What is a hangover, really?


Announcer

Welcome to Stuff You Should Know from HowStuffWorks.com.

Josh Clark

Hey, and welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh Clark. With me is Charles Chuckers Bryant. And that means this is Stuff You Should Know. Right?

Chuck Bryant

Yes, the over 21 years old Chuck Bryant.

Josh Clark

Yeah, that's a big deal for this one, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant

We're just gonna go ahead and COA right now, say that this is about drinking, and if you're under 21, you should not drink.

Josh Clark

Chuck, have you ever consumed an alcoholic beverage?

Chuck Bryant

I have.

Josh Clark

How was it?

Chuck Bryant

Still COA, if you're over 21, you should drink responsibly.

Josh Clark

Yes, don't drink and drive. If you have any problem -

Chuck Bryant

Heavy machinery.

Josh Clark

Yeah, heavy machinery is a big one. If you have a problem, you can contact Alcoholics Anonymous.

Chuck Bryant

I've always wanted to test that one. Get really plowed, and just sit down behind a bulldozer and see what happens.

Josh Clark

I always imagine forklifts with heavy machinery.

Chuck Bryant

I go straight to the dozer.

Josh Clark

Wow.

Chuck Bryant

So yes, I have had an alcoholic beverage before.

Josh Clark

What was your experience with it like? Did you feel a little light headed, a little crazy, a little uninhibited?

Chuck Bryant

I wanted to kiss somebody.

Josh Clark

Did you end up kissing anybody?

Chuck Bryant

I did. I kissed my dog.

Josh Clark

Didn't you make out with a friend's sister at a U2 concert once?

Chuck Bryant

I did.

Josh Clark

Were you under the effects of alcohol during that time?

Chuck Bryant

I was. This was in 1992. Give me a break.

Josh Clark

Chuck, did you end up with a hangover?

Chuck Bryant

That day? Yes, I did.

Josh Clark

The same day?

Chuck Bryant

Well, the next day.

Josh Clark

Yeah, sure. So how did you feel?

Chuck Bryant

I felt - I had a headache. I had a poor sense of well-being. I had sensitivity to light and sound, diarrhea, loss of appetite, trembling, nausea, fatigue.

Josh Clark

You had the whole list. Huh?

Chuck Bryant

Dehydration, anxiety, trouble sleeping, weakness.

Josh Clark

Wow. That's a bad hangover right there.

Chuck Bryant

That's all the symptoms.

Josh Clark

You know the one that always gets me the worst whenever I have a hangover is the loss of the sense of well being. I feel like I am right there on the edge of danger. Everybody is gunning for me. I feel horrible the next day.

Chuck Bryant

Really?

Josh Clark

Yeah, it's really bad. It really - I've always assumed it affects my serotonin levels, although I didn't see anything in this article about that.

Chuck Bryant

I thought I was going to have to get taken to the hospital in Portland, Oregon one time.

Josh Clark

Did you?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, the next day - Emily asked me - it was her friend's wedding. She said, "Are you okay? Do you like need to go to the hospital?" And I went, "Maybe." And I was serious.

Josh Clark

Wow. So let's talk about this, Chuck. What are the mechanisms that lie behind the cursed and dreaded hangover?

Chuck Bryant

Visalgia.

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

Is that the correct pronunciation?

Josh Clark

That's how I took it.

Chuck Bryant

That's the medical formal medical name for a hangover is visalgia.

Josh Clark

Yeah, and it comes from a Norwegian word for uneasiness following debauchery, chervice, and a Greek word for pain, algia. Which is weird? I've never seen a Norwegian and Greek put together.

Chuck Bryant

I haven't either.

Josh Clark

But yeah, you come up with visalgia.

Chuck Bryant

Can I say that Bible verse, too?

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, there's a Bible verse that talks about hangovers. It's Isaiah 5:11. Whoa unto them that rise up early in the morning that they may follow strong drink. In other words, I feel real sorry for you that you had to get up early if you got hammered last night.

Josh Clark

Truer words have never been written in the Bible.

Chuck Bryant

Loose translation there.

Josh Clark

Yeah, so we've got that down. We have the word origin and a Bible quote, as is pretty much -

Chuck Bryant

It's how we start every show.

Josh Clark

For whenever you talk about a hangover. Right? So what's going on there, Chuck?

Chuck Bryant

Well, there's a bunch of things. Let's go ahead and start with vasopressin.

Josh Clark

Yeah, here is, by the way, everyone, a cocktail party conversation tidbit.

Chuck Bryant

So at your next cocktail party, you might want to just bring this up. It might be kind of depressing if they bring this up, actually, at a cocktail party.

Josh Clark

Well, this is the - this is how you explain breaking the seal, which I know that you have experienced. It's crazy. Once you urinate - and we're going to stick to the clinical terms here, Chuck. All right? Let's keep it above the board.

Chuck Bryant

Breaking the seal. That's clinical?

Josh Clark

Yes. Once you urinate that first time after you've started drinking, it seems like you just keep going and going and going and you can't stop. And you actually can't. Right?

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

So vasopressin.

Chuck Bryant

Vasopressin. Yes, when you drink booze, it enters your blood stream, and the pituitary gland blocks the creation of vasopressin, and without this, your kidneys start sending water straight to your bladder, basically.

Josh Clark

Right, to the tune of four times more than you actually drink. So you drink 250 milliliters of alcohol, you can shoot out up to 1,000 milliliters or a liter.

Chuck Bryant

Is that the clinical term, too?

Josh Clark

Shoot out.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, so that's no mistake. If you've ever had a few beers, and you're thinking, "Wow, that's so weird. I used the bathroom, and now I can't stop." That's vasopressin in there.

Josh Clark

Right, and that's called the diuretic effect. As the presence of alcohol increases in the bloodstream, you expel a lot more water. Right? But you're just expelling water. Also, we should say this leads directly to dehydration. If you're expelling four times more liquid than you're consuming, brother, you're getting dehydrated.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, which is one of the signature results of the hangover? And you get the headache because of that and other things, too.

Josh Clark

You do. And the headache, we've talked about this before. I don't remember where, so we probably shouldn't try to come up with a time stamp, but when you have a hangover, your brain actually shrinks. The next day, the other organs in your body are like, "You, brain, you've got a bunch of water. Give me some of that."

Chuck Bryant

I'm thirsty.

Josh Clark

Exactly. So a lot of the water is shuffled from your brain to other organs, causing your brain to actually shrink in size, which pulls on the membranes that connect it to the skull, the meninges.

Chuck Bryant

Right, and you know when you have a really bad hangover, you wake up, and you feel like the membranes of your skull are being pulled in a different direction.

Josh Clark

It definitely feels like that. Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

So when I read this, I was like, "Oh, so that's what that is."

Josh Clark

Or there's a 400-pound ham fisted man with hair on his knuckles doing little twirls in your head.

Chuck Bryant

Have you ever, speaking of breaking the seal, I don't think they did this in Athens in Georgia, but I know some friends at Georgia Southern, there were bars there that had the drink till you pee for free promotion. Have you ever heard of those?

Josh Clark

No, but it sounds awesome.

Chuck Bryant

Basically, starting at 6:00, they monitor the bathrooms, and everyone in the bar gets to drink for free until the first person in the bar goes to the bathroom.

Josh Clark

Yeah, I don't think they had that in Athens. Or they didn't when I was there.

Chuck Bryant

And of course because it's a college, there's like dudes peeing in beer pitchers in the corner. You know, just to keep - to not have to pay the $2.00.

Josh Clark

Whether or not there's that contest or promotion.

Chuck Bryant

Right. So it's science.

Josh Clark

Science. So okay, that's vasopressin. Right?

Chuck Bryant

Yes.

Josh Clark

Resulting in dehydration, but when you're urinating everywhere, every which way, whether it's in a beer pitcher or otherwise, you're also expelling a lot of other needed stuff.

Chuck Bryant

Yes.

Josh Clark

Like electrolytes.

Chuck Bryant

Salt.

Josh Clark

Potassium.

Chuck Bryant

Salt, potassium, magnesium, and these all affect how your cells function, how your muscles function, and you're getting rid of it without putting it back in. So you're gonna feel lousy.

Josh Clark

Yes, indeed. You are gonna feel lousy. So you're dehydrated. You've lost electrolytes. Right? And the electrolyte imbalance is really important. If you have too much salt and your electrolyte imbalance is too high, you die. If you have too little, you get the shakes, the tremors, which I understand is the most uncommon symptom of hangovers, which makes me nervous because I get the shakes just about every time the next day.

Chuck Bryant

I've never gotten the shakes.

Josh Clark

What?

Chuck Bryant

I've never gotten the shakes.

Josh Clark

Wow.

Chuck Bryant

It also points out in this article that hangovers are subjective. So for each person, you know, they might experience different, "Oh, I've never had a hangover," or, "All I get is thirsty."

Josh Clark

When you get the shakes and you have a loss of a sense of well-being.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, that's like Nick Cage in Leaving Las Vegas.

Josh Clark

Kind of. I've always been like, "Wow, that would be great to have a grocery cart in a liquor store." What a great scene.

Chuck Bryant

Should we talk about glycogen real quick, too?

Josh Clark

Yeah, that's another thing you lose.

Chuck Bryant

Glycogen is a key energy source, and it goes to the liver and turns into glucose. Is that correct?

Josh Clark

Right, well, the liver turns it into glucose.

Chuck Bryant

Oh, and then sends it out once again via the urine.

Josh Clark

Basically, your liver is like, "What the heck is going on?" And just does something, and of a sudden, you've just lost all your energy.

Chuck Bryant

Right, I'll just pee everything out just to be sure, basically, is what's going on.

Josh Clark

Yeah, and that actually accounts for the weakness the next day, fatigue. And actually, that's not the only thing that accounts for fatigue. You don't sleep very well after a night of heavy drinking.

Chuck Bryant

Glutamine.

Josh Clark

Yes. You have glutamine, which is another - it's actually a stimulant.

Chuck Bryant

Natural stimulant.

Josh Clark

Yes; which is the only good kind of stimulant?

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

And when you drink alcohol, the production of this natural stimulant is actually blocked, so when you stop drinking, e.g., go to sleep, your body tries to make up for lost time and over produces glutamine.

Chuck Bryant

So it means you're not getting as good of sleep.

Josh Clark

Exactly, and the next day, you also feel restless and anxious. Maybe you've got the shakes.

Chuck Bryant

That's true. That's another cocktail party tip. If you start saying all these things at your next cocktail party, you probably won't be invited back to the next cocktail party, though, would be my guess.

Josh Clark

I don'tknow. I think you can wow some people. It depends on how cool your cocktail party guests are.

Chuck Bryant

I guess. I could see them saying, "Why are you telling us all these awful things about drinking?" Unless my kind of cocktail party, everyone would be like, "This is great. Pour me another one. Screw glycogen. Screw vasopressin." So what else, Josh?

Josh Clark

Well, we could talk about the impurities of liquor.

Chuck Bryant

Okay. The different alcohols!

Josh Clark

Yeah, pretty much the rule of thumb is the darker the alcohol, the more impure it is, and therefore, the heavier the hangover.

Chuck Bryant

Yes, which is why I think everyone pretty much knows that like your worst alcoholics that start drinking every morning when they wake up, they're probably drinking vodka.

Josh Clark

Yes, it's actually a good thing to drink if you are an alcoholic because you're going to be able to be as close to a functional alcoholic as possible.

Chuck Bryant

Right. How about that study with the bourbon?

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

They did a study between bourbon and vodka, and 33 percent of the people who drank amount of bourbon relative to their body weight had a severe hangover, and only 3 percent had a hangover when they drank vodka. That's a big drop.

Josh Clark

Vodka, white wine, that kind of thing, light rum.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, gin.

Josh Clark

Yeah. Conversely, dark rum is bad.

Chuck Bryant

Red wine.

Josh Clark

Light tequila is good. Basically, if it's dark, it's gonna kill you.

Chuck Bryant

I'm in bad shape then because you know me. I'm a bourbon, red wine, beer guy.

Josh Clark

That's funny. I'm like the whatever is in the glass guy.

Chuck Bryant

Right, that's good. You're fun to have at the cocktail party because you're not picky.

Josh Clark

No.

Chuck Bryant

As long as they don't run out of ice.

Josh Clark

Totally not. As long as they're not a cigarette butte floating in it, I'll drink it.

Chuck Bryant

And then sometimes even then.

Josh Clark

Don't think that hasn't happened before, Chuck. Basically, what I took from this article is when you drink; you are poisoning your body through congeners, through impurities in the alcohol, but also through the body's natural processes of breaking down alcohol, too. It actually - there's a byproduct produced when the liver metabolizes alcohol called acetaldehyde.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, take this one because it kind of - I read it like three times, and I was still a little lost.

Josh Clark

Okay, Chuck. Allow me.

Chuck Bryant

Please.

Josh Clark

So basically, when the liver metabolizes alcohol, it produces a byproduct that's a toxin called acetaldehyde. And acetaldehyde is actually more toxic to the body than alcohol itself, which is crazy. But we have a natural mechanism for neutralizing acetaldehyde, called appropriately enough acetaldehyde dehydrogenase.

Chuck Bryant

Appropriately.

Josh Clark

So that stuff goes and attacks the acetaldehyde. Right? Then we have this other stuff that is called glutathione. Right? And it contains high levels of a substance called sistine. And sistine actually is attracted to acetaldehyde. So the two things combine. Acetaldehyde and dehydrogenase, and the sistine and the glutathione combine to neutralize the acetaldehyde. Right?

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

And it does it pretty quickly. You are going to feel some ill effects, but the less you drink, the easier it is for these two substances to neutralize as byproduct as the alcohol is metabolized. Okay, you with me so far?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, yeah, makes sense.

Josh Clark

Here is the problem. You have a limited store of glutathione in your liver. So you use it up pretty quick.

Chuck Bryant

And women have even less than men. Correct?

Josh Clark

Exactly, which accounts for why women tend to have more harsh hangovers or harsher hangovers than men? Not just body weight, although that does matter. So you use up your glutathione stores, and once you do that, your blood is just basically circulating this toxin, acetaldehyde, while the liver generates more glutathione, hence you've got this horrible hangover. And why ultimately, time is the only remedy for it.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, well, let's get to that in a second. Let's get to the remedies. Let's talk about liquor before beer, never fear. Or is it the other way around?

Josh Clark

Beer before liquor, never sicker.

Chuck Bryant

Never sicker.

Josh Clark

Yeah, you're right.

Chuck Bryant

There is a little bit of truth to that, it turns out because -

Josh Clark

I love it when folk sayings turn out to be true.

Chuck Bryant

It turns out that carbonation in beer speeds up the absorption of alcohol, so if you start with beer and then move on to liquor, your body is in fact going to have a harder time processing those toxins even though there's a certain age - my friend Justin and I - you know Justin. We were talking about this a few years ago. Someone was remarking about - we had a big night out, and we're like, "What is it? Liquor before beer, beer before liquor! I can't remember," and I just said, "You know what? Doesn't matter anymore?"

Josh Clark

You're gonna be hurting.

Chuck Bryant

You reach a certain age, and it either doesn't affect you, or it's going to affect you no matter what. Those are college rules.

Josh Clark

I've noted through my own personal observations that at about Age 24, you get - you start getting really severe hangovers. I haven't figured out exactly why yet, but that seems to be about the age which you switch over from, "I can do this constantly," to, "Oh, God, why? I have the shakes. I have a loss of sense of well-being."

Chuck Bryant

Right, I'm vomiting. I have diarrhea.

Josh Clark

I don't know why. Maybe that's when puberty ends or something to do with hormones still floating around in the body.

Chuck Bryant

Buddy, if your puberty ended at 24, then -

Josh Clark

Puberty does end in your 20s.

Chuck Bryant

Really?

Josh Clark

Uh huh.

Chuck Bryant

My puberty ended when I was like 14. "Hi, I'm Chuck." But it started when I was seven, so -

Josh Clark

"Hi, I'm Chuck, Age 7."

Chuck Bryant

Where are we now? Are we talking about vomiting?

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

Turns out that actually does help.

Josh Clark

And also, Chuck, since we have a drinking game based on this and we're talking about hangovers, allow me. Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck. That should keep them for a little while. Go ahead, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant

Alcohol, what's going on there is it is indeed better to vomit because when alcohol is absorbed directly through the stomach, when that happens, the lining of your stomach is going to become irritated and say, "Hey, thanks for putting all this poison in me." And it's going to start secreting hydrochloric acid.

Josh Clark

Right, and the hydrochloric acid is actually what makes you vomit.

Chuck Bryant

Right, it sends messages to the brain that says, "Expel."

Josh Clark

The stomach is really connected to the brain via hormonal signals.

Chuck Bryant

Big time.

Josh Clark

Which don't necessarily end after puberty?

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

And your stomach says, "You've got to get rid of this stuff," and -

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, and it turns out - you probably shouldn't make yourself throw up because it's dangerous. It could become a problem. If you're drinking so much and you're making yourself throw up -

Josh Clark

You probably do have a problem.

Chuck Bryant

You should check into a clinic or something.

Josh Clark

Sure.

Chuck Bryant

Check into Promises in Malibu.

Josh Clark

If you've got the cash.

Chuck Bryant

But it will make you feel a little bit better because obviously, your body is not going to have to process whatever alcohol is still in your stomach. So there you have it.

Josh Clark

What are we on to now, buddy?

Chuck Bryant

I think we kind of nailed what it is, so should we talk about some of the cures that people spout?

Josh Clark

Yeah, there are plenty of hangover cures.

Chuck Bryant

Everybody has got one.

Josh Clark

Yeah, and actually, I'm surprised to find that some of them actually are real. Now that you understand what causes a hangover, you can actually identify what will help cure a hangover. Because really, what's going on is you've expelled electrolytes.

Chuck Bryant

It's biology.

Josh Clark

You've expelled - exactly. You've expelled your natural energy source. You are dehydrated, and your brain has shrunk.

Chuck Bryant

Has shrunk.

Josh Clark

Yeah, so what do you do to make yourself feel better? Chuck, my personal favorite is hair of the dog. Will that help me or no?

Chuck Bryant

It will not. You know where that comes from?

Josh Clark

It's the Bible, again. Isn't it? Nazareth.

Chuck Bryant

No. Medieval times, though, the hair of the dog that bit you. Supposedly, if you got bit by a rabid dog, you would take some of that dog's hair and apply it to your wound, and that will cure you.

Josh Clark

This is the same culture that buried a cat at midnight to cure warts.

Chuck Bryant

Exactly. So just like that is false, hair of the dog is false as well. Having a drink the next day to make yourself feel a little bit better will not work. It might make you feel a little bit better in the short term, but ultimately, you're just adding more toxins that your body is going to have to process, and you're kind of just staving off the inevitable hangover unless you just drink all day again, and then you'll have the hangover the following day.

Josh Clark

Double hangover.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, exactly.

Josh Clark

Unless you just keep going until you die. Then it never catches up with you. You won the game.

Chuck Bryant

I was taking a walk with Emily yesterday with the dogs. This shows how twisted I am. And I saw - it was 8:00 in the morning, 7:30 in the morning. Something like that. And there was a guy down the street from us in the parking lot cracking his first King Cobra. And I said, "You know what, Em, 99 times out of 100, I see those people, and I think how could you live your life just getting bombed from the moment you wake up everyday?" I said, "But every once in a while, I think what a way to live." And she said, "What is wrong with you?" And we kept walking.

Josh Clark

She keeps you in line. Doesn't she?

Chuck Bryant

Well, she doesn't let me get up and get drunk everyday if that's what you mean.

Josh Clark

That's keeping you line.

Chuck Bryant

Okay, she does.

Josh Clark

Chuck, one of the things that kills me is drinking coffee. I learned a long time ago that if I ever have a hangover, I stay away from coffee. So I was surprised to find in this article that actually, it does have some benefits.

Chuck Bryant

Agreed.

Josh Clark

Which are -

Chuck Bryant

It will actually alleviate your headache a little bit because it's caffeine, and that's a vasoconstrictor. So it reduces your blood vessels.

Josh Clark

It reduces the swelling.

Chuck Bryant

So that'll help a little bit.

Josh Clark

It'll help cure the headaches.

Chuck Bryant

But it'll dehydrate you.

Josh Clark

Because it's a diuretic, which is how you really got into this trouble in the first place, so stop being stupid.

Chuck Bryant

I would say coffee along with a lot of water might be a good idea.

Josh Clark

Possibly. Okay, so what else?

Chuck Bryant

Fatty food, fried food the next day.

Josh Clark

Yeah, which is odd because I know I crave fried food the next day. Cheeseburger, bacon chili cheeseburger, two bacon chili cheeseburgers!

Chuck Bryant

Dude, Emily eats like two hamburgers a year and they're on hangover days. She doesn't eat beef at all, but when she wakes up with a really bad hangover, she's like, "Quarter pounder."

Josh Clark

That's strange because obviously, she's not the only person who experiences that craving, but that doesn't necessarily help, and could actually make you vomit. It could tip the scales when you've got a bunch of hydrochloric acid in your stomach. But it could help if you ate a bacon chili cheeseburger or two bacon chili cheeseburgers before you started drinking. And why?

Chuck Bryant

Because it contains oil, and the fat and the grease will line your stomach.

Josh Clark

It takes longer to digest.

Chuck Bryant

Absolutely. In fact, in the Mediterranean, they have long drank a little bit of olive oil before imbibing. It's an old thing they do there.

Josh Clark

I'm not trying that.

Chuck Bryant

I'm not either.

Josh Clark

I like olive oil, but I'm not going to drink a tablespoon of it.

Chuck Bryant

No, me neither.

Josh Clark

Okay, how about a banana? I'm just going to pull that one out of my head.

Chuck Bryant

Out of your banana tree. Remedy. Loaded with potassium, electrolytes, and -

Josh Clark

Yes because remember, you lose potassium, which is an electrolyte, so if you can restore the balance -

Chuck Bryant

So banana will help your hangover, as will eggs, since we're on breakfast.

Josh Clark

Yes because they contain sistine. Right? Which is something that's attracted to acetaldehyde?

Chuck Bryant

Right, so eggs and a banana and water would be a great way to start your morning if you have a hangover.

Josh Clark

Not just water, but water loaded with sugar and salt, actually.

Chuck Bryant

Right because the carbonation would do the same thing as it did with the beer. Beer before liquor!

Josh Clark

So you want uncarbonated water loaded with salt, sugar.

Chuck Bryant

Not a Red Bull.

Josh Clark

No because it has caffeine.

Chuck Bryant

Not an energy drink.

Josh Clark

Uncarbonated, non-caffeine water with salt and sugar, which I think I just described a sports drink.

Chuck Bryant

Right.

Josh Clark

A banana and some eggs.

Chuck Bryant

Or you know what else you can do instead of water? Put some fruit juice in there. Fruit juice is the kind of sugar you want. Fructose! And studies have shown that it increases the rate at which your body gets rid of the toxins, and that's a good idea. It also gives you vitamins, of course.

Josh Clark

What about, say, Excedrin, acetaminophen.

Chuck Bryant

Acetaminophen is - well, you want to avoid Excedrin because it has caffeine.

Josh Clark

Right which can help, but ultimately no?

Chuck Bryant

Right, and acetaminophen, I believe, you don't want to take because that can mess with your liver if you have alcohol in your system.

Josh Clark

If you take acetaminophen for a hangover, you are probably going to feel a little better. Actually, you'll probably feel a lot better, but in the long run, your liver is going to fall apart.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, you're doing your body damage.

Josh Clark

You're going to expel that through your urine.

Chuck Bryant

So what you want to do is get a non-caffeinated anti-inflammatory prostaglandin inhibitor.

Josh Clark

Which is also known as Aspirin?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

Which is good, so Aspirin will help? It's shown that prostaglandin actually wreaks havoc on your body during hangovers. So if you take a prostaglandin inhibitor, you're going to feel a lot better, and apparently, there have been studies that show, yes, Aspirin helps.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah.

Josh Clark

Especially if you take one before you go to bed, and you take two when you wake up. But beware. People with tender stomachs often vomit from Aspirin.

Chuck Bryant

Right. You know what my cure is?

Josh Clark

What?

Chuck Bryant

Let's talk about each other's cures. Have you got one? Surely you do.

Josh Clark

What do I do?

Chuck Bryant

You want to hear mine?

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

Mine is - my deal is I can't sleep in anymore. Doesn't matter if I was out until 3:00 in the morning! I'm still going to wake up at 7:00. It's just the way it is when you're old. You'll experience this one day. I get up at 7:00, like I normally do, and I drink - I pound like three or four glasses of water, take a couple of Aspirin, and then I get right back in bed and see if I can get like another hour or two of sleep. And then I wake up, and I feel great.

Josh Clark

Yeah, that works crazy well. It especially works with Advil if you take a couple Advil, and you have even like a half hour - preferably hour extra to sleep. For some reason, Advil always makes me sleepy. It makes me fall asleep very easily. Never figured out why, but yeah, you wake up an hour later, and you are set. It's a great one.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah because sleep is the only real key to curing a hangover, they say. Well, time.

Josh Clark

That's usually what I rely on is time, and I pound a few Coca Colas in the morning, which is not good for me, but it works. Right?

Chuck Bryant

Black Aspirin, is that what they say?

Josh Clark

Yeah, and then I don't make eye contact with anybody because they're all out to get me. That's how I make it through the day when I have a hangover. Again, we should say please don't find any of this funny, entertaining, or amusing if you're 21 years or older. And if you are 21 years or older, please find it amusing responsibly.

Chuck Bryant

Right. We should talk about some of these over the counter like anti-hangover pills that you can buy. You heard of these?

Josh Clark

Yeah, like chasers.

Chuck Bryant

Yeah. They're basically multi-vitamins, and here's the deal.

Josh Clark

Well, some are activated carbon, which can work.

Chuck Bryant

True, true. But here's the deal. If you read on the package, it'll say something like this. Drink a full 12-ounce glass of water before you start drinking and take a pill. And then after your second or third drink, drink another glass of water, and take another pill, and then do that again. Before you go to bed, drink a glass of water with a pill, and then wake up and drink a glass of water with a pill. So you're basically taking a vitamin and downing tons of water, which is -

Josh Clark

And that's the key is the water. Right?

Chuck Bryant

They key, yeah.

Josh Clark

You're hydrating yourself.

Chuck Bryant

So it's a bit of a rip-off.

Josh Clark

Right. But not necessarily because it is recommended that you do take a multi-vitamin the next morning.

Chuck Bryant

But just take a multi-vitamin. Don't pay for some hangover cure.

Josh Clark

You know what else helps is to actually be cognizant and not a total drunk while you're drinking.

Chuck Bryant

Yes.

Josh Clark

If you drink glass for glass water for alcohol, No. 1, it keeps you hydrated. But No. 2, it also paces your drinking so that your body has more time to process this alcohol. It's not just like boom, boom, boom.

Chuck Bryant

I've gotten better at that.

Josh Clark

Have you?

Chuck Bryant

Oh, yeah. Sure. I try to be - if I have like a big night out, I try to be pretty aware of drinking a couple glasses of water here and there, and I always will pound two or three glasses before I go to bed.

Josh Clark

Good for you, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant

That's the way to do it.

Josh Clark

All right, so there you have it. That's the hangover. Right?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, a couple other things you can do beforehand is eat, obviously - alcohol on an empty stomach is going to get you there quicker, but it will get you sicker and make you feel worse.

Josh Clark

You love rhyming.

Chuck Bryant

So water. What else you say? Multi-vitamins, drink in moderation, of course, is the key with everything. Watch what you're drinking. Red wine, bourbon! It's going to make you feel bad. It tastes sugary sweet on your tongue, but it'll make you feel worse. I'm in trouble, though. I wish I could learn to drink vodka. I just don't dig it.

Josh Clark

Oh, vodka is so wonderful.

Chuck Bryant

Is it nice?

Josh Clark

Yeah.

Chuck Bryant

I drink gin and tonics occasionally during the summertime months.

Josh Clark

I can't drink those. Gin actually makes me crazy. I have a self-imposed ban on gin. I won't drink it. I don't allow myself to drink it because it makes me nuts, and apparently, I'm not the only one. In the 17th Century, the UK actually banned - or I should say England banned gin.

Chuck Bryant

Because they're the makers of gin.

Josh Clark

It was making everybody so nuts. So gin was banned in England for a little while because people went like I did.

Chuck Bryant

Sure. Different alcohols did that. Tequila is notorious for making people violent and act out of sorts.

Josh Clark

I've never had a problem with tequila.

Chuck Bryant

My neither. My buddy, Scotty, has a red wine thing. Completely personality shift when he drinks it.

Josh Clark

Really?

Chuck Bryant

Yeah, he becomes a completely different person.

Josh Clark

That's so odd. You know Alexander the Great died from a red wine drinking competition.

Chuck Bryant

Really? Is that true?

Josh Clark

Uh huh, one of his soldiers challenged him to it, and they apparently drank like 5 million gallons apiece, and Alexander the Great went off and died.

Chuck Bryant

Boy, I be the alcohol back then was rough, too, man.

Josh Clark

Yeah, they love their wine.

Chuck Bryant

The good old days.

Josh Clark

Well, if you want to learn absolutely every last detail there is to know about a hangover, you should read this fine, fine article by freelancer Lacie Perry called, "How Hangovers Work." You can just type in hangover in the handy search bar at HowStuffWorks.com. Also, check out our Kiva.org page.

Chuck Bryant

$2,500.00 and growing.

Josh Clark

So far, yeah.

Chuck Bryant

Very proud of you guys.

Josh Clark

You can help fund a loan for an entrepreneur in a developing country for as little as $25.00, and best part, you get it back. We have a team that's to be found at www.Kiva.org/Team/StuffYouShouldKnow.

Chuck Bryant

Right, and if that's too hard, you can click on community and then search Stuff You Should Know.

Josh Clark

And we've been posting a link at the bottom of every one of our blog posts.

Chuck Bryant

Yes. We've got close to 100 members, and about $2,500.00 raised and it's pretty cool.

Josh Clark

Let's do listener mail.

Chuck Bryant

Let's do listener mail. Okay, Josh. I'm going to call this don't kill me, I'm just the enumerator. This is a good one. "Hi, guys. I hope this finds you well. My name is Mark, and I live in Fishkill, New York, which is an interesting town. I was listening to the Gross National Happiness podcast, and you mentioned the census worker being killed. I thought I'd send an e-mail. I was a census bureau worker in 2000. I was a carefree 19 year old on summer break. My friends and I saw the ad in the paper and took the exam and became official enumerators, including a shiny, plastic badge from the treasury department to boot," he says."So our task was to travel door to door and talk to the people who didn't return their survey. Some people got the short form. Some people got the long form. And I remember, the forms were assigned at random. Usually, the long formers didn't mail them back in, and that's who they usually had to confront."

Josh Clark

They had a good shakedown.

Chuck Bryant

They had to shake them down. "People were downright mean when I knock on their door. One asked -" This is a good one. "One man asked me to hold on for a second. He closed the door, and within a few minutes, I heard the garage door open, and he drove out and waved goodbye." That's such a jerky move. "One woman answered the door with a baby in her arms, shouting something at me. I heard dogs barking, and the next thing I knew, she had let the dogs loose on us, and I was running safely back to the safety of my Buick Regal. I quickly learned my lesson, and when someone would open the door and give me the skinny on their neighbors who didn't mail their forms back in, I was happy."'And I was even happier when it was a grandma who would offer e a cold drink." Because you know the old folks! They're just like, "Come on in. Let's talk for a while."

Josh Clark

I'm so lonely.

Chuck Bryant

Exactly. "I did not know, however, that enumerators were killed. I must have missed that part of the training. Most of the rants would be anti-government. They would say I was the man. I was told to get off their property and all the expletives that go with it. It's not easy being an enumerator, so give them a shout out." So shout out to all you enumerators out there. And that's pretty much it. He said, "I thought I'd chime in. Actually, I was chiming in this morning in the car, and then realized I was alone." So Mark the former enumerator is a funny guy, and he says, "By the way, podcast suggestion, how hippie Rob works."

Josh Clark

Oh, that's a good one.

Chuck Bryant

That would be a great one. That - the audio -

Josh Clark

I'm still trying to track him down.

Chuck Bryant

Sure. Yeah. So thanks, Mark. And good luck if you enumerate in the future. And all you enumerators out there counting heads, I'm sorry. I didn't know it was so rough on you.

Josh Clark

And let's see. If you're a numerator or a denominator, or you know the current whereabouts of hippie Rob, put in an e-mail to StuffPodcast@HowStuffWorks.com.

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