking suffered a worse hangover the following day. Tobacco smoke contains acetaldehyde, which may be a factor.
8. THE DARK SIDE OF WHISKY
The severity of a hangover is also dictated by the colour of your drink. Dark spirits contain more congeners – chemical by-products of alcohol production. Dutch studies found that as well as producing more severe hangovers, it takes fewer high-congener drinks to get one in the first place.
9. SCHOOLBOY ERROR
As any seasoned drinker will tell you, alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it makes you urinate more frequently. For every one gram of alcohol drunk, urine excretion increases by 10ml. To try to combat the effects, every other drink during a night out should be a glass of water.
10. YOU WENT TO A NEW BAR
A 2011 study carried out by researchers at the University of Birmingham found a correlation between being in a new environment and lowered inhibitions, which, in addition to other undesirable actions, leads people continuing to drink when they’ve already had enough.