With the holiday season quickly approaching, it's almost time for what can seem like endless parties and family get-togethers. With so many festivities to enjoy, it’s easy to accidentally overindulge in food and drinks, which can mean experiencing one of the tell-tale, unwanted side effects of rejoicing a little too much: hangovers.
Most of us have been there a time or two (or 20) and know the feeling all too well — waking up the next morning and feeling rough and out of sorts. Not exactly fresh as a daisy and ready to take on the day with more of a desire if anything, to crawl back under the covers and sleep in for hours. And well, since hiding away from the world is exactly the solution, we wanted to offer smart and practical suggestions to help you more easily and quickly recover from a hangover.
Read on to learn 5 of our top hangover remedies to help you get back to feeling like yourself after a night of heavy drinking.
What is a Hangover?
A hangover is a group of unpleasant symptoms that develop after drinking too much alcohol.
How Does Alcohol Affect Your Body?
Consuming alcohol can have a variety of side effects on several parts of the body, including:
Causing the body to produce more urine, resulting in using the bathroom more often and increasing the risk of dehydration. Signs of dehydration are thirst, dizziness, and lightheadedness.
Triggering an inflammatory response from the immune system, causing memory issues, trouble concentrating, etc.
Increasing the production of stomach acid, irritating the lining and slowing the stomach from emptying. As a result, you may experience abdominal pain, nausea, and/or vomiting.
Lowering blood sugar levels leading to fatigue, weakness, shakiness, mood disturbances, and seizures.
Expanding blood vessels contributing to headaches.
Causing sleepiness and fatigue, while making it harder for the the body to reach deeper stages of sleep, leaving you feeling likely groggy and tired the next day.
What Are the Symptoms of a Hangover?
Below are the most common symptoms of a hangover. Depending on the severity of your havingver, you may experience only a couple or all of them.
Thirst (from dehydration)
Weakness, muscle aches, or sweating
Headache/sensitivity to light and sound
Anxiety or irritability
Increased blood pressure
If you or someone around you is experiencing the below symptoms after drinking, it could be a sign of alcohol poisoning, which can turn into a life-threatening emergency if not handled immediately. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your or someone you know is experiencing:
Confusion/ Mental changes
Slow breathing (less than eight breaths a minute)
Breathing that becomes irregular (more than 10 seconds between breaths)
Blue-tinged skin or pale skin
Low body temperature (hypothermia)
Difficulty remaining conscious
If someone becomes unconscious and can't be woken up, they are at risk of dying. Therefore, it is critical to seek immediate medical care, even if they aren't showing signs of alcohol poisoning.
Hangover Remedies that Work (and Tips You Need to Know)
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Dehydration plays a big part in how our bodies respond to being hungover. Drinking water is your best bet to replenish your body and start the process of recovery.
Staying as hydrated as possible while drinking alcohol can also help reduce or even prevent symptoms of a hangover. Remember to have a glass of water between drinks and one before bed!
You may also benefit from some caffeine which can help boost energy and concentration. Just don't overdo it because too much caffeine can worsen dehydration.
Try an antacid
Like Tums and Pepto Bismol, over-the-counter antacids work by neutralizing stomach acid to soothe an upset stomach. Taking antacids can also help reduce nausea, heartburn, and indigestion that drinking alcohol can cause.
If you are someone who usually feels sick to your stomach when hungover, an antacid is a good option.
Sounds easy enough, right? As stated above, alcohol tends to lower your blood sugar leading to many hangover symptoms.
Our bodies need nutritious foods like protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and vitamins to repair and recover. While there is no research that currently supports choosing certain foods over others to recover from a hangover, eating breakfast can help restore blood sugar levels, increasing energy and clarity of mind.
Avoid medications that include acetaminophen, like Tylenol, during a hangover. Since the liver is responsible for breaking down both alcohol and acetaminophen, our bodies are at increased risk of experiencing the toxic effects of acetaminophen when drinking alcohol (or right after) which can lead to liver damage.
Suffering from a hangover headache or body aches? Try an anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen, for pain relief instead.
Increase intake of Vitamin B and Zinc
The Journal of Clinical Medicine published a study that found that people whose food and beverage consumption contained more significant amounts of zinc and B vitamins had less severe hangovers.
Vitamin IV therapy has become more and more popular, especially for hangovers. It's an excellent way to pump your body with vitamins and minerals, including B and Zinc, and hydrating the body simultaneously.
Of course, the best way to prevent a hangover is not to drink at all or drink in smaller amounts. For some, the thought of drinking in moderation may sound impossible. If you feel like you might be suffering from alcohol use disorder (AUD) or alcohol addiction, help is available.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers many resources for dealing with addiction and a national helpline you can call for advice. It is also helpful to speak with your healthcare provider, as some medications can help you quit drinking altogether.
Now that you know some of our top hangover remedies, learn 5 easy ways to keep your heart healthy or 5 superfoods you should incorporate into your diet and their benefits!