Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

How to hold your drink

WebMD Medical Reference
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

Alcohol is a regular part of the social lives of many people. Whether a person drinks regularly, or occasionally, the amount of alcohol they drink can be influenced by those around them.

Aside from rounds of drinks being ordered, the size of measures, generous refills and cocktails and alcopops may lead to a person drinking more than they planned. The alcohol itself impairs judgement about whether to stop drinking or 'have one for the road'.

No expert would recommend overindulging, even if it is a special occasion, but it is useful to be aware of tips on pacing alcohol intake to a healthier level at social events.

Many people are surprised how low the NHS alcohol recommendations are: men shouldn't regularly drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day. For women the advice is not to regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day.

A small glass of wine eats up 1.5 units alone. A pint of lower-strength lager, beer or cider is two units.

If you've had a heavy drinking session, the NHS advises avoiding alcohol for 48 hours.

Along with the decision to drink also comes the responsibility to find a designated driver - or a taxi - to stay safe. If drinking is in your plans, you may want to keep these tips in mind.

Drink more ... water, that is

For every alcoholic drink you have, your body can expel up to four times as much liquid. The diuretic effect of alcohol and the dehydration it causes contribute to the discomfort of a hangover.

Pace yourself and don't overindulge.

Staying hydrated can reduce the negative effects of alcohol. Alcohol dehydrates you, so when you wake up with a headache and a generally sick feeling, dehydration is usually the cause.
Replacing lost fluids with water combats dehydration and keeps you from drinking more alcohol in the meantime.

Granted, this advice isn't Nobel Prize research, but keeping a bottle of water at your table or a glass of water next to your wine may make you feel like a genius in the morning.

Hit the rocks

Ordering drinks that are on the rocks brings the benefit of the drink being diluted as the ice melts.

Taking your time with a drink also pays off. Your body absorbs alcohol quicker than you metabolise it. The faster you drink, the more time the toxins in the alcohol spend in your body affecting your brain and other tissues - and the more pain you feel in the morning.

Metabolism depends on several factors (gender, weight, age, health), but in general, most people can metabolise roughly one unit of alcohol an hour. So diluting it with ice or water will increase your time between refills and decrease your odds of a hangover.

Stay informed

Sign up for BootsWebMD's free newsletters.
Sign Up Now!

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

woman washing face
Prevent & treat flare-ups
donut on plate
The truth about sugar addiction
female patient consulting with female GP
Take action for a healthy baby
couple watching sunset
How much do you know?
cold sore
Prevent and treat cold sores
smiling african american woman
Best kept secrets of healthy hair
assorted spices
Pump up the flavour with spices
10 tips to lose weight after baby
crossword puzzle
Tips for the first hard days
sperm and egg
Facts to help you get pregnant
african american woman wiping sweat from forehead
Relief from excessive sweating
polka dot dress on hangar
Lose weight without dieting