You decided to let loose and party last night, but now you feel awful the morning after -- your head is pounding, you feel dizzy, and you're thirsty. Congratulations! You have a hangover. While you can ease symptoms, can you actually cure a hangover?
Prevention is key
Unfortunately, there's no way to cure a hangover. But you can prevent one from happening in the first place. Though the easiest way to avoid a hangover is to abstain from drinking, sometimes that's just not practical. If you're going to drink, follow the below tips:
- Take vitamins. Hangovers don't only result from being dehydrated. They also result from inflammation and oxidative stress. Take some multivitamins before drinking -- they help mitigate the damage.
- Drink on a full stomach. The severity of a hangover largely depends on how you metabolize alcohol. Make sure you eat a meal containing carbs, protein, and fat before you start drinking.
- Get more sleep. If you're sleep deprived, your hangover is going to be far worse. Although sleep won't prevent a hangover, it will improve your immunity.
- Drink electrolyte drinks. In between drinks, fend off dehydration by sipping on electrolyte drinks such as Gatorade and coconut water. When you drink more than two drinks at a time, alternate between booze and sports drinks.
- Don't smoke. This is a no-brainer. Not only is smoking bad for you, but it increases the risk and severity of hangovers.
- Stick with clear liquor. Vodka and gin have fewer toxins and impurities than dark-colored liquors, meaning your hangovers will be less severe.
- Pop ibuprofen. Before going to sleep, take some ibuprofen and one more multivitamin. Both will counteract inflammation that alcohol causes. But steer clear of painkillers that contain acetaminophen -- you can seriously damage your liver and kidneys if you mix them with alcohol.
Ease hangover symptoms instantly
If you already have a hangover, there's a lot you can do to help ease symptoms and make your hangover more bearable:
- Drink fluids. Immediately rehydrate with sports drinks and water, since hangovers are partly due to severe dehydration. Avoid herbal teas that can cause your body to process alcohol at a slower speed.
- Eat carbs. Drinking lowers blood sugar levels, which can cause fatigue and headaches. Plus, many forget to eat when they're drinking, further lowering blood sugar. Eat some toast and drink some juice to help return your blood sugar levels to normal.
- Take ibuprofen. Painkillers, such as NSAIDS, can help with headaches and achiness associated with hangovers.
- Drink caffeine. It can help with any grogginess associated with hangovers. Remember, though, that caffeine is a diuretic, so it could exacerbate dehydration.
- Eat eggs. Eggs are an excellent source of cysteine, which helps to break down toxins that are produced when your body processes alcohol.
- Sleep more. Lack of sleep can make a hangover worse. The best thing you can do is get more sleep to help ease hangover symptoms.
Eat, drink, and be merry
The bottom line is: although you can't cure a hangover, you can easily prevent one by taking some precautions while you drink. Make sure to stay hydrated, stick to clear liquors, and take multivitamins. If you do happen to get a hangover, take some ibuprofen, eat carbs and protein, and get more rest.