School has been going for a couple weeks now, so statistically speaking, chances are you’ve had a pretty bad hangover sometime very recently. If you haven’t yet, you will. While we at HackCollege obviously won’t condone excessive drinking, we can at least give you some tips on how to theoretically keep your head from throbbing the day after a hypothetical bender.

Eat

Going out to drink on an empty stomach is a rookie move, and a gurantee of a bad hangover the next day. The reason is that food will help prevent alcohol from being absorbed as quickly, as well as reducing the amount of acetaldehyde in your stomach. As acetaldehyde mixed with alchohol is one of the main causes of a hangover. Carbs are particularly good for avoiding hangovers, as starchy foods will absorb more acetaldehyde.

Drink Water

As we recently discussed in an article discussing the importance of hydration, drinking alcohol is a very dehydrating activity for a number of reasons, including how often it’ll have you running to the bathroom. In fact, one of the largest contributors to a hangover is dehydration, meaning that most of your bad hangover experiences could have been avoided by drinking water before and after getting drunk. It’s advised that you drink at least a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage consumed.

Also, try ordering drinks that are on the rocks. Not only will it provide your body with much needed hydration, it will also help keep you with the same drink in your hand for longer, allowing you to pace yourself more easily.

Pick Your Poison

While the desired end result may be the same, different kinds of alcohols will cause your body to react in varying ways due to the types of additives and flavorings found in each. As a result, certain types of alcohol will greatly increase the likelihood of a hangover when mixed together. As a result, always pick what you’ll be drinking and stick to it to avoid some of the worst hangovers possible.

Also, it’s often best to choose light-colored alcohol over dark, as the dark-colored alcoholic drinks possess a chemical element known as “congeners,” which contribute to the characteristic smell, taste and color of drinks like whiskey, brandy, and red wine as well as causing far more intense hang overs. Additionally, cheaper alcohol tends to have more congeners than the expensive brands. So if you’re planning a big night of drinking, try sticking with a mid to high-range vodka rather than a bottle of Jameson.

Avoid Mixed Drinks

In addition to the reasons above, mixed drinks are one of the most notorious culprits in causing hangovers. Mixed drinks made from carbonated beverages are particularly bad, as the carbonation will excel the rate at which alchohol is absorbed. The same is true for non-mixed drinks that contain carbonation as well, such as champagne.

Mixed drinks that contain high amounts of sugar should also be avoided as well, and not just because sweeter drinks can notoriously cause you to drink a lot more alcohol at a faster rate. Sugar will dehydrate you faster, and potentially even make you sick when you drink it in large quantities.

Know Your Limits

The most important rule of thumb for drinking is to always know your limits, and to stick to them. Every person’s body metabolizes alcohol at different rates, so always pay attention to how you react to different types of alcohol and plan accordingly. On average, your body can only metabolize one drink an hour, leading some to recommend no more than three drinks per hour to avoid becoming too drunk and stay within the pleasant “tipsy” range. The less you drink, the less chance of developing a hangover the next day.