In general, the more you drink on a night out, the worse your hangover will be the next morning. But what, exactly, causes a hangover? The next-day nausea and headaches of hangovers can be caused by a few factors. Consuming alcohol:
There is one known and tested hangover cure: time. However, that could mean eight to 24 hours of suffering before the symptoms are gone. However, there are some ways to reduce or even avoid the hangover nausea, headache, fatigue, and dizziness, and they are actually backed by science and evidence. Here are some hangover cures to try:
Alcohol can quickly dehydrate a person. It causes the body to produce more urine, leading to dehydration through the loss of fluid and electrolytes. Drinking water is likely to help lessen hangover symptoms associated with dehydration, or even prevent them. Also, drinking fluids that contain electrolytes, such as sports drinks and coconut water, will help to replenish what your body has lost, which should help to decrease the misery. So if you've been drinking, make sure to balance your alcohol intake with water or drink a glass or two before going to sleep. You'll wake up feeling much better than you would otherwise.
"Hair of the dog" is short for "the hair of the dog that bit you," an expression meaning that partaking in a small portion of the substance that ailed you can actually relieve its negative symptoms. Drinking alcohol causes methanol to be converted into the toxic compound formaldehyde, which could be the culprit for some hangover symptoms. According to this theory, drinking a small amount of alcohol when you have a hangover can stop this harmful conversion. It's the same concept as weaning off any drug causing withdrawal symptoms, though there are tons of claims that this remedy is entirely a myth.
When you drink alcohol excessively, your blood sugar can fall, and low blood sugar can lead to hangover symptoms such as nausea and fatigue. Another thing that can happen is your body's vitamins and minerals become depleted. So, eating a healthy breakfast can bring both your blood sugar as well as your vitamin and mineral levels back up to speed, thereby decreasing the hangover symptoms. Foods linked to helping hangovers include cereals with lots of vitamins and minerals, B-rich whole grains, eggs, grilled vegetables and orange juice.
Alcohol is a depressant and leads to slowed brain activity. This then leads to delayed release of endorphins, a natural hormone released by the brain that makes you feel good and regulates your mood. Exercise can assist in stimulating the release of those endorphins, which will make you feel less fatigue and improve your mood. It will also and get your blood moving so the process of clearing your body of those alcohol-related toxins is accelerated.
With that in mind, there are some critical factors to consider when using exercise as a hangover remedy. Your body is already dehydrated, so while exercising it is imperative that you stay hydrated by drinking lots of water so you don't become more dehydrated. Also, before you begin your workout, make sure you get that healthy breakfast in, including plenty of carbs, so you have enough energy and don't deplete yourself even more. Your safest bet is to keep your workout light after a night of heavy drinking.
Consuming copious amounts of alcohol can cause a disturbance in the sleep cycle that can lead to less sleep or reduce the quality of your sleep. Lack of sleep is likely to make your hangover worse by worsening the fatigue, headaches, and irritability. If you can take a long nap after a long night of drinking, this rest will help your body recover and make the symptoms of the hangover less oppressive on your body.
Congeners are chemical by-products that are toxic and can be found in alcohol as a result of the ethanol fermentation process. Research has shown that alcohol with higher amounts of congeners tends to increase both the severity and frequency of hangovers. It's also possible that congeners reduce the speed of your metabolism, making your hangover symptoms last longer. While this is not a hangover cure, it can significantly reduce the effects.
Alcohol with high levels of congeners tends to be darker, including bourbon, tequila, whiskey and red wine. Alcohol with lower levels of congeners is lighter in color, such as vodka, gin or rum. Beer varies widely in congener content, but heavier beers tend to have more congeners.
While this hangover remedy has not been extensively researched, some studies show a relationship between hangover relief and certain supplements. Here is a list of hangover supplements to note: