A hangover is a set of unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms someone experiences after drinking too many alcoholic beverages. This can include headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, rapid heartbeat, sensitivity to light and sound, anxiety, and irritability. Most hangovers go away on their own after 24 hours, but you may not feel like you can make it through the day. You can survive a hangover by restoring nutrient balances in your body and relieving your discomfort.
Part One of Three:
Restoring Nutrient BalancesEdit
1Rehydrate your body. Drinking too much can dehydrate you by making you urinate more. Drinking plenty of water and other liquids throughout the day may help ease the symptoms of a hangover. Even if it is difficult to drink something, just a few sips of water or another liquid can help you.
- Keep a water bottle with you and sip from it during the day. You can also drink 100% fruit juice, which may also help stabilize your blood sugar.
- Consider a sports drink with electrolytes. A sports drink can help rehydrate you and stabilize blood sugar. It may also taste better than plain water.
- Try having a carbonated beverage such as lemon-lime soda, which may help stabilize blood sugar and soothe your stomach.
2Drink caffeine with caution. Caffeine doesn’t necessarily have any anti-hangover properties, but it may help with any grogginess you feel. This can be helpful if you need to go to class or work. You should be careful to not drink too many caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and soda. These can make you urinate more often, which may make your hangover symptoms worse.
3Boost your blood sugar with carbohydrates. Drinking can lower your blood sugar, which may cause fatigue and headaches. Having some simple carbohydrates such as toast can boost your blood sugar and help you feel better.
4Replace lost salt and potassium. You can lose a lot of sodium and potassium when you drink. Having foods with either of these nutrients can help replace them and relieve your hangover symptoms.
5Scramble some eggs for protein. Eggs are packed with protein and cysteine, which can help mop out toxins in your body. They are also gentle on your stomach and easy to digest. Make yourself an egg or two to help relieve hangover symptoms and rebalance your nutrient levels.Advertisement
Part Two of Three:
Relieving Your DiscomfortEdit
1Take a pain reliever. Headaches and achiness are common symptoms of a hangover. If your head is pounding after a night of drinking, take a pain reliever to ease the discomfort.
- Follow the dosing instructions on your chosen over the counter pain reliever. Don’t take more than recommended, which may upset your stomach even more.
- Taking ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen sodium may be the best choices to relieve your headache. Be aware that they may irritate your stomach. You can reduce irritation by taking these medications at the end of a full meal or with an antacid. You should also limit or avoid consuming any alcohol.
- Avoid acetaminophen such as Tylenol. It may cause severe liver damage, even if taken in safe doses.
2Dim the lights and sound. Hangovers can make you sensitive to light and sound. Dimming the lights in your room, home, or office can help relieve a headache and may make you more comfortable as you rest. Turn down any devices or electronics in your general area. You may even want to retreat to a library or your office to avoid too much noise.
3Rest as much as possible. Alcohol can disrupt your normal sleep cycles, making you feel more tired and exacerbating hangover symptoms. Even if you are feeling good the morning after heavy drinking, the effects of alcohol can reduce your ability to perform. Rest or sleep as much as you can to help restore your body to normal. Sleeping long enough may even help you wake up without the hangover.
- Go back to sleep in the morning if you are able. If you wake up, take a few sips of water, juice, or bouillon to rehydrate and get nutrients.
- Take strategic naps during the day may also help you get some extra rest and relieve your discomfort. For example, you could take a nap in your office or snooze on the grass at a local park instead of taking a full lunch break.
4Avoid the “hair of the dog.” Some people may continue to drink alcohol to ease the symptoms of a hangover. This is called the “hair of the dog,” which is a notion that a drink or two will ease your withdrawal and hangover. However, this will not help you survive your hangover. Instead, it keeps the cycle of drinking going and doesn’t allow you to recover.
5Seek medical attention. If your hangover symptoms don’t go away or are especially severe, see your doctor as soon as you can. You should seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Slow breathing of less than 8 breaths a minute
- Irregular breathing with a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths
- Pale or blue-tinged skin
- Hypothermia, or low body temperature
Part Three of Three:
Preventing a HangoverEdit
1Eat before you drink. There is no guaranteed way to prevent a hangover except avoiding alcohol. But you can minimize your risk of getting one. Having a full stomach when you start drinking can reduce how quickly alcohol is absorbed by your system. Eat a meal or have a snack before you start drinking to help prevent a hangover.
- Aim to eat foods high in protein such as tofu or cheese, which may slow the absorption of alcohol more effectively because they take longer to digest.
2Pace yourself. If you’re drinking, it can be very tempting to order another drink as soon as you’re finished with one. But this can set you up to drink more alcohol then you expected or want. Limiting yourself to one drink or less per hour can reduce your risk of getting a hangover.
- Drink in moderation. Keep in mind that the recommended amounts are one drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. One drink is equal to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of 80-proof liquor.
3Alternate alcohol and water. One way to pace yourself is to have one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume. This can help keep you hydrated and drink less alcohol.
4Choose your drinks wisely. Alcohol contains chemicals called congeners, which are a by-product of fermentation process. Alcoholic beverages that are high in congeners can make a hangover worse. Light colored drinks including vodka have less of these chemicals than darker beverages such as bourbon.
- Choose clear liquors such as vodka and gin. White wine and light beers such as pale ale are also lower in congeners.
- Limit or avoid from darker liquors including brandy, whiskey, bourbon, dark beers and red wines. These can make you more prone to a bad hangover.
5Use pain relievers with caution. Some people take over-the-counter pain relievers before they start drinking to prevent hangover symptoms. You should do this with caution and speak to your doctor to ensure it’s safe for you. Pain relievers may interact with other medications and acetaminophen may cause liver damage if you drink too much alcohol.Advertisement