Have a hangover-free Christmas

On the 12th day my true love suffered indigestion. Don’t let that happen to you. Find out how to overcome those festive ailments, from drinking too much to sore feet.

You feel terrible! Why did you have that last cocktail? If you feel trapped on the festive treadmill, all those parties, all that shopping and all those rich meals to wade through, Christmas can seem more of a trial than a treat. Late nights, rich food, too many sneaky cigarettes, bad breath can strike all of us. In fact recent research estimates that four in 10 people worry about it.

Bad breath is one of the hidden complaints. You either know you have it and are devastated, or you don’t know you have it and devastate those around you. The good news is, it’s easy to correct. Keep a toothbrush and some whitening toothpaste in your desk drawer or handbag.

Two-thirds of those questioned admit to putting on a stone in weight as a result of stuffing themselves, as well as the turkey, over the Christmas holidays. It’s hardly surprising as a traditional plate of Christmas dinner can contain 1,300 calories, that’s without the pudding, the drinks and that indulgent breakfast.

Even making small changes can help. Have a light breakfast like fruit instead of a fry-up. Choose stuffing made from chestnuts or dried fruit instead of sausage meat and save 100 calories and 11g of fat per serving. Try to take a walk instead of slumping in front of the television on Christmas Day and the exercise will aid digestion and help burn off a few calories.

You’ve partied like Paris Hilton, gone on shopping sprees that would put Wayne Rooney’s girlfriend Coleen McLoughlin to shame and worked as though overtime is going out of fashion to hit deadlines before the festive break.

It’s little wonder Christmas Day is renowned for people snoring on the sofa. By the time December 25 is opened on the advent calendar, we’re all exhausted. Exhaustion can make you feel irritable, overwhelmed and depressed. In the run-up to Christmas there’s a tremendous amount to do. People cram everything in with work and home and that combined with the party season and late nights leave people struggling through the day.

Pace yourself in the build-up to Christmas. Try to tackle things one by one and make lists so that you set yourself manageable targets. Amongst the busy times with friends and family, allow some space for yourself and your partner. Sleep is a handy tool to combat exhaustion. It’s important not to have too many late nights or drink too much, which can affect sleeping patterns. Go to bed at a reasonable hour with a camomile tea. Herbal sleeping remedies are good because they don’t make you feel zonked out the next day.

Celebrating the festive season with one cheeky tipple can rapidly turn into excessive merriment and a few too many empty wine bottles for the recycling bin. Whatever your poison, a spinning room, thumping headache and a quick dash to the bathroom are often part and parcel of the morning after the night before.

It’s estimated 17 million working days are lost to hangovers each year and the festive season is sure to be high on alcohol-induced sicknotes. The best advice is not to drink, but if you do indulge, follow these tips for preventing a hangover:

  • Limit yourself to one drink per hour. The body can process alcohol at a rate of about 15ml per hour, the equivalent of about one small can of medium strength lager.
  • Eat a meal before you start drinking. Food helps to absorb alcohol, giving the body more time to process it and reducing the risk of a hangover.
  • Drink plenty of water to counter the dehydrating effects of alcohol.
  • Intersperse alcoholic drinks with water to avoid the ‘morning-after thirst’.
  • Avoid drinks that contain large amounts of congeners, as these tend to cause more severe hangovers. Generally, these are dark-coloured drinks such as red wine, brandy, and port.

Staggering around with laden shopping bags or dancing the night away in sky-high stilettoes can add up to some serious aches and pains. A little commonsense goes a long way. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes when you’re on a major shopping mission.

If you don’t want to give up your dancing shoes, try invisible gel cushions. These nifty gel pads slip inside your shoes and cushion the balls of your feet. Available from major pharmacies.

Eating on the run during shopping trips, indulging in too many rich meals or gobbling down suspect party snacks can also cause festive misery.

Around 37 per cent of people suffer from a stomach complaint, indigestion or bloating over Christmas, according to another survey. Get relief from bloating and trapped wind with gel capsules, from supermarkets and pharmacies.