As it turns out, a new Dutch study reveals that drinking excessive amounts of water during or after an evening of heavy alcohol consumption won’t help with a hangover after all. Rather, new research indicates the only way to avoid getting a hangover, is simply to drink less.
International researchers from Canada and the Netherlands surveyed the drinking patterns of students to see if hangovers could be helped, or if some individuals were simply immune to them. With over 800 Dutch students participating in the study, more than 50% consumed water prior to going to bed after a night of drinking; and approximately 67% drank water while out drinking. While both of the above groups showed little improvement regarding how they felt (versus those who refrained from water completely); all in all there was no difference when it came to the impact of the hangover. Past research has indicated that one-fourth of drinkers who do consume water claim they do not get hangovers.
The BBC reports that the team then surveyed over 780 Canadian students regarding drinking and their hangovers; and the findings revealed that these students did not suffer simply because they consumed too little alcohol to have a hangover in the first place. Amongst those who did drink heavily (students who had more than a 0.2% blood alcohol level), most were not immune to hangovers. Study lead Dr. Joris Verster, Utrecht University concludes the correlation seems pretty clear: the more an individual drinks, the more likely they will suffer a hangover.
The study was presented at an Amsterdam conference recently, and Verster notes that while water may quench one’s thirst and help with dry mouth during a hangover, it cannot assist an individual with the terrible feeling of nausea and headaches symptoms some experience. He also states the the big issue around hangovers is that researchers really do not know what factors cause this. It seems it is not just dehydration; and while they have been able to determine that the immune system is involved, it is hard to find a cure, when the cause cannot be pinpointed.