There are few things in life that feel worse than waking up with a hangover. The combination of physical pain, nausea and self-loathing from taking it a little too far on the drinking last night can make for a miserable and unproductive day ahead.
Hangovers are extremely common. One way we know this is because no matter how many times you’ve told yourself, “I’m never drinking again,” here you are, at the mercy of last night’s spirits begging for a cure. Luckily for you, humans have been affected by hangovers for over 10,000 years, and within that time, some pretty effective ways to get rid of said hangovers have emerged.
We’ve scoured the internet and conducted some of our own market research (responsibly, of course) to bring you the best remedies to cure your hangover fast.
The first thing you should do when waking up with a hangover is drink lots of water. Alcohol consumption leads to an increase in urine production and therefore, a higher loss of bodily fluids. This can leave you feeling dehydrated, especially if you happened to vomit as a result of your over-indulgence.
While water might be the easiest thing to keep down, you’ll also want to restore electrolytes, which aid in regulating bodily functions. Electrolytes can be found in sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade as well as Pedialyte – a product whose company fully embraces that they’re not just for sick kids anymore.
Eating foods with high water content like watermelon or pineapple can also help but shouldn’t be your main source of hydration.
For future reference, it’s best to hydrate while you’re drinking and before you go to bed, but we understand it might be a little too late for that.
Depending on your condition, eating might be the last thing on your mind. But when you’re recovering from a hangover, it’s important to restore the nutrients your body has lost by eating the right foods.
You might be craving greasy, fatty foods like a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. While that might give you initial relief, foods that are high in saturated fats can actually make your hangover worse in the long run. Try and stick to foods that are high in protein, potassium or magnesium. Foods high in antioxidants can also help you refuel. Here’s a list of foods and beverages that are generally good to consume while you’re hungover:
Eating a healthy breakfast can also help you maintain your blood sugar levels and give you the energy to recover more quickly.
A common symptom of a hangover is sensitivity to light. So, an easy way to help your hangover go away is to avoid bright lights. Stay in a dark room, close the blinds and avoid too much screen time. Blue light from your phone or other devices can actually make your headache worse.
Don’t be afraid to cancel plans, take a nap and generally lay low. Taking care of yourself can help reduce the time that your hangover lasts. You weren’t very nice to your body last night, it it’s time to pay some respect.
As tempted as you are to skip this one, you should keep reading. Sure, taking a cold shower sounds the opposite of appealing right now, but it can actually help speed up your recovery and make you feel better almost instantly. The cold water from a shower can help raise your heart rate and increase circulation in your body. This means your body will work faster to get rid of toxins and help you get back to your normal, healthy state.
Depending on your location (and the season), you can get the same effect by jumping into a cold pool or taking a swim in the ocean.
Aside from waking your body up and getting the blood flowing, bathing will just make you feel cleaner in general, which we all know you need right now.
If there were a magic hangover pill, we’d know about it by now. The reality is that depending on your age, body type or symptoms and severity of your hangover, you might need different medication to help you feel better. If you do opt for over-the-counter medications, it’s important to know what is and isn’t safe to take while you’re suffering from a hangover, especially since some can make your symptoms worse or even pose health risks.
If you have an upset stomach or heartburn, then antacids like Alka-Seltzer or Pepto-Bismol may help relieve those symptoms as well as help reduce nausea or indigestion. For these, and any medications you take, it’s best not to take them on an empty stomach.
If you are feeling achy or have a headache, then OTC medications like Aspirin, Ibuprofen and Naproxen can help. These medications can help reduce any inflammation that is happening in your body. Again, it’s best not to take these on an empty stomach and be sure to follow dosage recommendations carefully. If you don’t, taking these medications can actually make your hangover worse or pose other health risks like stomach ulcers. Let’s face it, you’ve got enough to deal with right now.
One thing you definitely want to avoid when hungover is any medication with acetaminophen, such as Tylenol. Taking acetaminophen in this state can actually have a toxic effect on your body and in extreme cases, can cause liver damage.
While essential oils may not cure your hangover, they can certainly help alleviate the symptoms you’re experiencing. The added bonus is that this is a natural remedy without the side effects (except if you have any allergies, of course). Here are some popular essential oils that you can diffuse during a hangover and what they can help with.
Another natural remedy to help ease your hangover symptoms is CBD oil. CBD can help with pain relief and also helps with inflammation. It’s also rich in antioxidants, which can help your body replenish lost nutrients and recovery faster.
Some people claim that CBD can also help relieve nausea, which is why it’s often used for cancer patients.
Depending on the state you’re in, exercise might be off the table. But if you’re feeling up for it, a light workout can actually help your hangover. Exercising comes with many benefits, but if you’re suffering from a hangover, there are two important ones to consider. First, physical activity releases certain hormones that help boost your mood and energy. Secondly, sweating during a workout can help you get rid of toxins that are currently making you feel icky. Psychologically, it can also make you feel like you’ve accomplished something during a day that otherwise can feel unproductive.
One very important thing to keep in mind if you choose exercise is to stay hydrated. Dehydration is a common symptom of a hangover and working out can make it worse. Be sure to take it easy, listen to your body and drink plenty of water.
While newer to the market, a hangover supplement is another option to help alleviate those dreaded hangover symptoms. Hangover supplements are usually packed with vitamins and antioxidants to help your body recover quickly. They are available in capsules, liquid shots or patches.
Here are some of the more popular supplements with positive customer reviews:
If you’re trying to cure a hangover, you’ll generally want to stay away from alcohol – the substance that’s making you feel this way in the first place. However, there is some historical evidence that shows having a drink the morning you wake up with a hangover can help reduce your symptoms. The logic? A hangover is a form of alcohol withdrawal, so having a drink that can help with the withdrawal your body is going through.
It goes without saying that you’ll want to be very cautious with this remedy. It’s easy to get into a vicious cycle of feeling slightly relieved, but never really curing your hangover.
If your hangover lasts more than 24 hours or worsens to a point of concern, it’s best to seek medical advice. Better to be safe than sorry.
As far as hangover remedies go, we’ll leave you with this excerpt from Time’s A Brief History of Hangovers. Just be glad you don’t live in a time where eating pickled sheep’s eyes was a thing…
“European doctors in the Middle Ages recommended raw eel and bitter almonds. Mongolians ate pickled sheep’s eyes, while China went with a more palatable dose of green tea. Germans still eat Katerfruhstuck, a postbinge breakfast that usually consists of herring, pickles and goulash. Russians don’t eat anything at all; they jump in a sauna and sweat it all out, sometimes flagellating themselves with birch branches to aid blood flow.”
A hangover is your body’s way of telling you that you’ve over-indulged. It’s a form of alcohol withdrawal that can last anywhere from a couple of hours or more than 24 hours.
Your body will start to show signs of a hangover after your blood alcohol levels start to fall. In other words, your body is having a hard time replenishing the nutrients that were depleted during alcohol consumption and certain unpleasant symptoms start to trigger.
Alcohol, especially drinking in excess, can also have an impact on your sleep quality. It can disrupt your hormones and therefore throw off your normal sleep schedule. Waking up with a hangover can also be a result of poor sleep the night before.
Hangovers can affect anyone, although they can affect people very differently. The severity of your hangover symptoms can depend on factors like:
Common symptoms of a hangover include:
Hangovers are no fun. They take a lot out of you, and make you feel gross. If you’re suffering from a hangover right now, it’s obviously a little too late for preventative measures, but it might be the best time to let these tips sink in for next time.
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