Let’s face it:
Alcohol is neat. It melts stress, helps us loosen up, and allows us to have a good time.
Plus, research finds that it offers some health benefits related to cardiovascular health and insulin sensitivity.
Most importantly, alcohol is the essence of drinking games.
The only downside? Hangovers.
They can range from mild to debilitating, and let’s be honest here:
They are not fun at all. As the saying goes, “Drinking is borrowing happiness from tomorrow.”
Luckily, there are several things we can do to reduce the risk of hangovers and cure them quickly. Read on to find out what they are.
1. Stay Hydrated
Our first tip applies to the evening before and the morning after.
Many of alcohol’s adverse effects occur precisely because of dehydration. As a diuretic, alcohol flushes fluids out of our system, leading to dehydration (1). Plus, for the folks who drink a few too many, puking also becomes a real possibility, which further leads to fluid and electrolyte loss.
So, when drinking alcohol, it’s a good idea also to include water. For example, drink a glass of water, soda, or juice for every alcoholic drink you have.
As you wake up in the morning, the first thing you should do is load up on water. Get up and drink as much as you can in one go. This probably won’t be that difficult, given that most people feel incredibly thirsty the morning after drinking alcohol.
2. Get As Much Sleep As You Can
Here is the problem here:
Not getting enough sleep can exacerbate the hangover symptoms. Specifically, it can magnify headaches and fatigue. Plus, sleep deprivation makes us irritable, unfocused, and unmotivated to do anything (2, 3, 4). Not a good combination.
But here is another problem:
Consuming alcohol can worsen sleep quality and prevent us from getting enough deep restorative sleep (5).
Still, one of the best hangover cures (and preventive measures) is to try and get as much sleep as possible. Aim for at least seven hours, but sleep for as long as you can (6). Chances are, you’ll need extra sleep given the likely worse quality.
3. Eat Some Healthy Carbs The Morning After
Yes, yes. Food might feel like the last thing you want to put in your mouth as you wake up from a night of drinking. But you need to suck it up and get some carbs in your system.
The reason is, low blood sugar levels are often associated with symptoms of a hangover (7). More specifically, low blood sugar, similar to sleep deprivation, can exacerbate headaches, fatigue, weakness, and even nausea (8).
By having a nutritious meal, you can supply your body with enough healthy nutrients it needs to begin the recovery process and brings its blood sugar levels to the normal range (9).
That can quickly give you some fuel to start the day and help you deal with the hangover more easily.
4. Don’t Mix Your Alcohols
Mixing alcohol is a rookie mistake, but you’d be surprised how many people find themselves going from one alcohol to the next. Before they know it, they are under the table, and their legs – who’ve been their faithful servants up until that point – refuse to work.
Well, aside from making you really drunk really fast, mixing your alcohols can lead to some of the nastiest hangovers known to man.
It’s better to stick to one type of alcohol, even if you drink more of it, than to mix them up, thinking that smaller quantities will keep you hangover-free.
5. Drink Responsibly
While many people look for hangover cures and preventive measures, the best thing you can do is control your drinking. Yes, good old moderation.
The truth is, every tactic we’ve discussed so far works, and we recommend each wholeheartedly. But, these tactics alone won’t be enough if you go overboard with your drinking and get to a point where you don’t forget much about the night before.
Besides drinking moderately, we also recommend going easy and listening to your body. Drink to maintain a pleasant buzz but slow down or stop if you notice that you’re heading into drunk territory. As you start feeling a bit too buzzed for your taste, slow down for 30-40 minutes and resume. This will give your body time to break down some of the ethanol in your system and open up room for more alcohol (10).
Now that you are prepared for the next party, check out our drinking games and find the perfect game for your given situation.