By now you’d think we’ve learned. A little sip of bubbly or drinking that sugary cocktail can lead to a pounding headache, nauseous stomach, and fatigue the next day. Are you feeling the effects from your fun night out? Here are some prevention tips to try first and at least give yourself a fighting shot at waking up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. But, if those fail, we’ve also got six remedies to help you.
First, before you go out…
- Make sure you drink plenty of water. Alcohol is a diuretic and strips your body of key electrolytes. Boosting your water intake before and while you are out will help curb the effects of a few cocktails the next day.
- Eat a good meal. Nothing good can come of drinking alcohol on an empty stomach.
- Choose your drinks wisely. Certain alcohols have a higher concentration of congeners, which are impurities formed during fermentation that are known to lead to a headache the following day. This includes liquors like whiskey, tequila, and brandy.
- Consider taking activated charcoal. The supplement possibly helps your body speed up the elimination of toxins that come from alcohol.
Did you still wake up with a hangover? Try these remedies, in this order:
1. Stay Hydrated
Now is the time to replenish your fluids and flush out those toxins. Drink a few glasses of water, but don’t overdo it or you will feel worse. You can also hydrate with Gatorade, coconut water, and some even swear by Pedialyte.
2. Try Caffeine
You probably feel tired, so once you’ve hydrated try some caffeine. Coffee, tea, or even Mexican Coke can do the trick (apparently the bubbles help). In fact, caffeine helps absorb medication, so down some joe with that Ibuprophen and it will work 40 percent better to treat that pounding headache.
3. Eat Wisely
Your stomach may protest, but you should really have something to eat. If nothing else, have a banana, which replenishes your potassium, or toast. If you really want to go for it, one winning combination is bacon and eggs (bacon and eggs contain hangover-fighting amino acids). An even better bet though is pho, ramen, or chicken soup, as the bone broth adds a perfect ratio of protein and hydration. Plus, there is something nostalgic about having soup when you feel down that makes everything right.
4. Get Some Fresh Air
If you still feel under the weather, get outside. Fresh air always helps, and exercise, even a brisk walk or bike ride, helps your body get back in its regular rhythm. If you feel up for it, a good sweat will help you purge last night’s toxins too.
Get some rest. Alcohol consumption affects your sleep by preventing the release of melatonin, a hormone that your brain releases when it’s time for sleep. This means you didn’t get a full night’s rest. A power nap can do wonders for that headache and your general well-being.
6. If All Else Fails, Try a “Hair of the Dog”
While we don’t promote over-drinking, enjoying a post-night-out beverage is a widely promoted hangover cure. Most enjoy a Bloody Mary, which contains vegetable juice and vodka, which is low in congeners. Have one topped with bacon, cheese, a pickle, and olives, and you’ll get your snack in too. If you want to make one at home, here’s the perfect Bloody Mary recipe to try.
Macaire Douglas lives in Chicago with her husband and two sons. She proudly supports Share Our Spare, a local nonprofit that collects goods for children in need.