Smart Drinking

For a lot of people, New Year's Eve means drinking a bit more alcohol than usual—since your New Year’s resolutions don't start until Wednesday, you might as well give those bad habits a proper send-off. But before you head out for the night to sip some bubbly, watch a ball drop, and sneak a midnight kiss, read these tips on making your New Year’s morning a little easier.

Put the Right Food in Your Belly

Before you pour alcohol down your gullet, you want a solid base of food in your stomach. Research has shown that this helps with cognitive abilities while intoxicated by reducing alcohol’s effects (but any college freshman could tell you that).

Unfortunately, there’s no food that's certain to prevent hangovers, but a complete meal with starches, lean proteins, and veggies certainly won't hurt. There’s some evidence that asparagus helps metabolize alcohol, but your first trip to the bathroom after dinner may not provide the best fun-going impression.

Since your stomach may be getting a workout of cocktails, it’s best to eat things you know agree with your belly. Keep snacking throughout the evening, and drink plenty of water (you may even want to alternate drinks with glasses of water to ensure that you make it to midnight).

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Set Up Your Bedside Battle Station

You can save yourself a lot of pain in the morning by leaving yourself some presents on your bedside table.

For one, if you leave a bottle of Sprite there and drink some before you go to bed, you’ll feel better in the morning, at least according to a team of Chinese researchers. They found that this beverage helps promote the breakdown of acetaldehyde, a byproduct of alcohol than can lead to nausea, vomiting, and headaches.

Next to that, fill up a tall glass of water. You’ll want it in the morning to cure your dehydration. If you want a pain reliever, avoid aspirin or Tylenol-based products, as they can put added stress on your already over-worked liver.

And if you plan to bring home company from the bar, make sure to have adequate protection next to your bed. When it comes to sexual health, never put your safety in the hands of someone else.

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Think Ahead (Before You Stop Thinking)

Before you head out for the night, you should have plans for how to get home safely. Even if you’re going out with friends, you might get separated at some point, so having a backup plan is essential. If you can, alert other people to your plans throughout the night, even if it's only by sending a quick text.

As any seasoned traveler will tell you, never separate yourself from your keys. You may think they’re safe in your jacket pocket or purse, but during the hustle and bustle of the evening, you might lose either due to intoxicated forgetfulness or thieving revelers. Keep them in your pockets or risk sleeping on your doorstep.

Many cab companies offer free rides home on NYE, so check around in your area to see what companies offer the service and program the numbers into your phone.

If you’re staying at a hotel, take a picture of your room number and set it as your phone background. Also drop a pin on your phone’s map. This will come in handy in finding where you’re supposed to land hours after the ball drops. (First make sure your phone is password-protected!)

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Keep Yourself and Your Friends Safe

If anyone knows how to get a team home safely, it's soldiers. Here are the U.S. Amy’s official New Year’s safety tips:

  • Designate a driver.
  • Be alert of your surroundings.
  • Don’t drive.
  • Stick together.
  • Monitor your alcohol intake.
  • Be extra careful with fireworks (and don’t forget about your pets).
  • Be careful with open flames.

Know When the Party's Over

New Year's Eve revelry, like all good things, must come to an end. If you marked the year's end by overindulging, treat yourself to a couple of alcohol-free days, and give your body a chance to recover. Frequently consuming too much alcohol can have serious health consequences. If you're concerned about the amount you're drinking or are unable to control cravings, talk to a loved one or a doctor, or find a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

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