If anyone ever says to you the “best cure for a hangover is to not drink” you have the permission of the Irritated Alcohol Council to shove them face-first into a bucket of jungle juice until they stop thrashing. Point of fact, the best hangover cure is not to avoid booze, because then you end up having a boring night talking Simpsons trivia with some Designated Driver who’s never had a gin fizz in his whole sad little existence. Though, there is a nugget of an idea there, which is that the best hangover cure does prevent the hangover from ever happening, so there’s no pain, only the sweet, poorly-remembered revels of the night before.
Curing a hangover is about coping with a few biological facts. First, your body is going to be suffering from a severe vitamin B deficiency, which is a large part of what a hangover is. Then there’s the dehydration that comes from imbibing – and thus expelling – vast quantities of fluid. Lastly is the pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound, all of which come from your body producing natural stimulants to counteract the tide of depressants you had to drink. These are hardest to fix, since they come from a more complicated physiological formula, but with the 10 best hangover cures, you’ll at least limit their effect on your waking life.
Really, this is the first cure to any malady. Your body is electrical and it is comprised of 70%+ water. So, to work properly it needs H2O to get you though. Ideally you should hydrate the night you drink as much as possible, but anytime you think of it is a good time to put some water in your body. You can opt for sports drinks that are intended to replace electrolytes as well, though they’re going to have sugars in them which can actually interfere with your hangover health. If you do go the route of sugary drinks, understand you’re wasting money, and they’re not going to help you as much as water. Plus they have other adulterants in them that you do not want.
Though you want to keep sweet sport drinks down to a bare minimum, the replenishing nutrients found in both Pedialyte – a hydrating and replenishing fluid for infants – and in Coconut water – which has 5 electrolytes per serving, trumping the 2 found in most sports beverages – can help you recover without undoing you the way sugar will.
No on likes this idea, but it helps. By sweating you force your body to metabolize faster, thereby removing toxins quicker and flushing them out. Yes, it is hell. Yes, it is worth it. Give yourself a slow walk around the neighborhood, maybe a couple of squats. Get the blood pumping, but remember that it has also been thinned out and doesn’t need to be redlined.
Yes, sex counts.
A lot of people will reach for the painkillers when hungover to ease a throbbing head. That’s not wrong, but you should aim for anti-inflammation drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Advil which reduce swelling, thereby limiting the pain. The reason you don’t want to go with typical analgesics is your liver is busy metabolizing alcohol, which means you don’t want to add the extra pressure of painkillers, since that can tax it to the point of damage. Do not get Tylenol or any other acetaminophen. They can literally be deadly.
When you’re hungover, your blood sugar takes a nose dive. Normally that wouldn’t matter, because that ol’ reliable liver is churning out glucose to help you feel better. The problem is that when you’re hungover, the liver is busy filtering out all those sake bombs. To help it out, give it some quick and easy carbs, such as dry whole wheat toast or crackers for a tiny boost of energy to help it feel better. Aim for more complex carbs, as sugars will give you some relief, then leave you with more pain later on, which doesn’t happen with full grains.
This isn’t going to save you after the fact, but there’s a lot you can do before your night of debauchery to get ready. Take a superload of vitamin B so your body has a lot to burn. Taking a couple of vitamin supplements isn’t likely to hurt you (consult a doctor before you put anything into your body) and if you have vitamin B to spare, your hangover will be lessened.
Water will also help here. As will eating a bunch of greasy food to coat your stomach and mix up some of that alcohol. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that means a couple of vitamins and some flapjacks with bacon the night before will save you hours of agony the next day. Unless you slept with one of your insane co-workers. That’s on you.
There’s a ton of intravenous menu items that will help you, if you can get your hands on it. In New York and Vegas you can call IV recovery services – like The Hangover Club – that will come replenish you, or you can go to the emergency room, but expect them to be angry. Having this done is utterly amazing as it is like having fluid calm pumped into your veins. Though, even if you can get the service, it’s costly.
Wake and Bake
Marijuana is a double-edged sword in the hangover world. First off, we suggest you stay within the law, meaning it might be hard to get it. Then there’s the fact that it will get you high, which means no driving or trying to work – unless you work customer service, then you need all the help you can get. Might be good, might be bad. It certainly settles the stomach, helps with headaches, and allows you to eat. The quick answer is: If you aren’t going to be arrested or put anyone in danger, do it. Otherwise, sorry.
There’s a lot of “hangover cures” that are sold over the counter, often at liquor stores. These are little bottles with amped up amounts of nutrients and electrolytes, often with vitamin loads and sometimes caffeine, all to get you back into action. These are fine, but you get a similar effect with vitamins and water. Plus, they usually are intended for taking prior to drinking, which is the easiest way to avoid a hangover.
A real old-school remedy, this is a light painkiller and a stomach-settler that is comforting to drink and easy the whole way down. It’s not going to move the needle much, but it can get you from a 2 to a 4 on the scale of feelings. Mix it with some carbs and you’ll compound the effects exponentially.