Everyone has a go-to hangover remedy—burnt toast, greasy
food, a Bloody Mary. I even know a guy who swears by the harrowing concoction
called “The Bull’s Eye,” raw egg mixed into a glass of OJ. I'll pass. While the
placebo effect is powerful, there are better ways to silence the house DJ
playing in your skull—ways that actually work.
First, understand that a hangover is caused by more than
dehydration—though it does play a large role. Your body metabolizes alcohol
into acetaldehyde, which is toxic to brain cells, says Robert Swift, M.D.,
Ph.D., a professor at Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction
Studies. Another byproduct of booze breakdown is adenosine, a neurochemical that
dilates blood vessels in the brain and causes a splitting headache. Pile on low
blood sugar, a loss of electrolytes, stomach irritation, and poor-quality
sleep, and it’s no wonder you feel like feel like you’re the last survivor of a
Tarantino movie. (Hurting from more than a hangover? Click here for 10 DIY
Fixes for Every Ache and Pain.)
Don’t feel too shabby? You could be lucky; studies suggest
that 25 to 30 percent of people are virtually immune to hangovers. That, or you
might still be buzzed. It takes a full 8 to 11 hours for your blood alcohol
content (BAC) to hit zero after you reach the amount of booze necessary to
trigger a hangover.
If you raged until last call last night, take precautions now—even if you
Follow these research-proven tips to fend off your nausea,
pounding head, and general hatred of life.
1. Don't Gulp Gallons
You’ve heard that dehydration is a major hangover cause, and
it’s true. The problem: Too much water will only stretch out an
already-irritated stomach, leading to (even more) nausea or vomiting. Instead,
gulp 8 ounces of water every hour you’re awake after drinking, Dr. Swift recommends.
That’d be ibuprofen. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can risk liver
damage after a night of drinking. Because both acetaminophen and alcohol are
metabolized by the liver, boozing disrupts your liver from fully breaking down
the toxins in the pain pills, Dr. Swift says. And aspirin can upset your stomach.
3. Grab Gatorade
After a few cups of water, switch to a sports
drink. “The extra salt helps your body absorb the fluids more quickly,” Dr. Swift
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4. Brew Tea—But Don’t Drink It
Need to look presentable today? Steep black, chamomile, or
green tea bags in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. After you let them cool,
lie down and place a bag over each eye for 5 to 15 minutes. The tannins in the
tea constrict blood vessels, pulling the skin taught to battle puffiness.
5. Eat Oatmeal for Breakfast ...
When researchers gave breakfasts to hungover college students,
those who ate slowly digestible carbohydrates, like oatmeal, performed better
on mood and memory tests than subjects who chose simple sugars. To add protein
and digestion-slowing fiber, stir a tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter into
plain instant oats.
6. ... With a Side of Eggs
The amino acid cysteine might help your liver recover from
the stress of breaking down alcohol. Egg yolks, yogurt, and poultry are good
sources. (Sick of scrambled? Whip up one of these 8 Easy Egg Recipes instead.)
7. Meet with Joe
Caffeinated coffee will increase your alertness and ease the
dilated vessels in your brain, says Frederick Freitag, D.O., medical director of
the Comprehensive Headache Center for Baylor Health Care System in Dallas. Just
limit it two one or two cups to avoid caffeine’s potentially dehydrating
8. Get Busy
Distraction—whether that’s Rock Band, taking down holiday decorations, or working out—will
take your mind off the hangover. It won’t solve anything, but you’ll at least feel better in the
moment. Try the Triple-Set Scorcher, the body-blasting challenge from The
NEW Spartacus Workout—the most popular workout in Men's Health history.