Useful hangover remediesHangover symptoms should subside naturally within 24 to 72 hours after consuming alcohol, although the exact amount of time will depend on the amount of alcohol you consumed and other individual factors. Although you can't make the body metabolize alcohol faster, there are remedies that will help you feel better while you wait.
Water or sports drinksAlcohol has a diuretic effect, meaning it increases your body's urine production. Too much alcohol can also cause vomiting and diarrhea, which worsen water loss from your body. This can cause dehydration and, in turn, can lead to some of the more uncomfortable symptoms associated with hangovers, such as headaches, dizziness, and lightheadedness. The quickest way to relieve these symptoms is to rehydrate by drinking plenty of water. Some people also turn to sports drinks like Gatorade to replenish electrolytes. Although there is no evidence that these drinks reduce the duration or severity of a hangover, they can help you rehydrate.
AnalgesicsAspirin and ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) can reduce hangover-induced headaches and muscle pain. However, they should not be used if you experience abdominal pain or nausea. These medications, called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), are gastric irritants and can aggravate gastrointestinal symptoms. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) should not be taken during a hangover. Alcohol can increase the toxicity of this medication and cause serious liver damage. If you experience gastrointestinal symptoms during a hangover, such as nausea or indigestion, antacids may help.
MealEating a healthy meal can help you combat some hangover symptoms. Alcohol can alter blood sugar levels, which can cause symptoms such as sweating, fatigue, and tremors. Eating a high-fiber breakfast can help correct your blood sugar levels (and may also improve your mood). If you can't bear the thought of eating something solid while experiencing hangover symptoms, try a broth soup. It can also help replace salt and potassium lost during a binge. There is evidence that vitamin B3 (also called niacin) and zinc can reduce the severity of hangovers. Although it is unclear whether these nutrients will affect a hangover that is already in progress, a diet rich in vitamin B3 and zinc may be associated with fewer and less intense hangovers.
SleepAlthough alcohol may help you fall asleep at first, it ultimately disrupts your ability to get a good night's rest. If you can, try to rest more during a hangover. Consider waking up briefly to drink more water or have a snack before going back to bed. Sleep can also reduce some of your discomfort and help you wait out your symptoms.
Hangover Remedies to AvoidAlthough there are several common myths about how to cure a hangover, none of them have scientific support. Some can even be harmful to your health.
drink more alcoholThe practice of having a drink the next morning to ward off the effects of a hangover does not work in the long term, contrary to popular belief. It may lessen symptoms in the short term, but giving the liver more alcohol to metabolize will only increase your discomfort later and lengthen the time you have to wait for the hangover to end. Additionally, getting into the habit of having a drink in the morning can lead to increased alcohol consumption and may contribute to eventual alcohol dependence.
Black coffeeCoffee can relieve the feeling of fatigue associated with a hangover and help relieve headache symptoms by constricting blood vessels, but that relief is only temporary and symptoms will return. Coffee also acts as a diuretic, meaning it further dehydrates the body.
Pain relievers before bedTaking painkillers preemptively before going to sleep may seem logical, but this approach to hangover prevention fails for two reasons:
- The effects of the pain reliever usually wear off before hangover symptoms appear.
- It would be best to take the medication after symptoms start.