Hangovers are one of life’s greatest torments. It’s a terrible feeling, and one that you can only blame on yourself. It comes at you after a night of hedonistic debauchery, sliding in through the curtains to rouse you in the early hours. It taps at your forehead as you gain a bit of consciousness and says, “Hey, it’s me. I’m bored, so I’m gonna be on your case all day my friend, and there’s nothing you can do about it!”
Yes. You signed a contract with the devil as soon as you took that first sip. Like Robert Johnson at the crossroads, you sold your soul for a good time. The only difference being that Johnson got to play blues guitar for the rest of his days. You just get a case of the blues for a day or two.
Why do we get hangovers?
Hangovers, while still not fully understood, can be put largely down to dehydration. Think about how many trips to the bathroom you took last night. Five? Six? And what did you replace that lost fluid with? Water? I don’t think so. Well, alcohol dehydrates you. A lot. By not compensating with water, you’re setting yourself up for a desperate hangover.
Others suggest that a lack of salt, sugar and other minerals are to blame for the hangover. Alcohol is a diuretic and, as such, you’re expelling a lot of minerals. These need to be compensated for, and unsurprisingly, beer doesn’t contain the necessary requirements. A late night hamburger on your way home might go a bit of the way to helping you out the next morning, but it’s no guarantee.
What is the best remedy for a hangover?
While there are no proven cures for a hangover, there are plenty of so-called “folk remedies.” With the above in mind, you can safely say that chugging a couple of glasses of water before you go to bed will help you out in the morning. But, it’s very difficult to remember this when you’re stumbling through the house at 5am.
Most of us don’t even consider the possibility of a hangover once we’re a few drinks in. So, maybe it’s best just to accept that it might happen and be prepared.
As previously noted, you’re probably lacking salt, sugar, and water. Keep sipping on that cup of water that you’re holding in your trembling hand. You’ve got to rehydrate yourself. A Gatorade is also a good choice, as it’s full of sugar and electrolytes which will do you a ton of good.
Some say that coffee can help, though this does run the risk of generating a bit of anxiety to add to the fear of what you may have done or said the previous night. It’s a totally subjective piece of advice.
Foods that will help
Depending on your specific type of hangover, the cure can be difficult to achieve. If you’re puking up the contents of your stomach, eating is going to be very difficult. Once you feel your stomach is empty, try soothing it with some toast or plain waffles, and water. These are possibly the easiest things for you to retain at this point. Got them down? Good. You’ve lined your stomach sufficiently to try moving on to something more substantial.
If your stomach’s not the problem, but more so the headache and nausea, a good bacon and eggs breakfast will help you out. The salts and protein will offer some beneficial nutrients to ease you back into the day.
Otherwise, when you’re ready, eating some greasy fast food will actually really help. All that salt and fat will go a long way, if you can keep it down. Most of us won’t be able to stomach anything for the majority of the day. Nibble away at small things—gummy bears, toast, crackers, whatever. Then, when you’ve at least soothed the headache and tender stomach, eat a burger or some pizza later on to help with the nausea you no doubt still feel.
Ultimately, prevention is the best cure.
So, whilst there’s little clinical evidence to support any of this advice, from experience, we all have our little ways of getting through the hangover. A nice breakfast, lots of water or Gatorade, and an all round lazy day of self-pity are probably the best things you can do.
If you’re clever, the best thing to do is have a substantial meal before you start drinking. This helps to slow down the body’s absorption of alcohol and will definitely help prevent the assault on your body and mind the next day. Grab a McDonalds on your way to the bar, or cook yourself a bowl of pasta at home. Anything substantial enough in your stomach prior to that first drink is going to help.
Good luck, my friends! Party hard. But party responsibly.