Going out for Thirsty Thursday with your work buddies sounded like a great plan, but Friday morning is here and you’re already regretting it. You can feel the hangover convincing you to skip work, ignore obligations, and stay in bed. You might feel like total crap from your drinking escapade, but lucky for you, there are some steps you can take for relief.
When your head is pounding and your stomach is churning, it can be tough to figure out the best course of action. While there’s much speculation about the “best” hangover cure, the truth is scientists haven’t spent a whole lot of time finding a concrete cure. That being said, hair of the dog and a greasy breakfast will not be much help in your recovery, though we’re not judging if you go that route. Instead, we have some better suggestions. Check out our guide to getting over your worst hangovers.
1. Drink water
Though it’s tough to say exactly what causes a hangover, scientists are certain dehydration comes into play. According to Mayo Clinic, you actually produce more urine when you’re drinking, which can lead to a greater risk of dehydration. It’s important to replace the lost fluids by drinking plenty of water before you consume alcohol, in between drinks, and after your final glass of wine to ensure you won’t become dizzy or lightheaded later on.
Water might not be the quick fix you’re likely looking for, but you will feel better after drinking some. If you make it a habit to drink water while you’re out with your friends, you’re likely to have an easier time dealing with the next day, too.
2. Take a pain reliever
If you’re used to grabbing the ibuprofen the morning after your big night out, then you’ll probably want to keep it up. This over-the-counter remedy is simple and effective at warding away the awful headache and nausea that hangovers bring. And, according to Smithsonian.com, aspirin and ibuprofen are better than acetaminophen because of their anti-inflammatory properties. Alcohol causes inflammation in the body, so taking something that combats those effects can aid your recovery significantly. Besides, acetaminophen can damage your liver if you take it while the organ is processing alcohol.
If your stomach is still in knots, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests going easy on the pills at first. Anti-inflammatory meds can cause nausea for those with a sensitive stomach, so be wary of this when your hangover is in full swing. If heartburn is more of the problem, then you can try taking an antacid, too.
3. Give yoga a shot
When you’re hungover, you probably don’t feel like getting out of bed, but trust us, some gentle yoga might be the best thing you can do. You don’t have to go into any really tough moves, but we do recommend trying some of these easy, low-energy poses to bring balance back to your body. Yoga Journal suggests child’s pose as a great way to start your yoga routine when you’re not feeling your best. This move compresses your abs, which works to improve digestion.
You can also try a basic standing forward bend, as suggested by Dr. Deepa Verma per ThePostGame. This move can help with any aches and pains in your muscles while calming your mind and inducing restful sleep. A seated twist is another great move to try, as it stretches and energizes the spine, which can stimulate digestion.
4. Go for resistance training
Working out when you have a hangover might seem like torture, but your body will thank you once you start lifting some weights. We’re not suggesting you go all-out if you’re training when you’re not feeling your best, but picking up some light weights is a good idea. A mixture of yoga and strength training is most likely your best bet, just don’t skip the proper fuel. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy meal beforehand.
Try a bodyweight squat with a push-up. Squat down, placing your arms out in front of you, then follow this move immediately with a push-up. Jump your feet back toward the center, and repeat the move. Some gentle lifts with a cable tower will also do the trick.
5. Try some light cardio
The day you wake up with a hangover is not likely the day you’re going to be training for that half-marathon, but that doesn’t mean you should lie around. Life by Daily Burn says you’ll feel way better if you can get some minor cardio in, like a brisk walk. If you’re having trouble feeling balanced, then try hopping on a stationary bike at the gym for 20 to 30 minutes or going for a swim. Just getting your blood moving with easy movements will help you feel more alive. In the piece, Dr. Robert Czincila, suggests drinking plenty of fluids before starting your workout.
6. Stock up on aromatherapy oils
When the cans of ginger ale and yoga poses just don’t seem to be cutting it anymore, try stocking up on some essential oils to help ease your migraine and calm your stomach. According to Essential Oils, there’s no substitute for rehydrating and eating nutritious foods when you’re hungover, but using oils can help you feel less sickly.
Peppermint oil, for example, is great for treating nausea and headaches. It may even help you get some energy back if you combine it with lemon or orange. You can try rubbing peppermint oil on your temples to ease a headache, or onto your stomach if you’re feeling ill.
7. Keep key toiletries handy
If you woke up with a hangover but have places to be, staying in bed all day likely isn’t an option. In this case, it’s best to freshen up as much as possible. Make sure to brush your teeth before leaving the house, as even this simple step will make you feel cleaner and remove any leftover traces of alcohol that may have lingered. And take a travel-size mouthwash with you so you can sneak in the bathroom to freshen up whenever necessary.
You may also sweat more after a night of drinking, says MDhealth.com, so your bathroom essentials can really help. Make sure you wear deodorant and bring it along with you to smell fresh all day. You’ll probably feel more refreshed, too.
8. Opt for caffeine-free soda
If you drink caffeine-free soda when you’re sick, you might want to start doing the same when you’re hungover. In a study performed by Chinese researchers, 57 different beverages including teas and carbonated beverages were tested to see how they affected alcohol metabolism. They found Sprite was the best for combating hangovers.
According to Livestrong.com, there’s an enzyme in your liver that helps break alcohol down into acetic acid. This enzyme is called aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). The researchers in the study found Sprite speeds up this breakdown process faster than the other beverages. Though more research needs to be done on the matter and no human subjects have been tested for this, it might be a good excuse to reach for a soda.
9. Get some sleep
It sounds like a no-brainer, but we can’t stress it enough — sleep is vital in getting over your hangover. The trouble is it’s common to toss and turn throughout the night after you’ve had quite a few alcoholic beverages. Luckily, Lifehacker has some tips you should try before your head touches the pillow.
Try taking a small dose of ibuprofen within an hour of when you’re planning on going to sleep to help ward off the eventual headache you’ll awake with in the morning. Also, eat a snack before you go to bed, preferably something high in fiber like fruits or vegetables. Though these foods will slow down your body’s ability to process alcohol a bit, they’ll help settle your stomach. And if possible, let yourself sleep for as long as you can.
10. Head outside
It’s tough to leave the comfort of your bed when you’re not feeling your best, but getting out of your room and into some fresh air may be just what you need to feel better. Stepping outside isn’t going to cure the headache and nausea; however, it can help improve your energy and attitude. Health explains getting out into nature, even if it’s just for a quick 15 minutes, will give you a major mental boost. You’ll likely come back from your walk feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of your day. This is also a great idea for those who have gone to work hungover. Try taking a short walk on your lunch break to improve your focus.
11. Sip ginger tea
Reaching for a warm cup of tea will bring you comfort when you’re not feeling your best, and ginger tea is best for hangovers. Reader’s Digest says ginger is great for settling stomachs, so it’s important to incorporate it into your diet if nausea is your most common hangover symptom. If you’re not a tea drinker, then you can also try sipping some ginger ale (get a kind with real ginger in it) or eating pickled ginger. But tea has one added bonus — you can add honey.
Honey helps your body burn off the alcohol in your system because it contains fructose, the Reader’s Digest story says. When you drink ginger tea and add honey, you’re getting a two-for-one remedy that can’t be beat.
12. Shower and get ready for the day
When you’re not feeling your best after a night of drinking, getting a nice warm shower might be the best course of action. Better yet, if you choose refreshing products like Wen’s Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner, you’ll feel naturally more awake from the scent. This cleansing conditioner is an all-in-one formula too, so you don’t need to waste time with different shampoos and conditioners if you hit snooze one too many times before getting up.
It’s also important to make sure your face is looking fresh before you head into the office. When you head into work, don’t talk about your big night out with your co-workers, either. That’s an even bigger giveaway to how you’re really feeling.
13. Reach for pretzels and a banana
You may be tempted by a greasy plate of home fries, but the perfect hangover snack may actually be a handful of pretzels and a banana. According to U.S. News & World Report, your hangover is causing you to feel sluggish because your blood sugar levels are probably low. Frequent urination is also brought on by drinking, which can cause low potassium and sodium levels. To replenish these lost nutrients, bananas and pretzels are key. The bananas offer simple sugar and potassium, and the pretzels offer easily-digestible carbs and salt. These two foods are easy on the stomach, too — good news for those who experience nausea during their hangovers.
14. Grab a pear
If you aren’t too keen on bananas, there may be another fruit that can help you with your dreaded hangover symptoms. Professor Manny Noakes, the lead researcher for a project testing how drinking Asian pear juice can affect hangover symptoms, tells CSIRO blog the fruit may help alleviate ill effects by lowering blood acetaldehyde levels. There’s only evidence to support consuming pear juice before you start drinking will help with your hangover, though. And we don’t yet know anything about consuming the whole fruit.
15. Add magnesium to your diet
There’s no doubt alcohol wreaks havoc on your body, but a certain mineral may be able to help even your worst hangover symptoms: magnesium. According to Everyday Health, this mineral can help break down alcohol. Unsure of how to get your magnesium fix? Go for the dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens, says another Everyday Health story. Nuts, seeds, fish, soybeans, avocado, bananas, and even dark chocolate are also rich in magnesium. The recommended daily intake is around 320 milligrams for women and 420 milligrams for men, so eat up.