Slide 1 of 23
Many people have been there: After a night of one too many martinis, you wake up with a pounding headache and crippling nausea. The hangover has plagued mankind since drinking began, with records of the phenomenon dating back to ancient Egypt.
Despite the hangover's long history, its exact causes are still being parsed out.
"The question is: What's causing the hangover?" said Dr. Robert Swift, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University who studies alcoholism. "It could be the alcohol, it could be how it's drunk, it could be the other substances along with the alcohol."
But in any case, "a hangover is a clear indication that you've done something that's not very smart," said James Schaefer, an anthropologist at Union College who specializes in alcohol metabolism research. "It's a warning signal."
While many people have received that warning, there are a number of facts about these dreaded post-imbibing episodes that are not widely known.
Here's a look at 11 things you should know about hangovers:
Smoking can make hangovers worseSlide 2 of 23
Smoking can make hangovers worse
Not only are cigarettes bad for your overall health, they can make your hangover that much worse the next morning.
Researchers who looked at the smoking and drinking habits of college students found that those who smoked on the nights that they drank heavily had much more severe hangovers the following day.
While the exact reason for this is still unknown, researchers surmise it may be because smoking can cause people to drink more, according to a 2005 study in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. This leads to more severe symptoms the next day. Another idea is that chemicals in cigarettes can heighten the overall pharmacological effects of alcohol.Slide 3 of 23
Hangovers are expensiveSlide 4 of 23
Hangovers are expensive
While hangovers can take a toll on individuals, they can also affect the economy. It's estimated that hangovers cost $148 billion annually, with an average annual cost of $2,000 per working adult, due to missing work and poor job performance, according to a 2000 study in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
In fact, even though a person's blood alcohol content may be back to zero the day after imbibing, research has established that hungover workers have an increased risk of accidents and injury. The more severe the hangover, research finds, the greater the neurocognitive deficits, including poorer reaction times, memory and attention span.Slide 5 of 23
Darker liquors can cause worse hangover symptomsSlide 6 of 23
Darker liquors can cause worse hangover symptoms
Darker-hued drinks, such as bourbon, red wine and rum can often be the culprit of a brutal hangover, thanks to high concentrations of compounds called congeners. These byproducts of fermentation get metabolized by the body into formaldehyde, a highly toxic substance that can contribute to a person's overall misery during a hungover morning.
In a study comparing the effects of drinking bourbon with drinking vodka, those people who drank bourbon felt worse the next day.
"The clear, the five-times-distilled vodka is better than thick, goopy rum," Schaefer said. "The darker the liquor, the more congeners it has."
But, if a peaty, single-malt scotch is your drink of choice, "drink it neat and chase it with water," Schaefer advised.Slide 7 of 23
Genetics plays a roleSlide 8 of 23