The only real way to prevent a hangover is by watching your alcohol intake, but if you've already passed the point of no return then you'll need some sort of relief. Hangovers have been around since the invention of wine, so there are a lot of theories out there on how to rid yourself of one. If sleep isn't an option, try one of these aids to see what works best with your system. They work better than their myth-based counterparts and won't make you feel like hugging the toilet.
- Myth: painkillers. Taking painkillers either the night of drinking or the morning after can cause damage to your liver, among other serious health issues. Your body can only absorb approximately 1.5 ounces of hard liquor per hour (the equivalent to one beer or one glass of wine) and unless you stick to that drink-per-hour rate, you'll likely still have alcohol in your system upon waking up.
Fact: Alcohol depletes a number of vital minerals including potassium, vitamin B, and vitamin C. Try eating a banana, taking a B-complex vitamin, or drinking Emergen-C instead of taking pills like Tylenol or ibuprofen. If you really must take these, make sure you leave enough hours in between drinking and don't take them while experiencing abdominal pain or nausea, since they might irritate hangover symptoms further.
- Myth: hair of the dog. Although another drink the morning after a binge may seem like the road to recovery, it offers only temporary relief and prolongs the process.
Fact: Try water and electrolytes instead to fill your body with fluids that will balance out your system. Coconut water is a great source of rehydrating electrolytes and potassium, which can speed up relief. Pedialyte is also a great way to get electrolytes without the sugar found in sports drinks like Gatorade.
- Myth: cup of joe. Coffee will only dehydrate you further following a night of drinking.
Additionally, caffeine narrows your blood vessels and boosts blood pressure so this will make a hangover feel even worse.
Fact: Antioxidant-rich fruit juice is a much better alternative since it is nutritious and won't dehydrate you; also, while there is little evidence that supports the belief that the fructose in fruit juice will help your body metabolize alcohol faster, the natural sugar may help give you more much-needed energy. If you have a juicer, press your hangover away with this hangover juice recipe.
- Myth: greasy food. Greasy food coats the stomach lining to slow the absorption of alcohol, so it might help prevent a hangover if you eat a greasy dinner before a night of drinking, but it isn't proven to help the day after.
Fact: For a similar taste opt for eggs the next morning. Not only will the protein get you going, but eggs contain cysteine, the substance that breaks down hangover causing toxins. In other words, it will help you soak up that alcohol better than a bagel or piece of toast.
More myths and facts after the break.
If your night out has you muttering the words I'm never drinking again, try these tips to prevent future hangovers.