New Years Eve is always a night of parties, good friends, and libations however; the next day can really be a bear to deal with. Here are some tips for taming that bear.
By Suzy Cohen, R.Ph
1. Drink Water.
Alcohol is a diuretic, which means you lose a lot of water after a night of drinking.
As a result, your liver and kidneys can’t rid your body of the toxins that accompanied those five apple martinis.
Gulping gallons of water won’t cure your hangover, but it will rehydrate your parched body and make you feel better, says Suzy Cohen, R.Ph., Lifescript pharmacist.
“My menu would absolutely include an electrolyte drink, such as Gatorade or Powerade,” Cohen says.
She also suggests sipping on a bottle of your kids’ Pedialyte.The faster you restore proper fluid balance, the sooner you’ll feel better. Avoid coffee, or at least stick to decaf. Caffeine, a diuretic, may put pep in your step, but it’ll leave you even more dehydrated.
2. Hair of the Dog.
What about “the hair of the dog that bit you” – drinking more of the previous night’s potion… or poison?
Some claim this popular, albeit unappetizing, antidote is a sure-fire way to feel better. Cohen says it only delays the inevitable.
And it may make your stomach beg for mercy even if you feel better in the short term. If starting the day with a drink triggers a gag reflex, try a Virgin Mary. The tomato juice in this alcohol-free Bloody Mary is high in fructose, which will help your body metabolize last night’s alcoholic cocktails faster.
3. Sweat It Out.
If your body can handle it, drag yourself out of bed and lace up your sneakers, advises Rob Wildman, Ph.D., Lifescript nutritional expert.
Exercise increases circulation, which speeds toxins from cells and tissues. But don’t push yourself too hard. Strenuous exercise may dehydrate you further and make you feel worse. A brief, brisk walk will do the trick.
4. Painkillers, Please!
Avoid acetaminophen, found in over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol, because it can be tough on the liver.
“When it’s combined with alcohol, the damage can be exponential,” Cohen says. So what can you take? Ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil), Cohen says, although all over-the-counter pain relievers go through the liver to some extent. Or skip the pills, she says, and pamper yourself with a hot bath. It’s no cure, but it may relax you.
5. Have Sex.
With your beer goggles no longer working, he might not look as hot as he did last night. But the best help for your hangover could be next to you. Sex releases oxytocin, which increases your threshold for pain, says Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., sex researcher and educator at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University.
Plus, you’ll burn off a few of last night’s liquid calories. Skeptical?
Try it anyway!
6. Take Your Vitamins.
Alcohol depletes your stores of vitamins A, B (especially B6) and C, which can intensify hangover symptoms. Look to B vitamins (especially B6) to help your body metabolize alcohol.
And prickly pear extract, found at health-supplement stores, relieves dry mouth and nausea by reducing inflammation caused by impurities formed during the fermentation process of alcohol.
So when you wake up after a night of partying, pop some vitamins, including B-complex, vitamin C and N-acetylcysteine (NAC).
“The NAC can be particularly helpful in the morning because it wakes your liver up and eases some of the damage induced by alcohol,” Cohen says. It also increases levels of glutathione, a powerful detoxifier for your liver. Wash down your supplements with some orange juice for an extra boost of vitamin C.
7. Sip Skullcap Tea.
The skullcap herb, used to ease withdrawal from tobacco and alcohol, may help reduce hangover symptoms, Cohen sayss. Take it in capsule or tablet form, or sip your way to relief with skullcap tea. Drink a half cup of tea sweetened with honey about every hour until you feel better. You can find skullcap at Whole Foods and most health food stores.
8. Eat Healthy.
Resist the urge to head toward the drive-through for a Mc-anything.
Cohen recommends an easily digestible menu of fruit, toast or a muffin. Wash it down with green tea, a fruit smoothie or fresh carrot juice.Chow down on a banana to increase your meager post-alcohol potassium supplies. Plus, the “world’s perfect food” contains a natural antacid to fight nausea, as well as magnesium to relax blood vessels and ease a headache. While you’re at it, put some honey on that banana. The fructose will help your body metabolize the alcohol faster.
9. Sleep It Off.
Limit hangover-inducing activities to Friday and Saturday nights, so you get a day to sleep away your post-party pain.
If holiday parties or impromptu celebrations land on a “school night,” try to set aside extra sleep time, Wildman says. Nursing a hangover at the office makes for an unproductive workday – or some unwanted talk around the water cooler. Calling in sick once won’t hurt your career, but throwing up on the head honcho’s shoe will.
10. Wait It Out.
Time is the only true cure for a hangover – that’s what it’s going to take the alcohol to leave your body. Still, weekend warriors swear by favorite home remedies, ranging from aspirin to cabbage soup and steam saunas to bacon and eggs. Do any of these countless folk hangover cures really work? In a study published in BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal), researchers answer with a resounding and definitive “no.” After studying a range of hangover cures, they found none significantly improved symptoms such as headaches, nausea or fatigue. The most effective remedy, according to the study? Time, plain and simple.
- HANGOVER HACKS Which You Can Hang Your Hat On (secretsofthefed.com)
- Curing the Holiday Hangover (drmandynd.wordpress.com)
- Hangover helpers: Nine methods to try if you’re suffering from the night before (rapidcityjournal.com)