The party’s over, but the hangover is just beginning — Photo courtesy of Image Source / Getty Images
Holidays, celebrations, and those long weekends with friends are a blast and filled with memories that last a lifetime. But sometimes all the fun can lead to the not-so-fun hangover.
We’ve all been there – the hangover symptoms of a pounding headache, queasy tummy, and an overwhelming longing for relief. It’s not just about feeling terrible; hangovers can throw a wrench into any plans, especially if you have travel on the agenda.
Having a plan to either prevent or ease your suffering can be a game-changer. And we’ve tapped some pros, including diet gurus, health geeks, and medical minds, to offer solid tips and tricks for hangover self-care.
Whether it’s chugging water, trying herbal remedies, or checking out your nearest med spa, here are some of the best tried-and-true hangover cures to kick those queasy feelings to the curb.
How do you get rid of a hangover?
Drink lots of water before and during an event to stop a hangover — Photo courtesy of Guido Mieth / Getty Images
One way to get rid of a hangover is preventing it before the revelry begins. Here’s where to start.
Get lots of rest
Celebrations and holidays are fun, but they can also be very stressful, especially when combined with travel. If you are rushed, nervous, or distracted, you are more likely to overindulge.
Before you head out for any event, take a few minutes to prepare yourself. Try meditating, taking a short walk, or applying your favorite calming aromatherapy oils (like soothing lavender).
And don’t forget the beauty of a good night’s sleep. “Travelers can avoid hangovers and jet lag by adjusting their sleep schedule ahead of the trip,” advises Dr. Naheed Ali, M.D., senior editor at Sleep Bubble.
In addition, responsibly used melatonin supplements, ideally under a doctor’s guidance, can sync the body to new time zones and improve sleep quality.
Drink lots of water
All experts agree: Hydration is your secret weapon for preventing and recovering from a hangover.
Alcohol has a way of making your body lose fluids because it hampers the release of antidiuretic hormones. That’s what leads to dehydration and all those pesky hangover symptoms. Get ahead of the game by loading up on water before you start drinking.
Eat a balanced meal
Registered dietitian and food writer Jennifer Pallian highlights the importance of eating a balanced meal before indulging.
“Combining carbohydrates, fats, and proteins before or with your drinks can slow down alcohol absorption,” she advises. “Avoid having liquids by themselves, as research shows they lead to quicker alcohol absorption.”
How to prevent a hangover during the festivities
Stick to clear spirits and steer away from sugary drinks to prevent a hangover — Photo courtesy of The Good Brigade / Getty Images
Pallian recommends you pace yourself by sticking to one drink per hour. This rate aligns with your body’s ability to metabolize alcohol effectively.
Drink water throughout the night
In addition to pacing your drinks, have a glass of water between alcoholic beverages. This keeps you well-hydrated and helps you consume less alcohol overall.
Drink clear spirits
Pallian also gives the nod to lighter-colored drinks, as they have fewer congeners, those tricky compounds that can amp up your hangover. If you’re sensitive to sulfites, wine might be the headache culprit, so proceed with caution. Overly sugary drinks will also contribute to a hangover.
How do you cure a hangover feeling?
Skip the burgers and eat healthy foods like smoothies for a hangover cure — Photo courtesy of Daniel de la Hoz / Getty Images
Chances are if you drink any alcohol, you’ll end up with a hangover to some degree. Thankfully, there are a few trusted hangover cures.
Find the best hangover food
To help you bounce back the next day, Amanda Beaver, a wellness dietitian at Houston Methodist Hospital, advises steering clear of common hangover myths like “hair of the dog” or pain relievers. Neither are friendly to your liver.
“One tool our bodies use to help detoxify alcohol is an antioxidant called glutathione, which can become depleted after a night of drinking,” she explains. To replenish your glutathione levels, load up on quality protein from eggs, chicken, salmon, yogurt, lentils, or oatmeal, along with vitamin C-rich foods like strawberries, tomatoes, and raspberries.
For those not feeling up for solid foods, a smoothie always works. “Make a fruit smoothie with frozen berries, banana, Greek yogurt, nut butter, and almond milk,” Beaver advises. “The resulting smoothie will be full of antioxidants, which help mitigate the inflammatory effects of alcohol.”
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Because alcohol is a dehydrating culprit, rehydration is your ticket to post-celebration recovery. Guzzle down lots of water, which will also aid in the detox process. If things got a bit too wild (hello, vomiting), reach for Gatorade or Pedialyte to restore those lost electrolytes.
You also can kickstart your recovery at the nearest med spa. Kyle Jones, co-founder of iCRYO, an innovative wellness franchise, recommends a hydration IV with fluids, minerals, and electrolytes to get your body hydrated after a night of drinking.
Sweat it out
Another way to flush the toxins from your system is by sweating them out. Jeremiah Shaw, an athlete and CEO of Running Wilder, suggests a quick workout, such as a brisk walk or a gentle jog. “It can help boost your mood and speed up the recovery process,” he adds.
If you’d rather sweat out those toxins without exercising, you can always hit up a gym or spa for a session in an infrared sauna or steam room. And remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Take a hot bath
Kimo Bentley, owner of Kimo Bentley Med Spa, proposes that detoxifying baths with Himalayan pink salt and essential oils like lavender, chamomile, peppermint, and ginger help relax the body and promote detoxification.
Find some herbal relief
Sip ginger tea for soothing relief. Ginger, commonly known for its stomach-soothing properties and for aiding digestion, is an excellent choice for hangovers.
Naturopathic medical doctor Amanda Lucero advises using milk thistle, an herb known for its detoxification properties, which can help prevent and treat hangovers.
Try Chinese medicine
Doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine Dr. Stace Nelson-Hicks suggests using Ge Gen and Ge Hua, which are derived from the kudzu plant. You can usually find these as pills, powders, or tinctures.
Ge Gen can help reduce thirst, therefore, reducing the amount you drink. Ge Hua is traditionally used to treat hangover symptoms, such as headaches, bloating, and vomiting.
Try an Ayurvedic remedy
Chef, author, and nutrition coach Kanchan Koya, Ph.D., recommends tea made with cumin, coriander, and fennel.
“This Ayurvedically inspired spiced tea helps boost sluggish digestion and calms gas and bloating,” she adds.
To make it, take 1/2 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, and fennel in a cup of boiled water, steep for 10 minutes and strain before drinking.”
How long does a hangover last?
The ultimate hangover cure: You just need to ride out — Photo courtesy of Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images
Sadly, how long a hangover lasts depends on the person, the amount of alcohol consumed, and any preventative measures taken before, during, and after the festivities.
The point is: When it comes to dodging those hangover blues, there’s no magic hangover cure that works for everyone. But these expert tips should help.
Experiment and come up with your own recipe for avoiding or quickly overcoming any post-party blahs. Whether at home or if you’re traveling, have a wellness kit (aka, hangover recovery supplies) stocked with hangover remedies like bottled water, electrolyte powders, ginger tablets, and an eye mask.
Herbal tea bags, multivitamins, and a healthy bedtime snack, like nuts or bananas to replace those lost nutrients, wouldn’t hurt either.
That way, the next time you’ve partied a bit too hard, you’ll be ready to bounce back and embrace a new day.
Cheers to a great night and a good morning!