Chances are this summer you’re going to be drinking, which if you’re not careful can lead to that next day dreaded hangover. Here are some tested cures, or should I say ‘temporary fixes’ until nature can take its course.
First lets just start with, don’t get hammered. If you’re going to drink, drink in moderation. Know how many drinks you can consume without feeling horrible the following day.
What Is A Hangover?
A hangover is your body's way of telling you that even though you may have enjoyed the previous night, your body didn’t.
Several hours after consuming too much alcohol your body goes through a variety of physiological and psychological effects due to dehydration that causes headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth, upset stomach and anxiety. Depending on how much alcohol you consume and depending on how your body metabolizes it, hangovers can range from mild to severe and can last for a few hours to more than 24 hours.
There are no known “cures” to get rid of a hangover, but there are steps you can take to make them less severe (before you start drinking) and there are steps you can take to make them more tolerable the next day.
What You Drink Matters
Drink premium quality alcohol and don’t mix drinks
When you already have a buzz and can’t tell the difference between Patron and Montezuma Blue, it may seem tempting to order a bottom shelf liquor instead of premium quality in order to save a few bucks, but don’t do it. More expensive liquors go through a careful aging and distilling process and have natural ingredients, whereas lower quality liquors don’t go through the same process.
You know the old saying, “Beer before liquor makes you sicker,” but mixing drinks like beer, wine and hard liquor can make a hangover even worse in my opinion. Even though there is little scientific evidence to suggest this, I can say from personal experience that when I mix different types of liquors I pay for it the following morning.
Also, the type of alcohol you consume can have an affect on how you feel the following day. Clear drinks like vodka, gin and white rum tend to cause a less severe hangover because they contain less levels of congeners (extra substances added during the process of making alcohol) than darker drinks like bourbon, whiskey, dark rum and red wine.
The Dos and Don'ts
Eat a big meal before your night of drinking and try to snack while you're consuming alcohol. When you get home have something to eat before you go to bed. When you go right to sleep without eating, you’re going to wake up feeling even worse.
For me, I feel this makes a huge difference in how I feel the following morning. When I go right to sleep I wake up feeling much worse than when I go to sleep with something in my stomach. In the morning I love making turkey bacon, eggs, and whole wheat toast or a bagel.
Image: I Hart Nutrition
This is probably one of the most important tips I can give you. Drink water before, during, after and as soon as you wake up in the morning. The goal is to rehydrate your body, balance electrolytes and clear out the toxins. Of course, there are other drinks that you can drink to help speed up the hangover process and make you feel better like juice and sports drinks.
Limit Your Time In The Sun
While everyone loves a drink at the pool or the beach, Drinking + the sun = more dehydration. We already know that alcohol causes that, but when you add the sun it can become dangerous. If you decide to soak up the rays with a drink in your hand, drink plenty of water and limit the time spent outdoors.
Take A Shot
No, not another shot of alcohol, a shot of Wheatgrass. When you get home pour yourself a shot before heading to bed. Wheatgrass is a natural detoxifier, which hydrates and cleanses the body’s blood and water. It also helps to heal the intestines and delivers enzymes and antioxidants. Repeat in the morning.
Alcohol disrupts REM sleep which gives you a poor night's rest. You’ll fall asleep quickly but wake up early and extremely tired. If you have the option, take a nap at some point in the day, preferably before 2pm (so it won’t be hard to fall asleep later that night), and go to bed early to catch up on Zzzz’s.
Hair Of The Dog
A lot of people swear by waking up and making themselves another alcoholic drink or opening up a bottle of beer. That worked for me when I was in my early 20’s and woke up drunk and wanted to keep the party going. However, you’re trying to detoxify and heal your body, not add more poison to it. When you head out to brunch (if you can get out of bed), order a virgin Bloody Mary. Or have the ingredients in your fridge and make one in the morning. Here’s my favorite hangover Virgin Mary recipe.
When your head has developed a heartbeat of its own, instead of taking a pain reliever, dab some Tiger Balm on the back of your neck and massage on your temples. The menthol and clove oil will get your blood flowing to quickly relieve your headache.
No, I don’t mean head to the gym and lift weights. Once you wake up do some jumping jacks, go for a walk or do some yoga...get your body moving. Try some gentle positions like the the seated twist which can speed up the recovery process.
Blowfish is an FDA approved hangover helper and works by dropping the two fizzy tablets into your water. This is my go to hangover cure and I pass them out to friends when they stay the night. From when the drink starts to fizz to when I’m done sipping it, the hangover symptoms start to subside and I start to feel like myself again.
Take some vitamins or get a B12 shot
Alcohol is a diuretic which causes drinkers to use the restroom often, increasing the loss of water and tons of vitamins causing a deficiency. Taking a Vitamin B complex can help to prevent hangover symptoms. I have a friend who swears this is the only thing that works for her when she wants to prevent a hangover.
Another option is getting a more powerful dose of Vitamin B by getting a B12 shot. The benefit with doing this is all of the nutrients are utilized by the body and go directly to the bloodstream.
Everyone’s body is different so what may work for you may not work for someone else. The best way to prevent a hangover is to drink in moderation and to know your limit. There are no known hangover cures, meaning once you have a hangover the only way to get over it is time, but there are things you can do to make yourself more comfortable.
Disclaimer- I’m not a doctor. The tips listed here are things I’ve either tried over the years or learned while researching this article.