Having a hangover after a night of drinking too much is something many adults are familiar with. In some cases, you knew the night before you were drinking too much but were having so much fun you kept going, and in other cases, you simply forgot to eat enough or drink water, and ended up with an accidental hangover.
Regardless of the circumstance, it can be extremely miserable when you have a hangover. You often experience symptoms like a headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and weakness. They are symptoms similar to that of the flu, though luckily they don’t last nearly as long.
If you want to avoid going for aspirin or other over-the-counter pain relievers, you can try some of these natural remedies instead.
Before you ever start drinking, you can start treating your hangover by avoiding it altogether. After all, prevention is key for many things, allowing you to avoid the worst of the hangover symptoms, and possibly avoiding them entirely.
The key to preventing a hangover? Preparation! There are a few things you can do leading up to drinking and during drinking that will make a drastic difference in how you feel the next day. Here are a few ways to prevent all those uncomfortable hangover symptoms:
Drink lots of water – To start with, you should be hydrating as much as possible. Drink plenty of water the day leading up to your party or special event, and drink water while drinking alcohol. Either choose a drink with water in it, like a gin and tonic, or have some sips of water while you are drinking your beer or alcoholic beverage. This will help to keep you hydrated, which is imperative if you want to avoid a hangover.
Avoid drinks with sugar – Unfortunately, all those delicious fruity, mixed drinks can do a lot more damage than good. If you tend to go for the sweet mixed drinks like midori sours and margaritas, you are getting a lot of sugar in your drink. Not only is the sugar bad for the waistline, but it can also worsen your hangover symptoms exponentially. Try to stick to the sugar-free drinks like a vodka soda or a light beer.
Choose light-colored liquor – If you are someone that is more into liquor than beer, then your choice in alcohol can make or break your hangover prevention success. It is typically better to go with the light and clear liquors for hangover prevention, such as vodka, rum, and gin. Try to avoid bourbon and whiskey if you tend to get bad hangovers after a night of drinking heavily.
Eat something first – This is probably not the first time you have heard this recommendation, and it shouldn’t be the last. If you want to prevent a hangover, you need to eat something. Drinking on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster. Avoid foods with spices and strong flavors, and instead stick to something light and simple.
Drink slowly – When you drink fast, the alcohol not only hits your system a lot harder, but you don’t realize how drunk you are getting. This tends you to drink more than you normally would, and often leads to a much more severe hangover than you would otherwise have gotten.
Keep reading to find out more ways to relieve hangover symptoms when you’re not so lucky and end up with one.
If you have a hangover, the number one best thing you can do is re-hydrate. Alcohol has a tendency to dehydrate you severely, which is where a lot of the sickness comes from. When you get dehydrated, all of those classic hangover symptoms are felt at a maximum level, such as your headache, dizziness, and nausea or vomiting. If you are vomiting as a result of the hangover, you are becoming even more dehydrated, making water absolutely essential.
Not only is drinking more water the following morning going to help with the hangover symptoms and improve your hydration, but it helps to clear out those alcohol toxins from your body more quickly. This is mandatory!
Drink More Water
To start with, drink plain water when you have a hangover. The type of water and temperature really depend on you, your preferences, and what helps with the nausea. Some people prefer room temperature water as it is easy on their stomach, others find cool or warm water to be more soothing. You might want to make a simple tonic with some ginger and lemon in your water, or drink a cup of tea for the water instead.
When drinking water with a hangover, you don’t want to gulp it or drink too quickly. Sip slowly to avoid more stomach upset.
Try Coconut Water
Coconut water is another great option as it has nutrients that help with the hangover while also providing necessary hydration. You may also want to try coconut kefir, which is a raw coconut water, if you can handle it. However, only drink this if you have had it before and like the taste. Dealing with a hangover is not the best time to try new things.
There are also some other beverages you can drink that will help hydrate you aside from just water. Look for drinks that contain electrolytes, but not a ton of sugar. This might include sports drinks that are sugar-free, your favorite type of tea, or just having a little broth. With dehydration, you lose a lot of necessary salt and electrolytes, so you need to replenish them.
3. Go Back to Sleep
When you wake up in the morning and realize you have a bad hangover, the first thing you typically experience is the pounding headache, often accompanied by dizziness and body weakness. This dizziness can make the nausea you already have much worse.
After you take some sips of water or have a little tea, try to go back to sleep. Even if you don’t fall asleep, rest is really important. Don’t assume you can just get up and go about your day like you normally would. This doesn’t mean you should stay in bed all day, but you should definitely give yourself some time to rest.
If you have to go to work, take a little more time getting up. Give yourself an extra hour of sleep, have a light breakfast with water or a cup of tea, and let your boss know you might be a couple hours late. Skip your daily workout, and cancel plans if you can. The more you try to do, the longer it will take to start feeling better.
The good news is that hangover symptoms typically only stick around for a few hours, and rarely more than 24 hours. The bad news is getting through those first few hours. Sleep is definitely a top priority.
4. Eat Bland Foods
When it is time to get up and start preparing for your day, you don’t want to do so before you eat something. When you have nausea in the morning from a bad hangover, food is probably the last thing you want, but it will definitely help. This is especially true if your hangover is worse because you failed to enough before you started drinking the night before.
Here are some tips for eating when you have a hangover:
Stick to Bland Foods
For starters, you want to stick to bland foods only. Avoid anything with sugar or a lot of spices that can make your nausea worse. You are treating your stomach the same way as any other time you have nausea. Consider the types of foods you eat when you have the cold, flu, or possibly morning sickness if you have ever been pregnant. Some good bland foods include:
Toast – dry or with butter
Don’t force yourself to eat anything that isn’t appetizing. If a banana sounds horrid, skip that and try a few crackers instead.
Remember to eat slowly! Everything you do when you have a hangover should be done slowly and easily. Don’t rush through eating and don’t try to eat a big meal when you are struggling with nausea. Nibble on your crackers, eat just one piece of dry toast, and sip at your broth.
Eat Smaller Meals
Throughout the day of your hangover, eat smaller meals of blander foods until you start feeling better. Even if by lunch your symptoms are starting to subside, it doesn’t mean you should have a big plate of enchiladas or go out for your favorite Chinese food. All the oil and spices can really do a number on your nausea and cause it to come back.
5. Try Herbs
When talking about natural ways to relieve a hangover, it is great to start with drinking water and hydrating your body, getting rest, and having something to eat, but these are not the only hangover cures available. There are also some natural and holistic remedies that can help tremendously, including herbs. Here are some herbs to consider for your hangover:
The first herb that can help with your hangover is ginger. This is what you will see in a lot of teas and hangover tonics, so definitely add it to the rotation. With ginger, it is best to use fresh ginger root by shaving pieces to add to your hangover drinks or foods. Ginger is amazing at reducing nausea and preventing vomiting, as it is easy on the stomach and provides wonderful relief.
Prickly Pear Cactus
This isn’t necessarily an herb you try to relieve a hangover, but might help with preventing one. Studies are still being performed, but it has shown great results in helping to prevent a hangover by taking prickly pear extract a few hours before you start drinking.
Who doesn’t love aloe? This miracle herb helps with so many things from sunburns to headaches, and now you can use it to find relief for your hangover symptoms. Aloe not only helps with your headache, but it can coat your stomach lining to reduce the acidity that is causing your nausea. Try picking up some natural aloe juice.
Lastly, you can try using milk thistle. This is great because it can help to cleanse your liver to reduce the effects of a hangover, and heal your liver which is essential when you drink a little too much. Milk thistle can be found in supplement form, making it very easy to use as a hangover remedy.
6. Take a B Vitamin
Taking vitamins and minerals on a regular basis is always a good idea, whether you tend to get hangovers or not. However, the vitamin that is best for symptoms related to a hangover and for general liver health is the B vitamin.
When you drink too much alcohol, it starts to deplete the vitamins you already have stored in your body. With B vitamins, they are helping to detox your liver, so without enough of this vitamin in your system, it can have some drastic consequences.
You can not only help with your liver, but reduce hangover symptoms just by taking a B vitamin daily, especially the day before and after you intend to drink.
7. Make a Hangover Tonic
The last hangover cure is one that helps to know beforehand. If you are dealing with pounding headache, dizziness, and nausea right now, the last thing you want to do is get in the kitchen and make a tonic. However, this is great if you are thinking ahead.
Here are a couple different options for making a simple hangover tonic:
Make a Healthy Juice Tonic – To start with, you can make a simple juice tonic with fruits and veggies that are easy to digest and will help relieve your symptoms. For this juice, you want to combine carrots, apples, lemon juice, and beets, then add a little ginger root to it for added relief. Don’t have carrots? Try another vegetable instead. Another option is to brew some dandelion root tea, let it cool, then use that with your juice.
Try This Coconut Smoothie – Since coconut water is great for replenishing the hydration in your body, it makes sense that it would also be used for a tonic. This is more of a smoothie than a juice, and uses coconut water with honey, almond butter, banana, ginger root, and a little bit of oatmeal to fill up your belly.