A wicked hangover can feel like death; maybe even worse. The pounding headache, the gut-wrenching body-shakes, not to mention the sweat and nausea. No one is happy when they’re hungover. It’s against the natural laws of our world. For centuries, people have pursued hangover cures. From home-remedies, to age-old myths whispered from drinker to drinker, there have been an infinite number of ‘sure-fire’ ways to help with hangover recovery. That being said, there are really only a few hangover remedies that have any proven merit to back them up.
If you find yourself on the floor of your friends living room, the couch of a relative, or even crumpled onto your own bed, after a long night of partying, you may find yourself in need of some hangover relief.
Hydration and electrolytes
The first step to hangover recovery is rehydrating. Consuming alcohol dehydrates the body through a number of different ways. Firstly, it promotes urination which can lead to a loss of fluids and electrolytes. Going beyond moderate drinking though, overdoing it with alcohol can lead to vomiting and sweating, which only worsen the state of dehydration. Drinking water following a night of consuming alcohol is vital. Honestly, drinking water before going to bed, and all throughout the next day is a good habit to get into.
Water is a good start, but it doesn’t replenish any of those helpful electrolytes our body relies on. This is why some juice, or an electrolyte-based drink can be a life saver. There are a variety of electrolyte based sports drinks on the market like Gatorade, but for a true electrolyte-boost, there are condensed electrolyte beverages designed specifically to replenish electrolytes and boost rehydration.
Getting liquids back into the system during a hangover is vital to feeling better. Even in the context of nausea, a few sips go a long way.
Eating a hearty breakfast
Ever hear that saying, ‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day’? Well when it comes to hangovers, no saying has ever been more true. There are a few reasons that eating a hearty breakfast in the wake of a party-night is so beneficial for us humans.
Low-blood sugar can often occur after a night of drinking. This is the result of the drinking itself, but can also be worsened in the instance that those consuming alcohol forget to eat anything. As such, blood-sugar levels drop, and heighten the severity of other hangover symptoms. Eating a hearty breakfast that includes some form of carbs is a good way to balance out blood-sugar levels, and will have you feeling like yourself before lunchtime. Finally, besides helping you reach a more stable level of blood-sugar, eating a healthy breakfast can replenish and restore other nutritional minerals and vitamins on which our bodies thrive.
Good items to include in a hangover-recovery breakfast are eggs, yogurt, fruits, nuts, oats, and other whole grains. Anything that is nutritious, hearty, and promotes healthy digestion.
Anything but Tylenol
Painkillers can be extremely helpful when it comes to hangover recovery. They can help reduce headaches and body aches, and they can help with other hangover symptoms as well. However, there are some caveats of which to be aware before relying on an over the counter pain medication to relieve you from your hangover.
If you’re experiencing significant stomach-pains or nausea, a pain-killer could actually irritate your stomach and digestive system and end up worsening your symptoms. Furthermore, Tylenol specifically contains acetaminophen, which when combined with alcohol in the human body can result in amplified liver damage. As such, any painkiller with acetaminophen should be avoided when consuming or recovering from alcohol.
There is nothing, truly nothing, that does more good for a hangover than sleep. Sleep is often the unsung hero in our world. Many of us don’t even get enough sleep in any given week, let alone after a night of drinking booze. This is partially because excessive consumption of alcohol can actually interrupt sleep patterns and make any rest you do get, unproductive.
That’s why it is essential to make the time for an adequate amount of sleep and rest both that night, and the next day. Afterall, there’s nothing wrong with a little hangover-nap, and it is honestly the best cure for a hangover, no matter how severe.
Last words on hangover recovery
No matter how it’s spun, a hangover is awful. While most of us do our best to avoid hangovers entirely, it isn’t always possible to get through a night of drinking without waking up and feeling it on the other side.
By getting yourself rehydrated and your electrolytes replenished, leveling out your blood-sugar with a hearty breakfast, and making time for plenty of sleep, you can bounce back from your hangover without missing a beat.
Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.