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Getting Some Relief From Your Hangover

Updated on April 20, 2009

If you have ever suffered from a hangover then you probably want to know a few things to avoid them in the future. If you are one of many who continues to suffer from hangovers (perhaps each weekend) then you are sure to need some good advice about getting relief from your hangovers. There are some things you can do the night before to help avoid hangovers all together, but this doesn't always work if you drink in excess. With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to help with the hangover the next morning.

What Causes a Hangover?

  1. Dehydration. Many of the symptoms that people complain about with a hangover is from dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic which causes increased urination and dehydration in the body. This dehydration causes headaches (most common), muscle aches, tiredness, dry mouth, and can even cause tremors.
  2. Lowered Blood Sugar. Drinking alcohol makes it harder for the liver to break down sugar and supply it to the blood (and brain). This lowers your blood sugar levels, makes it harder to concentrate, and it is also likely to make you feel fatigued.
  3. Vitamin and Nutrient Deficiency. With the increased urination and the breakdown of alcohol your body ends up with some vitamin and nutrient deficiencies which add to your feeling icky.
  4. Toxins In The Body. Toxins also cause issues for you. These build up in your system. Normally your body takes care of them, however while it is breaking down the alcohol it has a hard time taking care of other things. This is why smoking and other drugs can increase the effects of a hangover by increasing the number of toxins in the blood.
  5. Withdrawal. While it isn't always easy to understand, your body is going through withdrawal symptoms of the alcohol. This can make you feel pretty yucky as well.

Working On Preventing a Hangover

There are a number of things that you can do to help prevent a hangover. These things will make it easier for you to enjoy your night, without a horrible morning looming on the sky line.

  • Know your limits (and stick to them). Hangovers are usually caused from drinking too much (some get them from certain types of alcohol). If you know and stick to your limits then you will prevent the hangover!
  • Eat before you drink. Drinking on an empty stomach makes the alcohol easy for the body to absorb, and often too fast. If you eat before you drink you can help prevent the hangover. You can also choose foods that will make a difference. It is best to avoid high fat and deep fried foods which make digestion slow and can make hangovers worse. Instead choose starchy foods such as pasta, breads, and potatoes which help with absorption. A glass of milk can also coat the stomach to protect it from the negative effects of alcohol.
  • Choose your drinks carefully. There are tons of choices to choose from. However, your choices can make a difference in how you feel in the morning. The darker the drink the more things that it has in it that is likely to make you feel icky. Choosing vodka and gin over whiskey and red wine can make a huge difference. You should also mix them with juices rather then carbonated beverages. One final piece of advice is to drink one or two types of drinks in an evening and not mix it up with each round. Oh, and as the saying goes, "Liquor before beer in the clear, beer before liquor never sicker." This has to do with the carbonation and how it makes your stomach feel.
  • Drink. Yes I know that was rather the point, but we aren't talking about drinking alcohol based drinks here. You should have a non-alcoholic drink between each drink. Water is a good option which helps keep you hydrated (it will also make you feel the alcohol more as it helps your blood move through your body). Juice is another great option because it helps keep your blood sugar levels even. Juice also works well if you are worried what your friends will think. After all they aren't going to know that you are drinking juice and not alcohol with a juice mixer. You shouldn't drink soda or other carbonated beverages which make you dehydrated and can cause negative effects with your alcohol.
  • Go slow. It may not sound fun and drinking games aren't going to help, but it can make a world of difference. It takes 1-2 hours to get rid of each drink that you have (depending on how much alcohol is in it). Therefore it works best if you drink at a rate that is at least close to allowing your body to get rid of the alcohol.
  • Avoid other drugs. There are many people that love having a smoke with their drinks, or even partake in other drugs while drinking. These things may seem fun, but they will make it harder for your body to deal with the alcohol which will make it more likely that you will end up with a hangover.
  • Eat and drink before bed. Before you finally hit the sack have a large 32 ounce glass of water. It is also a good idea to add a few crackers or toast with honey or a banana. This will help with absorption and your blood sugar.
  • Skip the pills. Most of us have always popped some aspirin or other pain reliever before we go to bed as preventative medicine. However these medications can have some serious side effects on the liver when mixed with alcohol. It is best to skip them and wait till morning.

Preventing a hangover doesn't have to be hard. However, it does mean that you will need to pay attention to what you eat and drink. You will want to go slow enough that you keep most of your senses avoiding over drinking and passing out.

Avoid "The Hair of the Dog That Bit You"!

Many people recommend taking "the hair of the dog that bit you". This is a phrase that refers to having a beer or other alcoholic beverage in the morning. This is a bad idea. Your body is working on getting rid of all the toxins it has had, you don't need to add more to the list. It does often make you feel better for awhile (because it stops your body from going into withdrawals), but it isn't worth it in the long run.

Treating the Hangover Once It Is Here

Whether you stuck to the rules the night before or got carried away and are feeling it this morning, you can treat your hangover with some success. It isn't always easy and often requires you to go against your natural desires.

  • Take your pain medicine now. You weren't supposed to take pain medicine last night, but now you can. It is best to take aspirin or ibuprofen and not Tylenol (or generic version). This is safest for your system.
  • Drink more water. It is important to get your body hydrated again. Juice, milk, and even milk shakes are other good options. While many people suggest coffee, this is a bad choice because it will help dehydrate your body and can make your headache worse.
  • Eat. Yes, I know that chances are pretty good your tummy isn't thinking about food, but it can help get your body back to normal. Crackers or toast can help with nausea. Eggs help your body get rid of toxins (which you put into your body plenty). Bananas and chicken noodles soup are also two good options that are gentle on the system and packed with nutrients that help balance you out.
  • Exercise. I know it is hard to drag yourself to the bathroom let alone anywhere else. However exercise helps to increase your oxygen levels and helps you sweat out toxins. Going for a walk around the block can make a huge difference.
  • Rest. Once you have drank a lot of water and other good fluids, eaten, and gone for that walk it is best to rest. Your body has been put through a lot. It is best if you can take it easy now.
  • Keep those fluids coming. While resting you need to work on keeping those fluids coming. Your body needs to replace a lot that was lost in the night. Be kind to yourself.

Your best bet will always be to limit what you drink and watching your limits. However, doing some preventative things will help you out. If you get carried away or you misjudged then a few good tips can help you feel better quicker.

What About Some Fancy Cocktail?

We have all heard of those horrible cocktails that are supposed to be miracle cures. Toss in a few raw eggs, juices, hot sauce, and maybe a little of this and that. Many of these drinks work because of the ingredients in them. If we look at why we get hangovers it isn't surprising that these gross cocktails work. After all, eggs will help get rid of toxins, juice helps our blood sugar and the vitamin deficiency issues, and other ingredients can also contain nutrients and such. Of course, you could do the same thing with cooked eggs, toast, a banana, and a glass of juice. You don't have to be gross to get it done!

With some smart choices you can avoid the side effects of drinking too much and you can treat the problem once it hits you. Be smart!


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  • brad4l profile image

    brad4l 8 years ago from USA

    If you are able to safely take it, aspirin and a lot of water can really help with a hangover. At least for me anyway. After my stomach settles, I tend to like something really greasy and fatty too. Although to be honest, I don't really drink all that much...