Hangovers and How To Manage Them

hungover

Let me be clear. I am not suffering from a hangover. I have turned into a teetotaler in my old age. I will occasionally have a beer, very rarely have a cocktail, and never drink wine. So hung over is something I have not been in perhaps decades.

Oh, but that does not mean that I didn’t wake up many a morning back in the day on the bathroom floor with my arms wrapped snugly around the porcelain goddess.

I vividly remember the aching head, the sick-to-my stomach feeling, the dizziness, the thirst, and the general sense of confusion when trying to remember what had happened the night before that landed me in a tight embrace with the toilet.

Who among you has never experienced a hangover? It’s quite common, you know. One study noted that more than 75% of people who’ve consumed alcoholic beverages have experienced a hangover. Many have missed work or school because of their hangovers.

So fess up, you’ve woken up with a hangover, right?

Hangovers have been around and acknowledged since at least biblical times. I know I’m the least likely person to be quoting a verse from the Bible, but, “Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink” (Isaiah 5:11). Woe unto them indeed!

Hair of the dog

Of course, the best advice for not waking up with a hangover is to not drink too much the night before. But, you know, shit happens.

V8 Bloody MaryI was once told that the best way to deal with a hangover is to have a drink, like a Bloody Mary. Especially one made with V8 Bloody Mary mix.

But that is apparently an old wives’ tale. Alcohol may temporarily make you feel better, but it will ultimately dehydrate you and leave you feeling worse later on in the day.

So how should you deal with a hangover? Here is a compilation of suggestions I’ve come up with after an exhaustive search on Google:

  • Drink water. After a night of excessive drinking, your body is absolutely parched. Since many of the negative symptoms of alcohol derive from the dehydration of the body, you need to rehydrate. Coconut water or sports drinks, as well as clear, carbonated beverages like ginger ale or Sprite might also help.
  • Take Advil. Or aspirin. Some sites warn against Tylenol. Tylenol, which is acetaminophen, has been shown to have liver-damaging reactions with alcohol metabolites.
  • Drink caffeinated coffee — or don’t. Some “experts” warn against drinking coffee if you have a hangover. They say coffee further dehydrates you and is acidic. But others suggest that a cuppa Joe helps you to wake up and feel alert. If you are going to drink coffee, though, it might be wise to take some Advil with your coffee. And drink plenty of water as well, since caffeine causes dehydration.
  • Eat toast and crackers. These foods alleviate nausea and help your body soak up the alcohol in your system. Some sites also recommend a combination of bananas and pretzels, since both salt and potassium are electrolytes that hold water to decrease dehydration.
  • Drink tea. Ginger or peppermint teas can reduce nausea and motion sickness. Green tea is also known to be helpful in stimulating key detoxification pathways.
  • Have sex. There is no research that shows that sex will make a hangover go away, but maybe it will make the time go faster and possibly even make you forget about how miserable you’re feeling.

So there you have it, my friends. If you drink, don’t drive. If you drink a lot and wake up the next morning with a horrible hangover, have sex.

You’re welcome.

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