How to Get Rid of a Hangover

“I will never drink again!” is a common phrase heard after someone wakes up after a night of drinking with a hammering headache and a stomach rolling around like a sneaker in a washing machine.

Before and While Drinking
Drink water. Before heading to a party, drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and to dilute the alcohol you will be drinking.

Eat something that contains a lot of fat. Fat is better than carbohydrates when it comes to slowing your body’s absorption of alcohol. Go for steak, sausage, fried foods or pizza before you head to a party. [1] The fat sits in your body for at least 12 hours and greases the lining of your intestines, which makes the body absorb alcohol slower. [1]

Space the drinks. Have a glass of water or a non-alcoholic beverage between each drink to dilute the alcohol in your body.

Stick to lighter alcohol. To mitigate the effects of hangovers, choose beer and clear liquors (for example, vodka or gin). Malt/dark liquors (e.g. whiskey or rum) tend to produce headaches, and red wine contains tannins which do the same.

The Morning After
Take a non-acetaminophen over-the-counter painkiller like aspirin or ibuprofen.[1] Painkillers’ effects peak at about four hours, so the effect of taking a painkiller before bed will be gone by the next morning (when your hangover strikes).
Alcohol disrupts how the liver processes acetaminophen, so taking that may lead to liver inflammation and permanent damage. [1]

Drink plenty of water and electrolyte-replenishing sports drinks the next morning. This will help ease any symptoms of dehydration, which often goes hand in hand with a hangover.[2]
The processes that break down alcohol also produce lactic acid and other chemicals that interfere with the production of glucose (sugar) and electrolytes; that’s why sports drinks are a good idea.[3] Don’t drink caffeinated beverages, as they contribute to dehydration.

Eat burnt toast. Carbon in the burnt part helps filter impurities, which is why people hospitalized for alcohol poisoning get a potent carbon slurry pumped into their stomachs.[1]

Eat bland foods like toast and crackers. It’s not to “absorb” the alcohol (which is what most people think). It’s to boost your blood sugar.[4] Alcohol prevents your body from maintaining normal blood sugar concentration, and low blood sugar leads to fatigue and weakness[5]).

Complex carbohydrates (cereal, bread) are good choices.[2]

Have bouillon soup to restore salt and potassium. Potassium is needed for nerve and muscle function and you lose a lot through urination after drinking alcohol.[6] A banana, avocado, potato chips or glass of orange juice will also help restore potassium.[6]

Have food or drinks that contain fructose to help you burn the alcohol faster. Eating fruits and drinking fruit juice might make you feel better.[4] A 1976 study suggests, however, that while fructose eases the metabolic effects of alcohol, it might not ease the symptoms of a hangover.[7]

Make a bacon sandwich. The bread will raise your blood sugar, and the protein in bacon breaks down to amino acids to help replenish brain neurotransmitters that were depleted by the alcohol.[8][9]

Be happy. A 1997 study in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) suggests that guilt about drinking, a neurotic personality, becoming angry or depressed while drinking, and having suffered “negative life events” in the past 12 months are better predictors of symptoms of hangover than how much or what you drink![10]

Chew ginger. Chew small pieces of ginger to get relief from hangovers. Alternately, boil 10-12 pieces of fresh ginger root in about four cups of water and add the juice of one orange, half lemon and half cup of honey. The concoction will provide quick relief from hangover by stabilizing blood glucose levels.

Eat eggs. Eggs contain an amino acid called cysteine which helps counter the effects of acetaldehyde, which is known to create worsened hangovers.

Sleep. Sleep is one of the most essential treatments for a hangover, as your body in most cases does not get a chance to go into the R.E.M. (rapid eye movement) state of sleep which provides proper restoration for your brain due to the rebound of glutamine in your body.

Busting Myths About Hangover Remedies
The order in which you drink alcoholic beverages doesn’t determine magnitude of the hangover, but rather it’s the type that you drink. [1] Diet drinks will not help mitigate hangovers. [1]
A wake-up cocktail will only delay, not prevent, your hangover. Avoid the screwdriver in the morning. [1]
Hangover pills made from natural ingredients like yeast and artichoke extract do very little to mitigate hangovers. A supplement made from prickly pear cactus may solve dry mouth and nausea issues, but not the awful headache. [1] Test Your Knowledge
Get Rid of a Hangover QuizVideo
One of the main causes of nausea during a hangover is not just because of the alcohol itself (myth), a good portion of it is the low blood sugar (liver using up all available glucose to process the alcohol) and the increased stomach acid production (especially if you drank red wine). Over the counter anti-nausea remedies that contain phosphorus and fructose can help correct the blood sugar problem and decrease the irritation from the stomach acid.

To avoid a hangover try and drink 2-3 bottles of water after drinking.

Drink responsibly.

Try a cold shower. It should cool you off, and help with your head and stomach.

Don’t over-eat on sweet foods before, while, or after drinking vodka.

Stick with non-carbonated mixers. Carbonated drink mixers acceleratealcohol absorption.

Always SIP your drink, never gulp your drinks (unless its a shot, in which case make sure you don’t have too many!) since drinking very quickly will not only increase your chances of throwing up that night, it will also increase the severity of your hang over (naturally you will also be drinking a lot more).

Know your limits. Seventy five percent of people who drink to intoxication will have a hangover the next day. The number of drinks it takes to reach a state of intoxication varies from person to person. Don’t have more than three drinks in 1-2 hours, and no more than five drinks in one night.[3] Women and people of Asian descent might want to consider having a little less because they are more susceptible to hangovers. They tend to have lower levels of alcohol dehydrogenase, an enzyme that breaks down alcohol.[3] Eat before drinking so alcohol isn’t absorbed as quickly.[3] Choose light liquors (vodka, gin) over dark liquors (brandy, whiskey). They have fewer congeners, which contribute to hangovers. Overall, drinks with more chemicals produce worse hangovers. Red wine is one of the worst culprits.[11] A study found that hangover symptoms varied by the type of alcohol consumed: (in order of decreasing severity) brandy, red wine, rum, whiskey, white wine, gin, vodka, and pure ethanol.[10]
Choose less concentrated drinks. Beer is better than shots of whiskey, for example.[4]
Prickly pear juice may reduce hangovers. Drink a tablespoon a few hours prior to drinking alcohol. Studies involving it have shown that C-reactive proteins (which are released by the liver to combat inflammation) are 40 percent lower when prickly pear juice is consumed, indicating that the inflammation caused by alcohol consumption is considerably reduced.[12] Curd rice or buttermilk may also help soothe your stomach. [13]

It should be noted that excessive consumption of water can lead to hyponatremia (extremely low salt levels in the body), which can kill you. It’s better to use both water and sport drinks, so electrolyte levels are maintained.

Exercise does not make a hangover go away. In fact, it might make the hangover worse by further dehydrating you.

The “hair of the dog” approach or drinking more alcohol in the morning has been shown to be ineffective at curing the root problems and could well be a shortcut to long term alcoholism. It’s best avoided.

If you can’t remember what happened while you were drinking, or if you get hangovers on a regular basis, you may have a drinking problem. Talk to someone about getting help.

Even without treatment, a hangover should last no more than 24 hours. If you’re still feeling bad after that, call a doctor.

Related wikiHows
How to Prevent a Hangover

How to Get Sober with a 12 Step Program

How to Improve Your Alcohol Tolerance

How to Select a Bottle of Wine

Sources and Citations
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