You’ve done it again, and once again, you have to live with the consequences after a night out on the town or at a party with friends. You had a few too many and feel as if your head is about to explode. Don’t let a binge ruin your weekend or your day back to work, but keep these hangover cures and prevention strategies handy for the next time you tie one on. Of course, it is always best to avoid drinking heavily in the first place, but if you’ve thrown caution to the wind and are paying the price, follow these tips for picking yourself up.
What to Drink
You’ve already had too much to drink, so you might be asking yourself why you should drink more. Even though the last thing you may want to do before going to bed after a night out is to drink another glass of something, it is important to drink plenty of water to prevent a hangover the next day. Alcohol is a diuretic which dehydrates the body. Ideally, you should order a glass of water with each alcoholic drink you consume, but if you forgot to do that, drink a glass of water for every beer you consumed before going to bed. This might keep you in the bathroom, but it will prevent nausea and a headache the next day.
Other drinks that help you out the day after are sports drinks and coffee. Sports drinks, such as Gatorade, contain minerals and salts the body loses when it sweats. Although the only workout you got at the bar was probably lifting pints of beer and downing shots, you are dehydrated and can use the extra nutrients and fluids. Try drinking sports drinks throughout the day to ease your hangover. Caffeine is also effective for any kind of a headache, so try a few cups of coffee, but don’t forget to drink water as well, because coffee is also a diuretic.
There are people who swear by the hair of the dog technique for killing a hangover. This involves drinking more alcohol the morning after to ease hangover system symptoms. You may notice people at a Sunday brunch drinking Bloody Marys or screwdrivers to wash down eggs and toast. You may also be attempted to have Irish coffee or Russian coffee to quash a morning hangover. The hair of the dog technique, however, may only delay the inevitable and can give you a larger headache later on. It can also get you in the habit of self-medicating and can foster alcohol dependency. If you have a family history of alcoholism, be careful of using the hair of the dog as a hangover cure.
What to Eat
You may not feel like eating anything and are incredibly nauseous one moment, and the next moment, be ravenously hungry and ready to head to your nearest greasy spoon to have fried eggs, bacon and hash browns. Nausea is a common symptom of hangovers, but drinking also deprives the body of nutrients and can prevent the absorption of some vitamins and minerals, that is why you experience hunger and nausea in turns. It makes sense when you’re hung over to eat what you crave, since your body is telling you what needs after a drinking bout. Many people crave carbohydrates and greasy foods. Even if you try to eat a low carb diet under ordinary circumstances, it is a good idea to indulge in complex carbohydrates such as toast when you’re hung over, because your liver is busy oxidizing the alcohol, and your blood sugar is low. Try an oily yet healthy pasta dish such as spaghetti with garlic and olive oil and broccoli spears.
You may not feel like grabbing your athletic shoes when your head is pounding, but going for a jog can be an effective way to relieve the pain of a hangover and help you start feeling like yourself again. When you get the circulation going, you open constricted vessels and relieve the pain. In addition, a jog or a game of tennis raises your metabolism so you can get the alcohol out of your system more quickly. Aerobic exercise encourages you to drink more water, so you will be more likely to consume the fluids you need to treat your hangover.
Understandably, many people take pain medication when they have a hangover. It is hard to get through your day with a headache, and pain medication can be a great help, but avoid the temptation to exceed the recommended dosage. As it is, your liver is trying to cope with the amount of alcohol you consumed the night before, and pain medication can put extra strain on the liver, so use with caution.
Take a multivitamin after consuming too much alcohol. If you are seriously hung over, it is likely that you skipped a meal while you were busy drinking. In addition, alcohol can block the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. It’s a good idea to take a multivitamin every day, but particularly on days, you feel hung over.
An Ounce of Prevention
A hangover causes many people to regret drinking too much and may be enough to inspire someone to amend their drinking habits. Your body can handle one drink per hour, so make sure on your next night out you drink at this rate. Also, order a glass of water for every alcohol beverage you drink. Avoid drinking without eating, but order something from the bar menu while you are enjoying alcoholic beverages. If you take steps prevent hangovers, your weekends will no longer be spoiled by one unwise binge, and you’ll have nothing to regret in the morning.