Unfortunately, rampant enthusiasm has its consequences. In the worst cases those consequences involve waking up in a hospital or jail. But that typically comes from bad luck or inexperience—or if it’s a frequent occurrence, perhaps a sign your alcohol enthusiasm has ventured into darker territories. Much more common, and some say unavoidable, is when having a really good time leads to having a really bad time the next morning: the dreaded hangover.
Hangovers are caused by a variety of factors, most notably: dehydration and the body’s struggle to metabolize the acetaldehyde in your system. The problem being while your body works to process the excessive alcohol its ability to effectively absorb water is hindered—meaning, the liquids you drink tend to flush right through.
Another element that contributes to hangovers is the general depletion of vitamins and nutrients resulting from consuming nothing but liquid carbs and sugar for 8-16 hours. Not to mention the physical exhaustion that standing/dancing/walking/running/giving piggyback rides/copulating over that same period of time will exert.
So what can you do to help your body get through the pain next morning?
In my experience, the process needs to start even before you go to bed. To help build up energy for the fight (and soak up some of the hooch sloshing around inside you) make sure to eat something before you pass out. And drinking a couple glasses of water will go a long way, especially if your end-of-night meal is deliciously salty.
After that, put a some more water by the bed/couch/pile of trash bags in the alley and sleep for as long as possible. Of course, because of the infamous drunk alarm this will probably be for little more than four hours.
If for whatever reason you can’t sleep for half a day (giving your body time to cleanse itself while you are blissfully unaware), you have a number of options when you wake up.
1. Hair of the dog
Hitting the sauce again is a surefire way to get rid of hangover symptoms, but this is a slippery slope. Drinking more simply slows the metabolization of the acetaldehyde, delaying your hangover. This is all well and good if you’re mid-bender. However, be warned that the hangover will come eventually—and it will be cumulatively worsened.
2. Caffeine and aspirin
Labeled the only effective hangover cure by The Telegraph if you don’t have the option of just re-drunking yourself (you know, because it’s Monday morning and your workplace frowns on employees showing up three sheets), this method is pretty effective at combating the symptoms. However, as with option #1, this is only a symptom blocker and the hangover will likely still be there, lingering, once the coffee and painkillers wear off. For an actual cure, you need to balance out all the havoc you wreaked on your body. Which is where these next remedies come in.
I can’t help but give a shameless plug to our buddies over at drinkwel. If you haven’t tried it, they’ve formulated a vitamin supplement especially designed for drinkers that when taken before and after a heavily enthusiastic experience, will prevent/alleviate almost all hangover effects (beyond the general exhaustion previously discussed). This is probably the easiest and definitely one of the most effective methods I’ve come across for actually counteracting the negative effects of boozing.
4. Healthy cleansing
Another (albeit more labor intensive) method of hangover handling comes in the form of a good old, healthy cleanse. Coconut water works very well to rehydrate. Fresh fruits help to replenish your energy with natural sugars. And fiber-heavy, leafy roughage like kale clears the rest of your system. Add some vitamin rich foods and you’ll be feeling ship-shape in no time!
5. Get outside
No matter what your particular cure may entail, there is one more piece to the hangover puzzle. And that is getting the fuck outside. Whether it’s going to the store to buy some eggs, bacon, vodka and tomato juice, hitting the gym to make the whole place smell like old bourbon, or taking the walk of shame—leaving your own, or the person-you-slept-over-with’s house is imperative to clearing your head. You’ll never get anywhere wallowing in misery and regret—termed by our friend Jason “the hangover creepies”—that are the emotional cousins of headaches and nausea. Unless there’s a blizzard, there is no excuse not to cover the essentials with clothing and head out, squinting, into the light of day.
Hair of the dog photo courtesy of tsand, flickr.
Coffee and Aspirin photo courtesy of JGlasen, flickr.
Fruits and vegetables photo courtesy of jamesjyu, flickr.
Sunny morning courtesy of *clarity*, flickr.