A few drinks, OK, maybe more than a few, and there is a strong possibility you’ll regret it the next morning. The head feels swollen, the eyes grow dim, and the battle of the Alamo seems to be raging in the stomach. Not to mention drowsiness and general nausea.
To some, these symptoms are all too familiar. The first question that pops into the mind is how to cure a hangover? There are a few things that one can do to get out of this self-inflicted condition. But before you get to the best tips and tricks for getting rid of hangover, it makes sense to take a closer look at the condition itself.
By definition, a hangover is a group of symptoms that appear as a result of recent binge drinking. The telltale signs include but may not be limited to sickness, disorientation, headache, and sleepiness. Contrary to popular belief, a hangover can appear at any time, not just the morning after heavy drinking.
The psychological symptoms might even be worse than the physical ones. People often feel embarrassed, shameful, and even temporarily depressed. The intensity of physical and psychological symptoms is linked to the amount of alcohol consumed. However, it is nearly impossible to determine the safe amount since a lot of individual factors are at play.
For example, fatigue, hunger, and poor hydration can make the hangover worse. This is also the case if you didn’t get enough sleep after a weekend of bar-hopping.
How to Cure a Hangover?
Unfortunately, there is not a single cure that can shake off the hangover. It is recommended to sleep and rest a lot and to rehydrate in order to feel better.
Since there’s no such thing as a magic hangover pill, check out some of the most effective methods to save yourself from a hangover:
Alcohol is a potent diuretic by itself, which leads to increased urination. This causes you to lose the electrolytes and fluids that are necessary for normal bodily functions. Vomiting can only make things worse.
Water, on the other hand, is probably the best fluid for keeping hydrated. It is recommended to chase every alcoholic drink with a glass of water. In addition, one should drink ample amounts of water on the day of the hangover to alleviate the symptoms.
Tea and black coffee are other fluids that might help as well. They don’t have any particular anti-hangover properties but generally help when one feels groggy. Coffee is a relatively powerful diuretic, so it can speed up the dehydration process.
So far, the research has been limited but some supplements are known to improve hangover and they include:
According to a 2004 study, prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) extract may cut hangover intensity by 50%.
Hangover symptoms can be treated with a palatable mix of brown sugar, tangerine extract, and ginger. The cocktail might feel too overpowering to chug down the next morning, but this folk remedy is known to help.
Based on a 2012 study, a supplement which contains a combination of starflower seed oil, borage oil, and prickly pear markedly reduces hangover symptoms.
Eat a Hearty Breakfast
As nausea is one of the main signs of hangover, even thinking about food might make one feel like vomiting. However, eating a fatty and carb-rich breakfast is one of the best ways to get rid of the symptoms.
The nausea is often caused by low blood sugar level in the morning. Eating a hearty breakfast fixes the problem and may improve other alcohol-induced metabolic changes. For example, it’s known to thwart acid buildup (metabolic acidosis) in the body which can be one of the causes of fatigue and vomiting.
What’s more, a good breakfast helps you replenished some of the minerals and vitamins lost due to excessive alcohol intake.
Hair of the Dog
You may have heard this before. There’s a saying that you can drink more to recover from a hangover. This potion is known as hair of the dog.
Unfortunately, there isn’t any scientific evidence that supports this. But alcohol is a painkiller, so that may help with the hangover.
Other Things That Can Help
NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and aspirin can aid with the headache and the feeling of soreness overall. You may even consider taking a pill that very night before going to bed to lessen the symptoms in the morning.
However, NSAIDs may cause additional stomach irritation. On the other hand, other popular household pain reliever, Tylenol or acetaminophen, may expedite alcohol-induced toxicity in the liver. But taking vitamin B6 doesn’t come with any side effects.
According to a Harvard Medical School article, a study from more than 30 years ago concluded that vitamin B6 could reduce the symptoms of hangover. The participants were split into groups that took 1,200mg of the vitamin before, during, and immediately after getting drunk.
One for the Road
Hopefully, this write-up helped you get a more complete understanding of how to cure a hangover. But this doesn’t mean you should go binge drinking without a care. A hangover, severe or otherwise, is a sign that your body has been intoxicated, which affects your brain, liver, and metabolism.
So, the best way to treat hangover would be to prevent it from occurring. This doesn’t only mean that you need to drink moderately. You may also want to avoid drinking on an empty stomach and remember to drink enough water. Mineral water that is rich in magnesium is usually a good choice as it can help maintain your electrolytes.