From pickles and an ice-cold shower to blue Gatorade (and only blue Gatorade), it seems like everybody has his or her own surefire hangover cure. The folksier these remedies get, the harder it becomes to separate good ideas from the bad. When you're ready to avoid another Sunday nursing a pounding head and a queasy stomach, it's time to move on from the sage advice of your old college roommate and start listening to science.
How to Beat a Hangover
Understanding the enemy is key to knowing how to reduce the duration of a hangover. During a night out, the beer, wine, and booze you consume affect your system in various ways. Alcohol is a skilled, versatile fighter: Think Jackie Chan but definitely meaner and with a 150% markup.1
Its chief weapon is dehydration. (That's why your most responsible friend always matches every Tequila Sunrise with a glass of water.) Draining your body of fluids isn't the only way a cocktail can wreck your plans, though. If you want to be brunch-ready, it's best to have a few hangover-busting cards in your back pocket.
Healthy Tricks to Feel Better After a Night Out
Just like toddlers, trains, and the filmography of Adam Sandler, your body thrives on predictability. When you overindulge, you disrupt your system's routine. Here are three ways to relieve a hangover, reclaim control and start feeling better faster.
Replace Lost Fluids
As noted previously, drinking severely dehydrates you. This contributes to the classic hangover symptoms:
- Excessive thirst
When you return home after your big night out, hydrate before you hit the sack. Downing a small lake's worth of H20 isn't a foolproof way to avoid feeling like you got hit by the No. 11 bus, but it helps.
Eat Some Carbs
Drinking lowers your blood sugar levels.2 So, a night at the club will most definitely wreak havoc on your blood sugar — especially if you forget to eat. Depriving your brain of one of its primary power sources like this contributes to a pair of hangover hallmarks: headaches and exhaustion.
When morning dawns and all you want to do is burrow under a blanket and binge-watch "The Office" for the next 10-12 hours, bring some fruit juice and eggs on whole-grain toast into your Netflix cave and help your blood sugar return to normal.
Banish Toxins From Your Body
As tasty as an imported IPA or umbrella-laden cocktail may be, alcohol is still toxic to your system. Thus, one of the best ways to avoid a hangover all together is to eliminate those contaminants before they're absorbed by your digestive system and bloodstream.
Take Polisorb while your tummy's still full of booze (think: when you get home, not when you wake up), and it can help flush those once-delicious pollutants out of your body. Make no mistake: Polisorb isn't a hangover cure. It works with your body's existing cleansing processes to round up toxic substances and eliminate them before they become a bigger problem. You might think of it like a booze bounty hunter.
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Does a Hangover Cure Exist?
From "the hair of the dog" to herbal supplements, there's no shortage of products and plans billing themselves as hangover cures. In reality, there is no magic cure for being hungover. Think about it: If there was a cure, it would be a pantry staple, right alongside bread, milk, and, ironically, a nice pinot noir.
Ultimately, the only way to eliminate the threat of a hangover is to stick to soft drinks and water. If that's not part of your plan, then preparation is key. Minimize distress by making smart choices when you get home and before you hit the bar, club, or party.