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How to cure a hangover - A sceptic's gudie

Updated on April 19, 2015

Ahhhh that age old, head hurting question… How do you cure a hangover? I for one have pondered this problem many a midday where I’m still festering in my pit with the blinds firmly shut and with the duvet up and over my head. So I thought that it was high time that I actually researched hangover cures to once and for all establish whether we’re doomed to suffer for our vices the day after forever more, or whether there are indeed steps that we can take to cure, or at least limit, a hangover. Here I explore some of the common hangover cures (with some not so common) and provide a little background as to whether they have any effect or scientific reasoning behind them to suggest that they could actually cure a hangover.

What causes a hangover?

Other than the obvious answer of alcohol what is behind alcohol consumption that actually causes a hangover in the first place? Well the answer to this is a mixture of dehydration, hormonal changes, spurts of inflammatory molecules, imbalances in our electrolytes and peaks and troughs in our blood sugar levels.


The serious side of hangovers

Whilst the subject of this article may be relatively lighthearted, beyond the inconvenience of a hangover there are some who suffer from what can be particularly serious side effects, such as depression and anxiety, and in these instances those who find this, even to lesser degrees, should speak with a doctor or attempt to abstain.

Feeling a litte... delicate?
Feeling a litte... delicate? | Source

The hangover cures - Myths de-bunked and scientific reasoning explained

Water

If a hangover is caused by dehydration, then it seems only right that rehydrating with water should go some way to curing it. However due to the relatively complex causes of a hangover beyond mere hydration, it’s not quite as simply as that, although consuming around 2-3 litres should help aid that hurting head.

Likeliness of effectiveness: 6/10


Water before bed

Similarly to the above point drinking water before bedtime will serve to rehydrate you as you sleep. However you do need to remember that with water coupled with plenty alcohol drinks, that you may well be visiting the toilet throughout the night.

Likeliness of effectiveness: 7/10


Orange Juice

This comes as somewhat of a personal entrant to the list and for me a glass of cold, fresh orange juice both before bed and in the morning goes some way to helping me cope with even the worst of hangovers.

Likeliness of effectiveness: 7/10


Coffee

There are few coffee or tea drinkers who could face a hangover without a warm cuppa to at least wake them from their rather comatose slumbers, however research has consistently found that caffeine isn’t only ineffective in curing a hangover, but moreover may actually worsen the effects.

Likeliness of effectiveness: 0/10


A full English

Eating a Full English breakfast when faced with a hangover has always been somewhat of a joke when it comes to hangover cures, however recent research actually suggests that a fried breakfast could provide much needed carbohydrates which go on to restore those seriously depleted sugar levels.

Likeliness of effectiveness: 5/10


Aspirin

Aspirin is an essential if you’re trying to tackle a hangover related headache and for this symptom at least will be pretty effective.

Likeliness of effectiveness: 9/10 (at least for the headache part)


Exercise

Exercise may be the most difficult of all hangover cures to get motivated for, and what’s more given that the old adage of ‘sweating it out’ is disproved by the very fact that even 12 ounces of lager takes one hour at minimum to be metabolized, this isn’t going to exactly cure your hangover either. What exercise will do however is produce plenty of those lovely feeling endorphins that will help boost your mood, which will be particularly useful for those who feel fed up when hungover.

Likeliness of effectiveness: 6/10


Vitamins

OK, so this one isn’t so much as a hangover cure as a little helping hand in undoing some of the damage you did the night before.

Likeliness of effectiveness: 0/10


Hair of the dog

If all else fails there’s always one thing that is most certainly cure a hangover, at least for the time being; hair of the dog (otherwise known as a few more drinks) does however store up a hangover for the next day (as well as being officially disapproved by NHS guidelines, which state that you should wait at least 48 hours to drink any more alcohol).

Likeliness of effectiveness: 10/10 (until the next day!)


Hair of the Dog, anyone?
Hair of the Dog, anyone? | Source

Detox Yoga Hangover Workout

Tips for avoiding a hangover to begin with

As well as attempting the above hangover cures you can try to avoid even getting hangover by following these tips.

  1. Never drink on an empty stomach.

  2. Avoid darker drinks (these are known to contain certain chemicals that can cause particularly bad hangovers).

  3. Drinks a few glasses of water or soft drinks between your alcoholic drinks.

  4. Drink a pint of water before going to sleep.

Source

I’d love to hear about how you’ve gotten on with the hangover cures mentioned above and what’s more I’d love even more to hear of your 100% guaranteed cures for my own point of reference.



Walk of Shame Workout: Low Impact At-Home Hangover Cure

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    • Atul Dahiya profile image

      Atul Dahiya 21 months ago

      Nice article.... although I haven't experienced too many hangovers myself but when they do come, no matter what I do, can't seem to shake them off.

    • ShelleyHeath profile image
      Author

      Shelley Heath 2 years ago from Birmingham

      Hey There, Thanks, and I too seem to favour that one, at least for one day and then it's time to face a hangover with a vengeance :)

    • profile image

      Lee Cloak 2 years ago

      A great guide, i always favor hair of the dog myself, a very interesting read, voted up, thanks, Lee

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