Drinking alcohol responsibly can be a fun way to spend your time but occasionally drinking does have some side effects, some less fun than others.
A hangover is the most typical one, with symptoms such as fatigue, headache, nausea, dizziness, sensitivity to light, and thirst.
While there are a lot of home remedies out there that claim to solve all your hangover problems (we’re looking at you pickle juice) many of these supposed cures really don’t do anything at all.
Unfortunately, the only actual cure for a hangover is time, but there are many things you can do to ease the negative symptoms you’re experiencing.
Many of the symptoms of a hangover stem from the fact that alcohol can be really dehydrating. Alcohol acts as a diuretic effect, leading to a loss of urine and electrolytes. So there are many ways to try and restore the balance and avoid some of the more severe symptoms.
One of the best ways to counteract the alcohol from dehydrating you is to follow each alcoholic beverage with a glass of water. It makes sense right? And it’s pretty easy to do.
Keeping your body hydrated while drinking will also slow down your consumption of alcoholic beverages and hopefully will help you drink more responsibly.
At the very least, after you are done drinking and are getting ready to go to sleep for the night it is a great idea to drink a glass of water prior to hitting the sack. While some people swear by ice water or prefer room temperature, the good news is water of any kind should help. (Though cold water has been shown to give people headaches so keep that in mind.)
In the morning if you’re still feeling as though dehydration has set in, you can use electrolyte replenishing drinks to help you get rebalanced.
It may seem silly to go to use the flavored beverage meant to rehydrate sick children, it tastes good and it definitely helps. If you know you are going to be drinking at a wedding or a party, it certainly can’t hurt to keep some on hand.
If after drinking you are prone to nausea, it’s a great idea to stick to bland foods to help settle your stomach and help you feel better. Toast, crackers, and anything else chock full of carbs will fill you up and give you a boost of energy you may be lacking after a night of fun.
Have you ever heard the phrase “wakey, wakey eggs, and bakey?” Eggs are fantastic food after drinking because of the many vitamins found in them, especially B12 which will energize you. Eggs also feature amino acids that both help soothes the liver and clear the chemicals from the booze from your body.
When you’re drinking and dehydrated your body also loses potassium so eating foods rich in potassium is helpful to avoid the painful muscle cramps associated with a deficiency. (Have you ever woken up in the night with a cramping leg? It’s the worst!) Bananas are a tried and true source of potassium and are easy on the stomach to eat.
In fact, bananas are even included in diets for people who are sick! The other great thing about bananas is that they are easy to obtain if you don’t have one at home already almost every corner store or gas station has them available so you can get that potassium into your system quickly.
Some people swear by greasy food like a burger as the best hangover cure. And while truly the best time to eat the greasy food is before you start drinking to help decrease the absorption of the alcohol into your system in the first place. But if you have a tried and true taco stand you like to visit then go for it!
Filling up your stomach is never a bad choice.
Alcohol is known for making people feel drowsy, but while it can help you fall asleep fast, the quality of sleep when inebriated can be detrimental to actually waking and feel rested. A night of drinking will also lead to more frequent bathroom trips, which means a disjointed sleep and leaving you not well-rested at all.
Alcohol can also block your REM sleep, which is the most restorative sleep during the sleep cycle. Because sleep is so important to your overall health if you’re feeling the after-effects of your alcoholic consumption the best thing you can do is to simply go back to sleep!
So once you wake up, rehydrate and eat a little something, if at all possible the very best thing to do is just to head back to sleep and see if you can’t get into a solid REM cycle.
This might not be possible every time but getting more sleep is going to help your body recover and decrease your hangover symptoms since the only real solution is more time. So sleep through it!
When all else has failed and your headache isn’t going away quickly go ahead and take an anti-inflammatory to ease your symptoms quickly.
Some may choose to take an aspirin before going to sleep to ward off the hangover but there’s no science that it will prevent a hangover from happening.
Using ibuprofen or aspirin can irritate the lining of your stomach, as can alcohol so be careful not to overuse them and consider taking these medications with food to avoid a stomach ulcer. If you are prone to heartburn or nausea an antacid is always an option and while it won’t cure your hangover it can at least help you feel better fast.
Unless you abstain from alcohol altogether (a valid choice) you’ve probably experienced some sort of side effect from drinking. After the fun has worn off, you may be full of regret because let’s face it, hangovers aren’t any fun at all.
While it’s true that only time can bring you back up to your pre-drinking glory, following these suggestions will help you feel better fast and get back to your everyday activities. Drink responsibly, recover quickly, and live your best life.