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How to Treat a Hangover

From classic standbys to the downright weird, everything you need to know for the morning after.

Image via AWD News

It hits you like a ton of bricks. Before you’re even fully awake, you hear the alarms in your head going off “YOU DRANK TOO MUCH, YOU DRANK TOO MUCH, DO NOT OPEN YOUR EYES.” Thoughts of regret and shame come to mind, usually followed by a promise to never drink again (yeah, right). Once you get past the self-loathing, brain pounding, and stomach swirling, it seems your only mission in life is to find a way to feel better. Look no further, you are a now a student of Hangover Cures 101: covering prevention, common remedies and some gross ones as well.

Before Drinking

Let’s start with the things you should do before you start drinking, since prevention really is the best cure.

Meals

Make sure you have a hearty meal, consuming some fat is preferable. Try to pass on ingredients with strong odors, like garlic, since alcohol can cause gas (beer equals burps). 

Multivitamins

Next on the list is multivitamins. If you don’t do this already, then start now, because multivitamins work and are the most recommended item. Take 2 before you start drinking and another 2 the next day. Make sure you take them with some food, the last thing you need is added nausea from vitamins on an empty stomach.

Mix In Water

And let me be clear: the whole “drink water in between drinks” rule is not a myth and does help–a lot. Drink a glass before you start the night, a few in between drinks, and one before bed. Dehydration is half the hangover battle, so stop resisting and guzzle some H2O. It will help you sleep better which in turn will make you feel better. Lastly, try to stick to clear alcohol like vodka and gin since darker booze can lead to nastier hangovers. 

After Drinking

So, you've made it to the next day. Even if you followed some of the above recommendations, depending on how much you drank, there is a very good chance you will still feel like… death. Here are the most proven hangover cures.

Sleep

The first thing you should try to do if you can is to sleep more. Most people have a terrible night of sleep after boozing due to dehydration and alcohol withdrawal. If you have no plans, and the luxury of going back to bed, drink a glass of water or Gatorade and go back to sleep. You will feel much better the second time you wake up.

Hydrate

If you drank water throughout the night and before bed then you’re already ahead of the game. Continue with hydrating the next day with water, Gatorade, and believe it or not, Pedialyte. It is packed with electrolytes, minerals, and vitamins and is the second most recommended item on this list (multivitamins first!). Most people who follow this remedy also drink it before they go to bed to let it work its magic while they sleep. Take a shower and brush your teeth, too. It may feel like a daunting task at the time but washing away the grime, taste, and smell of last night can do wonders. Plus, the water will give you a jolt of energy which will at least wake you up a bit.

Step outside

Light exercise can help the body recover, and even if you're not up to working out, just getting outside can be beneficial too. A short walk or even a seat in a shady area will you give you a natural boost. The fresh air and sunshine will motivate your guilty conscience to get up and not miss a beautiful day. Do not forget to hydrate, especially if it’s warm outside, and definitely don’t forget your sunglasses or a hat to protect your eyes from direct sunlight.

Food

There is a great debate on this topic. Some swear by grease, while others say anything heavier then toast would absolutely kill them. Many require a bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel the next day in order to get moving. Whatever you choose, test the waters first, by which I mean that before you go and scarf down a cheeseburger, take a few bites and make sure your stomach can handle it.

Alka-Seltzer:

There is a reason Alka-Seltzer has been around for 82 years – because it works. The plop-plop fizz-fizz eases a queasy stomach while the aspirin gets started on the headache. However, the suggested use of popping aspirin after drinking is questionable.

Aspirin

Why wouldn’t you take 2 aspirin to help with the pain in your brain and achy feet from dancing all night? Well, some say it can add to the damage that you’ve already done to your liver. However, this only really applies to regular heavy drinkers who most likely already have liver and stomach damage. In that case, the aspirin could irritate the stomach and in severe cases cause bleeding but again, that's primarily for heavy drinkers, not once-a-weekend social drinkers.

What NOT to do

The hair of the dog–aka have a drink the next day–is a big fat myth. Sure, it may mask your symptoms–but that’s only because you’re probably buzzed again. Your body needs time to heal from drinking so opt for a non-alcoholic Bloody Mary instead.

Hail Mary Methods

As far as some original, some bizarre, and some plain ol’ nasty remedies, here are a few of the favorites:


  • Diet Coke

  • Coconut water

  • Alka-Seltzer with a protein shake

  • Antioxidant supplements before drinking

  • Monster Rehab Half & Half energy drink

  • Sub sandwiches

  • Cold damp washcloths applied to face and neck, while lying under a fan

  • Lemon slices rubbed over your forehead

  • Anything from McDonalds or Wawa.

  • A cold glass of beer topped with a cracked egg (yes, someone does do that).

  • Whole-wheat toast with honey


Drinking can be fun; hangovers - not so much. Some people swear by the classic remedies, while others make up their own to great success. Good luck finding whatever works for you...

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