Your night out with friends led to a drink or two more than you planned, and several hours later you’re now paying the price. Your head is pounding, saltines are the only thing that doesn’t make your stomach cringe, and you’re feeling a little unsteady on your feet. Your body is punishing you, and you just need to make it forgive you a little bit so you can move on with your day. You could try a few exercises to lessen the hangover effects, but if the Stairmaster sounds like a torture device, there are a few other steps you can take first.
Employee absenteeism costs American businesses billions of dollars each year, and many are quick to point the finger at hangovers, at least in part. In reality, only about 2 million Americans show up to work hungover. That number sounds large, but is roughly just 1.6% of the workforce, according to FiveThirtyEight’s analysis. If you do need to show up to the office or another important event, however, there are a few tactics medical experts suggest trying to alleviate your symptoms.
Scientists haven’t spent too much time figuring out the best hangover cures, and chalk many “hangover cures” up to folklore. In other words, hair of the dog isn’t scientifically proven to make your hangover go away, nor is a greasy breakfast. Sorry, there’s no medically-backed excuses to drink Bloody Marys and eat bacon here — though you’re welcome to experiment for yourself. There’s no surefire cure, but these steps might make waking up a little better — or at least help to get rid of your migraine.
1. Drink water
Scientists haven’t pinpointed exactly what causes a hangover, but they’re pretty positive the answer has something to do with dehydration as a starting factor. Alcohol is good for loosening inhibitions, but it’s also fantastically skilled at making your body parched like the Saharan in dry season. Your body creates more urine after drinking alcohol, according to the Mayo Clinic, which in turn leads to a greater risk for dehydration. If you don’t drink adequate water to replenish that fluid loss, you’ll get extremely thirsty — not to mention dizzy or lightheaded, hallmark symptoms of a hangover.
Water won’t cure your symptoms quickly, but it will get your body back into balance. On top of that, drinking water in between cocktails or shots might not ward off a hangover completely, but it could lessen the severity of the hangover later on.