It’s spring, and you’re probably thinking about all the traveling you’d like to do now that the warm weather is finally here. Or you’re looking forward to enjoying a drink, while sitting outside in the sun with friends. You could even be considering an exotic getaway, sipping cocktails by the pool or beach. Sounds blissful.
What’s less relaxing is the after-effects of these fun events. You’ve likely experienced a bad hangover that’s curtailed your activities the day after a big night out. Or flying back home after a wonderful vacation – only to find that your sleep patterns are disrupted- and you’re hungry at odd times of the day. Even worse is the sensation of dealing with a hangover and jet lag at the same time!
But if you learn more about how hangovers and jet lag affect your health, you can discover the best course of action to treat them. That way, you can still have fun throughout the spring and summer, safe in the knowledge that you know how to treat your body right afterwards.
What Causes a Hangover?
Hangovers are caused by drinking alcohol – but interestingly, everyone’s threshold for provoking a hangover is different. You may only experience a hangover the morning after a heavy binge drinking session, or might find you suffer after a single glass of wine. This difference is down to individual immune function.
Above all, the ethanol in your alcoholic drink is a toxic substance that slows down your senses and responses – creating a pleasant feeling! But as your body perceives ethanol as a toxin, it needs to process and get rid of it as soon as possible, using the detoxification pathways of the liver and kidneys.
When you consume alcoholic drinks in large quantities, your liver works overtime to supply digestive enzymes to help break the ethanol down. But this short-changes your body, as using the enzymes in this way impedes the process of taking up nutrients properly. Ethanol is also a diuretic, so it triggers frequent urination, resulting in dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
Hangover symptoms include:
- Stomach pain
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Increased thirst
- Irritable mood
- Impaired cognitive function
These symptoms usually kick in several hours after you stop drinking, as your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) falls. Once your BAC has returned to zero, your hangover is likely to continue for the following 24 hours. Alcohol inflames your gut, causing gastrointestinal symptoms – and because your liver works overtime to neutralize the alcohol, it can result in low blood sugar, contributing to symptoms of fatigue and poor mood. Finally, alcohol consumption can disrupt your sleeping patterns, resulting in tiredness.
So, drinking alcohol has a huge effect on your body, triggering loss of fluids and electrolytes, lowered blood sugar, and poor uptake of nutrients. No wonder you feel so bad after a big night out!
What Is Jet Lag?
Jet lag (also known as circadian desynchrony) is defined as a sleep disorder that occurs when there is a conflict between your circadian rhythm and the time of day, caused by plane travel over several time zones. Typically, it affects air passengers traveling across five or more time zones, and owing to the direction the earth turns in relation to the sun, you are more likely to experience bad jet lag on eastward flights, particularly red-eye flights.
Jet lag symptoms include:
- Poor sleep
- Irritable mood
- Poor cognitive function
- Inability to sleep at night
Your circadian rhythm is an internal clock that guides your sleep and waking patterns. The hormone melatonin is responsible for triggering the signal that it’s time to sleep, and this hormone is usually triggered by darkness.
Your melatonin levels drop overnight, enabling you to wake up in the morning. But when you’re on a long flight, you don’t experience night and day in the same way – so, flying east from New York to Paris brings night time forwards, before your circadian rhythm is ready to trigger sleep – you’ll feel tired 5 hours after your normal bedtime.
Additional factors that affect your sleep/wake cycle can include temperature, timing of meals, exercise, and social interaction – all aspects that change when you’re sitting on a plane! The dry air in the cabin often contributes to dehydration, which can cause headaches and fatigue. So it’s not surprising that a long flight takes it out of you!
How Can I Cure My Hangover or Jet Lag?
While friends and family mean well, sharing their emergency hangover cures and offering painkillers, you need to focus on treating the underlying cause of your hangover. You need to replenish nutrients, fluids, and electrolytes.
Similarly, when you have returned from a trip, your jet lag might be temporarily relieved by painkillers and quick naps, but in order to get back to normal, you need to restore fluids and vitamins. For example, vitamin B5 and vitamin B12 help regulate melatonin production which aids sleep.
Though it’s possible to swig mineral water and pop supplements, if your busy lifestyle means you need quick results, a hangover-specific intravenous infusion or jet lag IV infusion is the best solution. An intravenous line bypasses your digestion, and makes sure all necessary nutrients and fluids are added directly to your bloodstream, bringing you back to optimal health.
RevIVe Wellness in Chicago provides a convenient service, offering same-day appointments – or the option of visiting you at home or at work to administer your IV treatment. So don’t suffer in silence – allow us to ease your hangover symptoms or jet lag by providing your body with the nourishment it deserves. Ease that headache and get back to living your life to the fullest.