7 Ways to Conquer a Hangover
It’s 6 AM—your mouth is dry, your head is pounding, and your stomach is churning dangerously: your hangover has officially arrived. Though you swore it would never happen again, in your defense, you had a rough week. Everyone’s been there, and everyone has a hangover cure that “totally” works. And although hangovers are common, they are also surprisingly misunderstood. Luckily, there are some medically-sound strategies to relegate that hangover far away from your Sunday, compiled for your throbbing convenience here:
Tip #1: Drink a Glass of Water for Every Alcoholic Drink Consumed
So you've probably hear this one before, but that's because it really is your best weapon against a hangover. We know that alcohol is a diuretic, which increases the need to urinate, which unless checked by drinking copious amounts of water, leads to dehydration. Most of the symptoms of a hangover—like dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, and headache—are really just symptoms of dehydration. So double fist it with tap water to stave off the beast.
Tip #2: Stick to Lighter-Colored Alcohol
Research shows that darker liquors and wines generally have higher amounts of congeners than light alcohols, leading to worse hangovers. Congeners are harmful by-products of alcohol fermentation that contain small traces of acetone and other chemicals you probably shouldn't be drinking. They are more common in cheaper alcohol, so try to steer clear of the bottom shelf merlot. Why were you looking there anyway?
Tip #3: Quench your Thirst With Gatorade
Sports drinks like Powerade or Propel can replenish the valuable electrolytes lost due to the frequent urination from all that gin and water you're drinking. Maintaining a constant level of electrolytes is important, since they regulate muscle and nerve functions in the body. Similarly, if you're already hungover, drink plenty of juice to help replace any nutrients or vitamins lost the night before.
Tip #4: Take Aspirin
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen block the production of prostaglandin in the body. High levels of prostaglandins (lipid compounds) have been linked to more severe hangover symptoms, so popping a pill before you crash could do more than just prevent a headache. In some cases, aspirin can cause an upset stomach, so proceed with caution.
Tip #5: Don't Take Tylenol
Not to be confused with aspirin, drugs like Tylenol and Excedrin, which contain acetaminophen, are metabolized by the liver and can lead to serious side effects if taken with alcohol. The liver is essentially working overtime after a night of hard drinking, and can’t handle breaking down anymore toxins, which could result in liver toxicity. So remember to be kind to your liver. She's overworked and underpaid.
Tip #6: Don't Only Drink Coffee
Coffee may make you feel more human the next day, but it should never be the main liquid you drink to cure a hangover. Caffeine is a diuretic, which as we discussed earlier, is really not a good idea for someone who is already dehydrated, unless it’s accompanied by a huge glass of water. Of course, caffeine is also a stimulant, which can help stave off fatigue and your desire to deck people, if only temporarily.
Tip #7: Don't Try the “Hair of the Dog”
It's the myth that bit ya. Revisiting the drink that led to your hangover in the first place is only asking for trouble. Consuming more alcohol just means more toxins need to get broken down by your liver. So while you might feel better temporarily (because you're drunk again) you're actually only delaying the inevitable replenishing process. That said, if Bloody Marys are your insistent jam, who are we to stop you. Just back it up with lots of water, and you'll be on your way to the world of the living in no time.