As you wake up in the morning with that siren going off in your head, the first place your body naturally wants to take you is to the refrigerator. No, not for another beer or a glass of wine – though you probably cannot stand the thought of more alcohol at this time anyway – but for some good ol’ H2O. Alcohol is naturally dehydrating and what your body needs now more than ever is water. Water will help you get rid of the hangover headache through rehydration. Now you’ve officially begun your journey to rid yourself of that horrible feeling. A good tip to lessen the duration of the hangover is having the foresight to drink water/hydrate simultaneously as you drink alcohol. This way, your body is not too dehydrated the next day.
If you have experienced a hangover before, you know how hungry you feel when you wake up. It’s important to eat starchy foods, such as bread, toast or crackers, since they are easier to digest and help replenish your body’s electrolytes – which you have lost due to drinking and visiting the loo more than usual. Salty food is also a good way to reboot – a full breakfast is what most people live by when they wake up hungover. Enjoy some eggs, toast and bacon with a tall glass of orange juice or a rich cup of coffee. If that doesn’t help a great deal, slap some greens on your plate or in a soup – think spinach, celery, cilantro, etc. Get those electrolytes back!
Maybe you don’t really want to go back to sleep if you’ve just woken up. However, sleep deprivation can worsen a hangover. Though alcohol makes it way easier to sleep, alcohol is not acquainted with the Sandman – alcohol decreases your amount of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep is important throughout the sleep cycle and the lack thereof has negative effects that may lead to difficultly in solving or learning complex tasks. You know when you wake up hungover and everything feels like a huge amount of admin? Yes. A power nap might be just what you need. It’s amazing what an hour or two of sleep will do – try it. The next party can wait.
Remember when you were in high school, doing marathons and you fell? What did your coach tell you? To walk it off or run it off, right? Well with hangovers it’s kind of the same – except you need to ‘sweat it out!‘ This might sound like the worst idea when you are hungover, however, exercise releases endorphins by sending more oxygen to your brain, which in turn makes you feel better and happier. It’s really the same as when you are working for long hours and do a few jumping jacks or take a walk to refresh yourself – when the body is active in that way, it is more productive and happier. So take a light jog or do a few stretches and you’ll feel your mood improving already.
Maybe you mixed drinks the night before and have already done everything on this list, but still have an annoying headache lingering. It might be time to pop a painkiller or a multivitamin. You might have even had a hangover remedy pill if you realised you were going to drink like a fish the night before – most hangover pills are a concoction of vitamins that help replenish the ones you’ve lost during your fun time. So if you don’t have painkillers, multivitamins or a hangover remedy pill, try looking for vitamin B1, B6, C, magnesium and fish oil. Have it with lots of water! Maybe even have another tall glass of orange juice after that, just to be sure.
By Cleopatra Shava