Each Sunday morning, the dehydrated, gummy masses roll over in bed, sunlight stabbing through their eyes, and wish for someone to invent a hangover prevention app already. At last, friends, such torment may be at an end. Enter Hydrate Now, a free iPhone app that sends a barrage of push notifications reminding you, the drinker extraordinaire loudly proclaiming that hangovers are a problem for Future You, to drink water. Or juice. Or anything other than alcohol, really.
Let's get this out of the way first. Technically, not drinking is the only surefire way to avoid a hangover. (Womp, womp.) Aside from that, most health professionals recommend eating a full meal beforehand and, crucially, alternating between alcohol and water while you're drinking. Hangovers are caused by a variety of factors, including sleep deprivation and early-morning blood sugar acrobatics, but the primary culprit — the reason your head pounds and your mouth tastes like a family of mice took up residence inside — is dehydration. Although it's a liquid, alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it makes you pee more. You might not feel thirsty at the time, but after a couple drinks, you're losing fluids faster than you're replacing them.
That's why it's so important to drink water when you're drinking; otherwise, you may end up feeling like a twice-reanimated corpse the next morning when all that dehydration catches up to you.
It's one thing, of course, to know this on an intellectual, sober level. Putting it into practice when you're half a bottle of wine in is an entirely different story. Canadian developer Jacob Catalano recognizes this "classic catch-22 situation," which is why he developed Hydrate Now out of the goodness of his own heart. As the app's description succinctly puts it, "Drinking is great but hangovers suck."
So how does this glorious app work? Basically, it sends you a ridiculous amount of push notifications to annoy you into drinking water. Before your night begins, decide how much water you need to drink to avoid feeling like death the next morning. (Unlike some hydration apps, Hydrate Now doesn't choose for you.) Once you've entered that information, you're prompted to pick the frequency of the notifications, which range from every five minutes to every 100 depending on how hard you plan on going. Once you find a horizontal surface to spend the night, you can silence the notifications by logging back into the app and tapping on the home screen.
Catalano told Cosmopolitan that he realizes plenty of hydration apps already exist, but he wanted to focus specifically on hangover prevention. "I figured the best way to do that would be by sending an almost annoying amount of provocative push notifications that remind you to drink water," he told the website.
Pretty genius, right? There's always the possibility your tipsy self will ignore the notifications, but this is clearly a man who understands human nature. Nothing forces you to do something like irritating phone reminders.
If the app is something you're interested in — which most twentysomethings probably are — you can head over to the App Store to download it. At the moment, it's only available to iPhone users, and you have to be at least 17 years old to download it. But if you fit that criteria, your life may be totally changed. Think of all the free time you'll have on Sunday mornings now that you're not spending them laying in bed, eating cold Chinese food. Who knows? Maybe you'll even take up yoga or something. A sober, hydrated world is full of possibility.
Or maybe you'll lay in bed eating Chinese food on Sunday mornings anyway, but at least you'll be doing it on purpose.