The morning after AKA Doomsday. Waking up from the night before is something no one looks forward to. Alcohol can take up to 11 hours to leave your system, but these tried and tested tips will help you to recover faster.
Your first thought will probably be to reach for some painkillers, and it’s not a bad shout as they will help with your headache – just make sure to pick the right ones. The most effective is ibuprofen, but only the recommended dose. Aspirin will do the trick in relieving a headache, but it can soon wreak havoc if you’ve got a sensitive stomach and potentially make you feel more sick. Ideally, if you’re still functioning before you slump into bed after a big night, knock back an ibuprofen with a cup of water to help you along.
Replace lost salts
Dehydration is the biggest reason you feel so crap. Water will help, but isotonic drinks like Lucozade Sport and Powerade go another step. These can work wonders on hangovers, as they’re designed to replace sugars and salts quickly. They’ll give you energy and rehydrate you. If you’re really in a bad way, take a Dioralyte sachet. Yes, we know them for treating diarrhoea (which you may well have) but being hungover puts your body in a similar position with depleted salts and minerals.
Borage capsules might help. However, there are all sorts of products like these claiming to be ‘hangover cures’. Things like Berocca, Chaser and Rebound also can help, but are pricey and scientists aren’t all that convinced. Some suggest you benefit more from the water you drink with them than the tablets themselves. That said, some of you swear by them, so don’t write anything off if it works for you!
Eating, even if it seems like the worst idea in the world, is really important for getting you on the road to recovery. You can’t eat just anything, but there are a few options. Depending on how bad you feel, a trusty fry-up is always a great option as they help replace fatty acids and break down the alcohol in your liver. Eggs are particular savours here as they contain something called taurine, which has been shown to even reverse liver damage caused by alcohol!
If you’re feeling a bit too delicate to face a fry-up, a safer option to get you going would be some mild flavoured carbohydrates such as wholemeal toast or crackers, which should give you a boost without upsetting your fragile stomach too much. Drinking too much can also deplete your potassium levels so eating some bananas in the morning will also help (a swift banana before bed is also a great shout if you can remember!).
Drink to restore the balance
No, not more booze.
A glass of fruit juice helps by giving you a sugary kick and energy, as well as getting rid of the toxins in your body whilst replacing some of the essential minerals you’ve lost. Milk will work well to replace the calcium you’ve lost, while ginger tea (or even just ginger on its own) can help with nausea. Another option is drinking milk thistle tea, which is said to be a hangover godsend. Boiled water with honey and lemon will also help boost your blood sugar and vitamins.
When you’re in the throws of a hangover it’s easy to let the ground swallow you up in a pit of self loathing and despair. Unsurprisingly – that doesn’t help. Distract yourself with something enjoyable but not too taxing.
Don’t drink coffee
Coffee may be the obvious port-of-call for most sufferers, but it’s actually a diuretic and causes your body to lose water quickly. Coffee is also the number one cause of those horrible sweats and heart palpitations we’re all prone to when we’ve had a night on the sauce – our advice is avoid coffee like the plague! Opt instead for some water (we know, you’re sick of hearing that one), fruit juice, or anything we mentioned before instead and you’ll feel better in the long run, we promise.
Don’t start drinking again
Hair of the dog? Forget it! Drinking more might ease your pain for a few hours but it will only make the crash even worse when you get to that point. It’s also a slippery slope to constant drinking, which is by no means healthy or desirable.
Have a long shower
Freshening up can do wonders for your mind. Be careful not to make it too hot, otherwise the heat can go to your head and make you nauseous. A great option is to shower with the window open for a bit of fresh air too – bliss!
Sleep it off
One of the other side effects of drinking is the disruption of your sleep cycle, which is one of the reasons you still feel a bit pants even if you did get a decent amount of sleep. Combat this the only way you know how – just sleep some more! If you’re not going to be productive anyway, you might as well just admit defeat, and instead focus on getting the sleep you need to get back on form.
The whole idea that you can “sweat it out” is a little questionable but that doesn’t mean that exercise won’t help you now. Some gentle exercise, with lots and lots of water so you don’t get dehydrated, can boost your endorphin levels and give you a mental kick.
Sunglasses it up
Along with all the other joys of a hangover, you might also find yourself prey to hypersensitivity with things like bright lights or loud music. Make sure everyone turns it down a notch for the day (or grab some earplugs if you’re worried about this making you unpopular) and if you need to leave the house, put on your best sunnies. No one will even question it (unless it’s raining).