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How to Cure a Hangover.

Updated on February 3, 2013
"Oof... I'm never having another drink ever again."   (Yeah right.)
"Oof... I'm never having another drink ever again." (Yeah right.)

Make Your Hangovers Disappear for Good.

Ahhh…. Alcohol.

The source of many exhilarating evenings, delightful social gatherings, and stories about waking up in locations that make no sense.

The problem with getting sloshed is that if you do it wrong on Friday night it can make you pretty much useless for the entire weekend.

Wouldn't it be great to be able to drink to excess, have a blast with your friends, and then wake up the next day feeling downright sassy and rejuvenated?

If you're all about waking up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed while your friends are shuffling around in their bathrobes with the curtains drawn and their eyes swollen shut, pay attention. I’m going to teach you every trick in the book of hangover prevention and survival.

Abstain.

Have you ever noticed that the designated driver always feels fine the next day? If you want to guarantee a total lack of a hangover, just don’t drink. Maybe this one's a bit obvious, but it sure works!

But you didn’t come here to hear that message, did you? You probably want to get completely wasted with no lingering consequences. No problem.

Those Magic Pills Don’t Work.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but those hangover prevention pills they oh-so-conveniently sell at the liquor store counter are pretty much useless. Most of them just contain vitamins so although they won’t hurt, they're not going to keep you from feeling like crap tomorrow.

If you really want to minimize the unpleasant aftereffects of your libation consumption, read on.

There are some basic principles you should always follow.

Stay in the Clear.  

Got a tequila story? So does everybody.

When you’re drinking hard alcohol, stick to clear stuff like vodka or gin. Non-clear alcohol contains congeners, which are byproducts of fermentation that increase the intensity of a hangover.

If your spirit of choice is clear liquor like vodka, you can improve your next-day chances by ditching the plastic easy-tote flask of discount booze in favor of some top shelf stuff. Higher quality means fewer impurities, which means you’ll feel better tomorrow.

Don’t Mix.

The adage goes: "Beer before liquor, never sicker… liquor before beer, you're in the clear." You’ve heard that before?

As I understand it, this is true for two reasons.

First, if you're already drunk from beer, you will be in a compromised position to accurately gauge when you’ve reached your limit after you switch to hard alcohol. Since liquors are much more concentrated, this is a top-notch recipe for disaster.

Second, carbonation in liquids accelerates their absorption (this is one reason why soda is horrible for you if you're trying to minimize insulin spikes). When you drink a beer, the carbonation causes it to be absorbed more rapidly, and if you dump a bunch of rum in your stomach on top of it, the rum will ride the carbonation and go straight to your system like an IV push. No bueno.

It’s usually a good idea to pick one type of alcoholic beverage and stick to it.

Water is Your Best Friend.

Protip: If you drink some water before you crash, you will feel like a million bucks the next day.

My roommate taught me this trick, which is the best way to avoid a hangover that I've ever encountered. He simply drinks at least one tall glass of water before he calls it a night. He regularly enjoys some fine scotch or a bottle of wine after work, and he regularly gets up no problem at 7 AM to head off to work.

Your body needs water to eliminate the delicious toxins you have been introducing to it all night long. If you are dehydrated while you sleep, you’re going to hurt like hell the next day.

I like to maximize the effect and drink two tall glasses. You may need to get up in the middle of the night and pee, but it’s fully worth it in the long run.

When I remember to use this trick I wake up the next day a little tired, but sans hangover. The trick is to remember, which can be difficult if you’re drinking with the goal of losing consciousness. In that case, please see a therapist.

Another method you can use is to interrupt your alcoholic escapade with a glass of water here and there. This is helpful as well, but more difficult to remember if you're out at a club, and the bar is three people deep.

Cutting Yourself Off? Get the Houseplants Drunk.

Unfortunately, there can be a lot of peer pressure associated with drinking.

Maybe it’s time for you to cut yourself off, but it’s early and you don’t want to be a wet blanket. If you’d like to fit in and give others the perception that you’re matching their own alcohol intake, there are a few things you can do.

You could try pouring your drink in the houseplants when no one is looking, which would be hilarious if you get caught. However, there are better options for covert alcohol avoidance.

Try taking your beverage into the bathroom with you. You can either replace it entirely with water, or just dilute it to your satisfaction. I highly recommend using water from the tap instead of the toilet bowl. Unless you’re pretty well wasted at this point, it will taste better.

The Morning After.

The next day, you'll want to give your body all the right tools it needs to recover: good nutrition, hydration, and exercise.

I highly recommend making raw vegetable juice, as I've yet to find a better hangover cure. If you don't want to mess with juicing veggies, a simple multivitamin should be fine. A multivitamin will even work the night before.

My friend brought out some Flintstones chewable vitamins as a conversation piece one alcoholic evening, and I ate several. I took no other precautionary measures, and I noticed a dramatic improvement in hangover symptoms the next day.

You'll also want to make sure that you get some cardiovascular activity to facilitate your body’s cleansing process. My comrades and I often play beach volleyball after a night of drinking, which does the trick and then some. I recommend at least going for a fast-paced walk or a bike ride.

If you’ve really done a number on yourself, it can also help to sweat it out in a sauna. Just remember to keep a water bottle handy.

Congratulations.

You are now an expert at avoiding the foreseeable consequences of your actions. Now go out and rage!

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