A severe hangover can cause headaches, upset stomach, dizziness, fatigue, and malaise. If you feel this bad, you want to get rid of it—fast. Although there is no single cure for hangovers, and none that promises a quick fix, applying a combination of water, food, and sleep can help you feel better. If you take steps to prevent a hangover in the first place as well as prepare by having the right supplies on hand if you do wake up with one, you may certainly get better faster than people who don’t think ahead.
Method One of Three:
Recovering From a HangoverEdit
1Stay hydrated. Get the water flowing as soon as you wake up. This may help push toxins leftover from excess alcohol out of your system, but the main goal of hydration after a night of drinking is to save you from getting dehydrated. While experts don’t know for sure what causes hangovers, most people agree it has a lot to do with not having enough fluids in your body. Doctors recommend that you drink eight 8 oz glasses of water a day. You may have to drink more than this in order to get your fluids back in balance. One trick is that sports drinks are a good source of electrolytes and fluids and these drinks may help you stay hydrated.
2Eat to reduce nausea. Nausea plays a big role in morning-after misery. There are things you can eat to quell your upset stomach. Brew some ginger tea—which calms down your stomach—while you prepare some other helpful dishes. Bananas, tomatoes, and artichokes are all on the list for calming down feelings of nausea.
- Bananas prompt your stomach to produce more mucus, thickening the stomach’s mucus barrier against gastric acids that cause heartburn and an upset feeling. If you are having heartburn after drinking try a proton pump inhibitor or H2 blocker to alleviate the discomfort with the acid. Take this with water or a sports drink.
- Tomatoes provide simple sugars which keep you from losing blood sugar while your liver works to metabolize the alcohol.
- Artichokes have been shown to relieve nausea and lower bloating.
- A virgin Bloody Mary (called a Virgin Mary), for example, contains tomato juice, lime juice, salt, and hot sauce, a combination that revs your metabolism, restores blood sugars and electrolytes, and provides Vitamin C.
3Eat to move toxicity out of your system. A food that assists your liver in metabolizing toxicity is asparagus, which is full of amino acids and needed minerals. It works by actually reducing the toxicity of cells in the liver. It is also a diuretic, which means it stimulates the flow of urine, quickly washing away toxins as your liver cleanses your body.
4Eat to restore blood sugar. Another way to use food to reduce symptoms of a hangover is to eat light, easy-to-digest foods like crackers, and lean protein/low fat things like egg whites or plain Greek yogurt. Food is important for restoring blood sugars so that your body’s processes can return to normal. Try a sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade to help restore blood sugar and replace electrolytes and fluid levels.
5Boost your metabolism with yoga and coconut water. Revving your metabolism helps your body to burn leftover toxins from alcohol more quickly. Light exercise like yoga is enough to increase circulation and heart rate without making you sweat (which further dehydrates you). Coconut water is low in sugar and restores electrolytes.
6Take an NSAID pain reliever for headaches. Headaches are a common part of hangovers. To minimize your headache, it is permissible to take over-the-counter headache medications like ibuprofen and aspirin—otherwise known as NSAIDs. You can also practice holistic remedies to calm a pounding head.
- Avoid acetaminophen (most commonly found in Tylenol) as this drug combined with alcohol can cause liver damage.
- At-home remedies for headaches include herbal tea (like ginger root and butterbur) and massage.
7Sleep it off. There’s no proof that going back to sleep when you wake up with a hangover makes it go away, but sleep is important for our nervous systems to function properly. Lack of sleep can lead to memory and concentration loss. Sleeping in can help your body relax and heal itself, possibly leading to reduction in hangover symptoms. If you choose to sleep if off make sure you get up and get some fluid in you and take some medication like NSIAD’S for pain relief and headache.Advertisement
Method Two of Three:
Avoiding Things That Don’t HelpEdit
1Avoid a greasy breakfast. College drinkers like to say that a heavy, fat-filled breakfast will soak up unwanted toxins and add needed sugars into your depleted system. While pretty much any food does deliver sugar to the bloodstream, doctors say that heavy food will only contribute to heartburn and stomach upset, something you are working to get away from with a hangover.
- Instead, look for low-fat foods to restore blood sugar, like crackers and cereal.
2Stay away from more alcohol. The famous “hair of the dog” treatment for hangovers is actually a very bad idea. This solution swears that drinking more alcohol the next morning will keep you from feeling sick. While this does continue your alcoholic buzz, it actually makes the headache when you do stop drinking even worse.
3Be cautious about Alka-Seltzer. Many people swear by the fizzy antacid known as Alka-Seltzer, but ultimately this remedy may irritate your stomach more than it relieves nausea symptoms. The active ingredient sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda, neutralizes stomach acid, yes, but other ingredients like citric acid can irritate your stomach at the same time.
4Avoid acetaminophen and hangover pills. Keep in mind that some pills promising to help with headaches and hangovers do more damage than good. Tylenol (made of acetaminophen) can cause liver damage when paired with alcohol. Most pills on the market claiming to relieve hangovers have been proven to be completely ineffective, so save your money.
5Stay away from coffee. Although many people like the idea of turning to coffee for a quick pick-me-up when they are feeling groggy from a hangover, the truth is that coffee can contribute to dehydration and cause headaches. It can also contribute to stomach problems.
6Avoid a sauna or steam room. Since alcohol metabolizes in your system in about an hour, purposefully inducing sweat the next day does nothing but make you more dehydrated. Going to a sauna can actually be dangerous, especially if you haven’t had much water to drink since you woke up with the hangover.
- Even though sweat does wash toxins out of your body, by the time you get to a sauna, few toxins from alcohol exist in your blood, making a sauna an ineffective solution for hangovers.
Method Three of Three:
Preparing for a HangoverEdit
1Eat a full meal before going out. Since the fastest way to recover from a hangover is to avoid one in the first place, start by eating well before you start drinking. This will reduce the impact that the alcohol has on your body because the food that is digesting will slow the alcohol’s absorption. Good choices of food to eat before hand include bread, milk, cheese, and meat. These will be digested slowly and are high in protein.
2Take a nap before drinking. Since most people get a poor night’s sleep after drinking too much, getting ahead of this and making sure you feel refreshed before drinking will reduce the impact that a bad night’s sleep will have on your body. If you know that you are going out this weekend you may want to sleep more during the week to stay rested.
3Alternate drinks with water. In an effort to keep your body’s hydration on par with the dehydration effects of alcohol, order a glass of water with every beverage. Drinking a water after each beer, for example, will prevent you from being dehydrated, potentially reducing the symptoms of a hangover the next day.
4Drink alcohol only once per hour. It typically takes your body 60 to 75 minutes to metabolize an alcoholic beverage, so allowing your body to recover from one before consuming the next is a good way to prevent a hangover. Slow drinking also prevents your blood alcohol from rising too quickly.
5Drink a lot of water after you get home. To prevent any ill effects of dehydration, finish your night with a few extra glasses of water. To remind yourself to do this (since, if you are drunk, you probably won’t be thinking about water), set out a glass of water on the kitchen counter or next to your bed. Some people might even set out their NSAID too.
- If you think you’ll be spending the night somewhere else, set a reminder alarm on your phone.
Can you drink milk when you have a hangover?Answered by Chris M. Matsko, M.D.
- Sure. You can drink any liquid to help you rehydrate. It is recommended that you drink a sports drink to help replenish electrolytes, and you might have to take NSAIDs for the discomfort. Sleeping it off is always an option if time allows, but remember to rehydrate — the problem is dehydration.
- Time, rest, calories, and water are the best treatments for hangovers.
- Everyone is different, and our bodies all recover at different rates. Doing what you can to prevent a hangover is always the best solution, but planning for one by drinking extra water and having the right foods on hand for the next day can help you recover as fast as possible. Don’t be discouraged when you don’t recover as fast as you want.
Things You'll NeedEdit
- Simple food: crackers/toast, bananas, tomato juice, ginger, asparagus, artichokes, lean protein (Greek yogurt, egg whites)
- Light exercise
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