The party last night was great, but this morning you’re feeling it and paying the price. Your hangover is in full swing and all you want is a little relief. What is the best hangover cure?
For now, there are a few things you can do to help relieve the pain and get back on your feet. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all hangover cure because everyone is different and you will have to find what works best for you. Let’s take a look at a few tried and true hangover cures that you can try.
Lemon, sugar and salt water: This is one of the most effective remedies for a hangover. Since alcohol tends to sap your body of electrolytes, sugars and water, re-hydrating yourself is key. The citric smell of lemon combined with the high amounts of vitamin C it contains helps replenish your body’s stores of nutrients. Further, salt and sugar help replenish lost electrolytes and beat the symptoms of dehydration.
Tip: Take equal amounts of lemon, sugar and salt. Add this to a one litre bottle of water. Warm water works better than cold water, but you can choose what you are comfortable with. Mix all the ingredients in the water and keep sipping on it for relief. A good way to prevent having a hangover is to drink some of this water before you go to bed. And then start your day with a tall glass of this mixture.
It’s important to stay hydrated while you’re drinking alcohol. That means drinking plenty of water between cocktails. If you bypass that rule and wake up groggy the next morning, drink up to rehydrate and flush the impurities from your system.
Drink other fluids, too. Remember: Water isn’t enough. You need to drink electrolyte-rich fluids, too — like sports drinks, coconut water, or bouillon soup — that can restore the salt and potassium you’ve lost.
Tip: For a quick pick-me-up, add a little lemon juice to a cup of warm water. Add ginger if you have it to help with nausea. This is one of the easiest and most effective restorative drinks you can make.
What about sports drinks? While some people swear by Gatorade and other sports drinks for a hangover, there’s no evidence that these actually work better than water or juice. If you have some in the refrigerator, it’s a good alternative to juice, but don’t rely on it.
Get Some Sleep
Rest is your best friend at this point because your body needs an opportunity to recover. It is best to simply stay in bed and even an extra hour or two of sleep will help.
If your hangover is really bad you might need to call into work or whatever obligation you have this morning. Of course, we don’t recommend being irresponsible, but that is something you should have thought about last night! Whoever you need to call, you will likely sound so bad on the phone that they may just believe your excuse. (That’s assuming they didn’t see you at the bar last night—then this is a very bad idea.
A weak cup of coffee may be okay, but an entire pot will only dehydrate you more and it may make your headache worse. This is the opposite of what you want right now. Even though it is tempting to grab a cup to wake up, it is not the best idea.
Alternatively, you could make a cup of sweetened tea. The sugar and caffeine will give you a little boost without dehydrating you too much. Most teas have less caffeine than coffee and the type of tea and the brewing method can reduce the caffeine. Don’t let your tea water boil, but gently warm it or brew a decaf tea. These are not actually caffeine-free but they do have much lower amounts.
If you insist on caffeine this morning, drink one glass of water for every caffeinated beverage. This will counteract the dehydration side effects.
Consume sugar while you’re drinking. Studies show that fructose may speed alcohol metabolism, thus reducing the risk of a hangover. It’s important to eat sugar while you’re drinking, not before, since fructose metabolizes quickly. Try plain orange juice between cocktails.
Food may seem like the last thing you want right now, but it can help and it doesn’t have to be much or anything that will make you sick. Eat mineral- and protein-rich food, even if you don’t feel like it. Begin with something bland, even a piece of bread, a few crackers or pretzels, or a banana will help. If that stays down, try something with a little more substance like a piece of fruit.
Your mother gave you chicken noodle soup when you were sick as a kid, right? Try that now. It is packed with protein and minerals and you can always just slurp the soothing broth.
Some people swear by fast food when they’re hungover. You may want to drag yourself down the street for a greasy burger and fries if you can stomach the thought.
Eat ginger. For centuries, people have taken ginger to reduce nausea and vomiting. Try nibbling crystallized ginger in the aftermath of a night of drinking. The National Institutes of Health reveal early research that consuming a combination of ginger, tangerine pith, and brown sugar before drinking decreases nausea and vomiting.
Avoid Pain Killers If Possible
When your head is pounding the first thing you’ll be tempted to reach for is a quick pain reliever. This is not the best idea because over-the-counter (OTC) products like aspirin, Tylenol, and ibuprofen have side effects that are magnified while alcohol is in your system.
This is probably contrary to everything you want to do right now, but for your long-term health, it is good advice. Just like alcohol, aspirin is a blood thinner and the two in combination can intensify the effects. Tylenol (or acetaminophen) can cause more damage to your liver and ibuprofen can also cause stomach bleeding.
If you absolutely feel the need to take one of these, make sure it’s a very low dose and avoid acetaminophen altogether.
Is there an alternative? Absolutely and one of the best natural pain relievers available is Tiger Balm. It is available in many drug stores and that tiny, unassuming jar can really knock out a headache. Simply rub it into your temples and you should feel some relief soon.
Take a Shower
Once you have gotten as much sleep as possible, take a cool shower. This will not only clean you up but freshen and wake up your senses as well. Some people like to switch between cold and hot water, but don’t take this to an extreme as the shock could do even more damage to your system.