Hangovers only happen if you drink too much for your liver to handle. There is no true “cure” for a hangover—other than time—but there are remedies that can offer you relief. However, some of the widely used, traditional hangover remedies do little to relieve symptoms, and some of them can actually make the situation worse.
But which “hangover cure” tips are worth trying?
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at some common remedies.
Helpful Hangover Remedies
Your hangover symptoms should naturally resolve between 24 to 72 hours after consuming alcohol—though the exact amount of time will depend on personal factors. By that we mean, everyone experiences hangovers differently and will naturally recover at a different rate.
Water or Sports Drinks
Alcohol has a diuretic effect, meaning it increases your body’s urine production. Excess alcohol can also cause vomiting and diarrhea, which worsen your body’s water loss. This can cause dehydration and, in turn, may lead to some of the most uncomfortable symptoms associated with hangovers like headaches, dizziness, and lightheadedness.
The quickest way to relieve those symptoms is to rehydrate by drinking lots of water. Some people may also turn to sports drinks like Gatorade to replace electrolytes. While there’s no evidence that these drinks will reduce the duration or severity of your hangover, they can help you rehydrate.
Painkillers like Ibuprofen may reduce a hangover-induced headache and muscle pain. However, they should be used with caution because Ibuprofen can reduce your stomach’s natural mucous lining and expose it to your stomach acid.
Another option is acetaminophen. But with this, you should also remember that it’s metabolized by your liver which may already be under stress from the alcohol you consumed.
Eating a healthy meal may help you combat some hangover symptoms. Alcohol can disrupt your blood sugar levels, which can lead to symptoms like sweating, fatigue, and shakiness.
If you can’t handle the idea of eating anything solid while experiencing severe hangover symptoms, try some soup or a sugary drink.
Even though alcohol may initially help you fall asleep, it ultimately disrupts your ability to get a good night’s rest. If you’re able, try to get extra rest during your hangover. All you can do is try your best to try get as much sleep as possible.
Hangover Remedies to Avoid
While there are several common myths about how to cure a hangover, none of these have scientific support. Some may even be harmful to your health.
The Hair of the Dog
The practice of having a drink the next morning to ward off the effects of a hangover doesn’t work in the long run, contrary to popular belief. It may lessen the symptoms in the short term, but giving the liver more alcohol to metabolize will only increase your discomfort later and lengthen the amount of time you have to wait until your hangover ends.
Additionally, getting into the habit of having a morning-after drink may lead to more alcohol consumption and can contribute to eventual alcohol dependence.
Coffee may relieve the feeling of fatigue associated with a hangover and help alleviate the headache symptoms by constricting blood vessels, but that relief is only temporary and the symptoms will return. Coffee also acts as a diuretic, which means it further dehydrates the body.
Fried or Greasy Foods
Fatty foods are harder to digest and can leave you feeling bloated. The same goes with tough meat like beef or pork which takes longer to digest. Stick to plain and easy-to-digest foods like pasta.
While there is no cure-all treatment for a hangover, you can increase your comfort by treating your individual symptoms while you wait for the hangover to end.
Drinking as much water as possible while you’re consuming alcohol and before you go to bed will relieve a great deal of the hangover symptoms caused by dehydration.
In addition, you can consider investing in a hangover pill that contains natural ingredients such as vitamins, herbal extracts, and amino acids which can give your body an antioxidant boost.