Chinese New Year is here. It’s a time of great food, great drinks and a little bit of festive overindulgence. There will be hangovers. So now, a few days into the Year of the Dog, seems a perfect time to talk about a canine-related saying that might come up a lot this year. We’re talking, of course, about the “hair of the dog”.
“Hair of the dog” is a shorter version of “hair of the dog that bit you”, an English idiom that refers to drinking more alcohol to get over a hangover. Be honest – whether it’s been a Bloody Mary at brunch or an afternoon beer, you’ve done this at some point.
So – does it actually work?
Well, here are the reasons that it might. One of the things that makes a hangover suck so hard is alcohol withdrawal. It makes sense, then, that a nice dose of it the day after would momentarily get rid of your symptoms.
It’s also true that alcohol activates the pleasure centres of the brain (which is probably why you got so drunk in the first place). All the lovely ways in which the alcohol mixes with the chemicals in your brain will go some way towards overpowering those nasty hangover headaches. This is what’s happening when, a couple of glasses into a crippling hangover, you start thinking that live might still be worth living after all.
In short, yes, many people will feel better if they indulge in the hair of the dog. The question is, will it last?
Much as we love an afternoon tipple, it’d be silly of us to actually recommend drinking more as an actual hangover cure. At the end of the day alcohol is a substance that you have to enjoy responsibly, and you’d struggle to find a doctor who would actually recommend drinking more of it to curb a hangover.
Some people claim that light drinking the day after a little overindulgence helps them feel better and wake up refreshed the day after that, but there’s definitely the risk that you’re just prolonging the inevitable. At some point, your body is going to have to deal with all that booze you’ve been throwing into it.
Noone has a real, bonafide hangover cure (if you do, let us know). Some use coffee, some use sleep, some use greasy food. And some, of course, use a drink. There’s no denying that a mimosa with brunch or a pint with a pub-grub lunch can’t ease the pain for a while.
Just remember that water is always a pretty safe bet, too. Good luck with those hangovers in the Year of the Dog!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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Looking for a different kind of way to get over a hangover? Check out our round up of 5 Real Cures for a Hangover – some of them might surprise you. Find it here.