If you’re reading this right now because you have a monster of a hangover and never want it to happen again, bless your soul. I feel for you. I really do. And if you’re currently thinking, “I’m never going to drink ever again,” then you have indeed discovered the best way to avoid a hangover. To be brutally honest, the easiest way to prevent a hangover is to avoid alcohol altogether (ugh) or to drink in moderation. But I know what you’re thinking: What does “moderation” really mean?
Well, for most women, experts recommend having no more than three standard drinks in one sitting. (Yup, even when you’ve got an open bar in front of you…*cue “Sorry” by Justin Bieber*.) Another guideline to follow? Stick to one standard drink per hour, says Laura Veach, PhD, director of the master’s program in addiction research and clinical health at Wake Forest School of Medicine. That’s because your liver typically takes about an hour to process one drink, she explains. If you drink any more than that, chances are you might wake up feeling a lil gross at the very least the next morning.
These facts aren’t meant to depress you. I do have some good news to share: According to the pros (ya know, actual MDs, RDs and PhDs), there are ways to lower your chances of feeling like trash after a night out. And most of them are pretty damn easy to follow.
Below are 21 expert-approved tricks that’ll tell you exactly how to prevent a hangover at every stage of your bender journey—including what to do before you drink, while you drink, before you sleep, and during that dreaded morning after. Follow them closely and you may never need your ice pack again…oooor at least a little less often.