You’re right in the middle of spring break. You and your friends are enjoying some time at a justly famous resort. The night was great. The clubs were amazing. The Margaritas just kept on coming.
Then suddenly it’s the morning after. Your crew has made plans to go hang-gliding later this morning, and there’s absolutely no way you can back out. You need a hangover cure that works well and works fast. What are you going to do?
Why Do People Get Hangovers?
Alcohol is a toxin that compromises the functioning of your nervous system. Your body manufactures an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase that protects you against alcohol’s adverse effects. Your liver and stomach produce enough alcohol dehydrogenase to detoxify approximately one still drink per hour. This enzyme, however, produces dangerous byproducts that linger on in your system if you don’t flush them out.
Alcohol is also a powerful diuretic, which means it stimulates the body to produce excess urine. This leads to dehydration and electrolyte loss. Many of the symptoms hangover sufferers experience, including dry mouth and a pounding headache, are actually related to dehydration.
Most Effective Hangover Cures
• Replenish lost fluids: The most effective hangover cure is water. You need to replenish the fluids you lost through all those trips to the bathroom. Experts recommend drinking a 16-ounce glass of water before you go to bed. Next time you go out drinking, try ordering a glass of water with every cocktail, and alternate drinking the two.
The classic hangover cure is coffee. While the caffeine in coffee may help your headache, caffeine is a potent diuretic as well. Experts recommend limiting your coffee intake on the morning after a heavy drinking session.
• Eat simple carbohydrates: When you drink excessively, your liver is so busy metabolizing alcohol that its usual functions are neglected. These include regulating serum glucose levels. People who’ve been drinking heavily often suffer from low blood sugar. Eating a high carbohydrate snack like crackers or toast will replenish your serum glucose in a hurry.
• Take aspirin or ibuprofen: Over the counter pain medication like ibuprofen or aspirin will definitely help your headache symptoms. Medical experts advise steering away from products containing acetaminophen, though. Acetaminophen is actually hard on your liver, and its therapeutic range is close to its toxic range. When your liver is working overtime, it’s best not to subject your liver to the additional strain of metabolizing acetaminophen.
• Next time, drink in moderation: Okay, this advice won’t cure the hangover you have now, but it will reduce the number of future hangovers. Binge drinking is for losers. It’s best to limit your alcohol intake to one strong drink every hour. That doesn’t mean you need to drink that much, by the way. It means don’t drink more than that amount.
Part of learning how to be an adult is learning how to drink responsibly. Heavy drinking not only gives you hangovers, it can put you at risk for injuries in other ways.