Have you ever had one too many glasses of wine and the following morning your head feels like a blacksmith is hard at work in your head? That’s what a hangover is like. For regular alcohol consumers, hangovers can be a trying experience as it generally renders you all but useless. Is there really anyway to prevent it? Of course, yes! Simply drink less! However if you find yourself in a hangover situation there are a few things you can do to feel better.
If you ask a dozen people how to cure a hangover, you’ll get a dozen different answers. Eat greasy grub. Drink coffee. Pop over-the-counter pain relievers… do any of them work? There’s no magic potion that gets rid of a hangover. The only way you can avoid that tired-headachy-nauseated feeling is to drink less.But if you think you might overdo it, these steps could help tone down your morning-after symptoms.
Prepare With Prickly Pear
While most over-the-counter hangover remedies won’t help much, there’s one supplement that may do you some good — but you’ll have to plan ahead. If you take prickly pear extract several hours before you drink, it might lower your day-after symptoms by about half. Experts don’t know how it works, but the extract has a protein that curbs the inflammation you can get from drinking too much. That may help hold off a hangover.
Eat Up and Drink Water
Don’t wait until the end of the night to polish off a pizza or gobble a doughnut. It might be too late. The alcohol is already in your body, so eating food or drinking water won’t affect how it’s absorbed.
But if you eat a meal and have water while you’re throwing back those cocktails, your hangover may not be as bad. Having food in your stomach while drinking reduces how high your peak blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) gets by about a third.
The less drunk you get, the less crummy you’ll feel the next day. And fluid from water slows the rate at which your body absorbs alcohol. This will also lower your overall BAC. It’s a good idea to alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
Along with drinking water throughout the period of alcohol consumption, be sure to down even more water before you go to sleep.
Alcohol is a diuretic. This means it makes you pee a lot, which causes you to lose a lot of liquid. Hangover symptoms are partly due to dehydration, so replacing that fluid loss can help. It’s also smart to keep a bottle of water by your bedside so you can hydrate as soon as you wake up in the morning.
Chose Clear Booze
The color of the spirits you drink may affect how you feel tomorrow. You may be better off sticking to clear booze like vodka and gin, or the clear versions of rum and tequila.
The reason has to do with chemical compounds called congeners. Those are anything in alcohol besides alcohol and water. Darker drinks like bourbon, scotch, and tequila tend to have higher levels. Those compounds can bring on the inflammation that makes your hangover worse.
Don’t Light Up And Drink
For some people, the two go together. But you may pay the price. Smoking cigarettes while drinking results in worse hangovers. One theory is that both alcohol and smoke affect your sleep, and poor shut-eye may make you feel even crummier.
Have a Drink the Next Day
If you’re looking for a short-term fix, this may help — but not for long. There’s a scientific explanation for why the “hair of the dog that bit you” works. When you drink, alcohol holds back a brain chemical called glutamate. That causes your brain to make more and more of it. When the alcohol wears off, you have a bunch of it floating around in your brain. It may be to blame for hangover symptoms like irritability, headaches, nausea, and fatigue.
Down another drink the next morning, and you’ll hold off the glutamate all over again. Your hangover symptoms may improve. But it won’t last. Once you stop drinking you’ll still have to deal with a hangover, so it is never an advisable cause of action.
Treat Your Symptoms
Although there’s no cure for a hangover, there are ways to treat what ails you.
If you have a headache, reach for an anti-inflammatory medication. Upset stomach? Pepto-Bismol might help. If you’re tired, have some coffee.
One thing you shouldn’t take is any other medication that has the ingredient acetaminophen. It can cause serious liver problems when it mixes with alcohol.
While ibuprofen is a better option, you still need to be careful. \Taking too much ibuprofen can upset your stomach, and it may already be queasy from your hangover.