If you love a good time more than most, you may make it your personal mission to discover the ultimate hangover cures. And why not? If you want to be productive the day after your night-time shenanigans, you need some recovery tips that will take you from feeling rundown to on your A-game in no time.
Unfortunately, all the hacks you’ve likely heard are little more than wives tales that we party people tell ourselves to justify that next drink. After all, how can you argue with “just one more” when the hair of the dog served with a greasy breakfast promises to cure all the next day?
While we don’t want to argue with the sentiment behind these myths, we must debunk the myths themselves. We’re not doing so because we want to burst your bubble but rather, because we want to truly teach you how to help a hangover.
Causes of a Hangover
To understand why some tricks work and others don’t, it may help to first understand why hangovers occur in the first place. Below are a few of the top causes of hangovers:
Acetaldehyde: Acetaldehyde is the first byproduct of alcohol once your liver starts to detoxify it. Researchers estimate that the compound is 10 to 30 times more potent than the alcohol from which it is derived, and several recent studies indicate that it is the main cause of the typical hangover symptoms, including flushed skin, excessive sweating, nausea and vomiting.1
Hormone Imbalance: Studies show that alcohol inhibits the release of vasopressin, a hormone that communicates with the kidneys regarding fluid retention. When vasopressin isn’t present, the kidneys will release fluids rapidly, leading to dehydration. Dehydration does not necessarily cause hangover symptoms, but it certainly exacerbates them.
Inflammation: Alcohol may trigger responses from your immune system that result in physical symptoms, such as memory issues, decreased appetite and the inability to concentrate.
Irritation: Once it enters the system, alcohol increases the production of stomach acid, which delays the organ’s ability to empty. As a result, waste may sit in your stomach longer, leading to nausea, pain, vomiting and diarrhea.
Sleep Disturbances: Though alcohol can make you sleepy, it can keep you from reaching deeper levels of sleep. As a result, you may wake up feeling tired and groggy the next morning.
Now that you understand a bit better why hangovers occur, let’s explore the top hangover myths.
Myth #1: Hair of the Dog
True, a bit of hair o’ the dog the next morning will replace the spins and splitting headache with more feel-good sensations, but continuing to drink the next morning only prolongs the inevitable. Once that Bloody Mary wears off, the hangover symptoms will catch up to you, and likely with greater gusto.
Myth #2: Drink Coffee in the Morning
Coffee may help with the fatigue aspect of a hangover, but will simultaneously worsen other symptoms. This is because, while the lingering alcohol raises your blood pressure, the caffeine reduces swollen blood vessels, a combination that may end up worsening an already pounding headache.
Myth #3: Take Medicine Before Bed
If you have the wherewithal to think about the next day’s hangover the night before, you may be tempted to get ahead of it by taking some pain relievers. When you wake up, the medicine will have kicked in and you’ll be hangover-free, right? Wrong.
Most pain relievers work like band aids — they mask the symptoms for a few hours but, when they wear off, the pain is still there. If you take a pain reliever before bed, its effects will more than likely wear off before you even have the chance to enjoy them.
Myth #4: Greasy Meals the Next Day
Though little sounds better than a greasy breakfast burrito or sandwich the morning after going hard, don’t let your cravings fool you. Alcohol cuts right through grease, rendering that extra side of bacon useless for its intended purpose. The grease may also end up upsetting your stomach even further, especially if you’re not used to such heavy meals.
Myth #5: Working Out
You may have heard of the old sweat-it-out trick. We’re not sure who was crazy enough to come up with this one, much less try it, but we do know that by the time you’re feeling well enough to exercise, the alcohol is already out of your system.
Myth #6: Charcoal Pills
Activated charcoal pills are among the latest trends in hangover prevention, but it turns out they’re more bunk than beneficial. In fact, though the available research on their effectiveness for sponging up alcohol is mixed, alcohol moves too quickly from the stomach to the bloodstream for charcoal pills to do any good.2 By the time charcoal pills are ready to absorb the alcohol in the stomach, the latter is already gone.
How to Actually Ease Your Hangover Symptoms
Now that you know which hangover hacks don’t work, let’s explore some that do. Below are hangover prevention tricks to help you through the next day.
Don’t Drink on an Empty Stomach
Eating before drinking serves two purposes: One, it slows the absorption rate of alcohol into the bloodstream, preventing you from getting too drunk too quickly. Two, it can keep your blood alcohol concentration levels low, thereby minimizing potential hangover effects.
Polisorb is an innovative, one-ingredient remedy that binds to harmful substances within your digestive tract and moves them out quickly. It works quickly, providing relief in just minutes. For optimal results, make Polisorb your last shot of the night (when the alcohol is still in your system) and first thing you drink when you wake up the next morning.
Your "Get Ish Done the Next Day" Hangover Hack Shop Hangover Relief
Drink Water While You Drink
Another tried and true hangover prevention hack is to drink one glass of water for every drink you have. The water can keep you hydrated and reduce symptoms of headache, fatigue and thirst the next day.
Eat Healthy Meals the Next Day
If you did more drinking than eating the night before, your blood sugar levels may be low, which will only exacerbate hangover symptoms. The best way to combat the symptoms of hypoglycemia is to eat a breakfast rich in vitamins and minerals.
Easing hangover symptoms is possible, just not with the typical hangover hacks. If you truly want to feel good after a night out, ditch the myths and try the tricks that actually work.