Eating, drinking and making merry can be a blast, but you may pay the price the next morning with nausea, fatigue, dizziness and headache — a.k.a., the dreaded hangover. Here are some proven ways that will help you bounce back faster.
Because alcohol is a diuretic that causes your kidneys to release more water, hydrating before a hangover can minimize dry mouth, thirst, light-headedness and any weakness you may experience. “Increasing water intake in general will help with this,” Dr. Kimberly Sackheim, a pain management specialist in New York City, shared. Beverages that contain electrolytes, such as Gatorade and coconut water, are especially good for replacing and rebalancing the lost sodium and potassium.
Make A Move
Another cure for that bad case of the booze blahs is mild exercise, like a half hour walk or a quick gentle jog — but make sure you get plenty of water first. “Exercise is a good antidote because it releases endorphins to psychologically counteract that [down] feeling,” noted Kevin Strang, Ph.D., a University of Wisconsin Madison expert.
Downing a big, greasy meal the morning after is a popular hangover remedy — but not a smart one. It hasn’t been proven to help, and may actually worsen the nausea and vomiting. Instead, stick to bland food like crackers and bagels, which are easy to digest and can help settle an upset stomach.
Try munching on something sweet — specifically, bananas with honey — the day after imbibing. Bananas contain the antioxidants potassium and vitamin C, which “can decrease damage to our cells… and increase energy after large intakes of alcohol, which can cause fatigue,” Dr. Sackheim explained. And honey has fructose, a natural sugar that infuses the bloodstream with glucose, which increases the rate of alcohol elimination while also decreasing irritability.
What Not To Do
Popping Advil is effective, but Dr. John Brick, author of The Doctor’s Hangover Handbook, recommends waiting until the alcohol has left your system, since the pills could irritate the stomach lining. Experts also advise against taking Tylenol when drinking, as the combination of acetaminophen and alcohol could be harmful to liver function.
The most important thing to avoid? The old “hair of the dog” trick of downing another cocktail to stave off sickness after heavy drinking. “It will just dehydrate you more and prolong your hangover,” declared Elizabeth Kovacs, Ph.D., an alcohol researcher at the University of Colorado Denver. Instead, avoid drinking for at least 48 hours after going on a bender.