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6 Best Hangover Cures and Remedies That May Actually Work!

a man sitting at the edge of a bed with a hangover, hangover cure and remedies

Key Takeaways

  • Individual responses to hangover cures vary; find what works best for you.\
  • Address dehydration by drinking more fluids, including water and sports drinks.
  • Eat carbs to normalize blood sugar levels, reducing headaches and fatigue.
  • Choose light-coloured alcoholic beverages to lessen hangover severity.
  • Use over-the-counter pain relievers, avoiding those with acetaminophen.
  • Sleep more to reduce hangover symptoms like headaches and nausea.
  • Try natural supplements like Red Ginseng and ginger tea for relief.
  • Drinking in moderation and consuming water between alcoholic drinks helps prevent hangovers.
  • B vitamins and zinc supplements may reduce hangover severity.
  • Hydrating with water or sports drinks can alleviate some hangover symptoms.
  • Lemon can help with nausea and acidity but doesn't cure hangovers.

Overindulgence can lead to a very unpleasant aftereffect - the hangover. Anyone who's been on the receiving end of one of these knows all too well the signs and symptoms. A throbbing headache, nausea, lethargy, a queasy tummy, and the elusive search for a hangover cure that offers some form of fast relief.

If morning-after misery is constantly dragging you underfoot, this article may help! We cover simple and natural hangover cures, ranging from easily available kitchen basics to more exotic herbs and supplements.

6 Hangover Cures to Try To Recover Quickly

Hangovers can be a real challenge, but don't worry, here's our list of hangover remedies that may actually work:

1. Drink More Fluids (Just Not More Alcohol!)

If you've been drinking a lot of alcohol, a simple hangover cure can be addressing dehydration. Alcohol increases the need to urinate, which means you end up losing fluid through the urine. Dehydration, in turn, contributes to the common symptoms of a hangover, like tiredness, headaches, and dizziness. Ensure you drink a glass of water between drinks to minimize the severity of a hangover, preventing an overwhelming crash later.

Tip: Try sports drinks if water isn't your thing. They contain electrolytes, which are great for regaining nutrients lost to alcohol and quick hydration!

2. Stock Up on Carbs

When you drink alcohol, there's a tendency that your blood sugar levels will drop, which may contribute to physical symptoms like headaches and general fatigue. Drinking too much alcohol can also increase the level of acidity in your stomach, causing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and lethargy.

Tip: Normalize your blood sugar by eating some good old-fashioned carbs. Make yourself a sandwich, or alternatively, toast some bread! Wash it down with a glass (or more!) of water.

3. Opt for Light-Coloured Alcoholic Beverages.

Darker alcoholic drinks may lead to more side effects due to specific substances known as congeners, which accumulate during the distillation process. These congeners include acids, aldehydes such as acetaldehyde, esters, and ketones. Generally, the greater the concentration of congeners, the more intense the hangover can be.

Tip: Opt for vodka, gin, and beer instead of red wine, rum, and brandy to help reduce the side effects of alcohol after a night of heavy drinking.

4. Take a Painkiller

Another hangover cure to consider is the use of over-the-counter painkillers. It can help relieve the pounding headache and muscle pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen sodium (Aleve), and aspirin may help in combating the pain.

However, avoid these painkillers if you already have a stomach upset or have feelings of nausea because they could irritate your stomach even more and make you feel worse. Avoid Tylenol, as it contains a substance called acetaminophen, which can be potentially harmful to your liver in combination with alcohol.

Tip: Opt for OTC (over-the-counter) pain relievers WITHOUT acetaminophen for quick relief from headaches and muscle pains.

5. Go Back to Sleep!

Small amounts of alcohol may actually help you sleep better. But when you're drinking copious amounts of alcohol and drinking it frequently, it can start to interfere with your ability to sleep. It can also disturb the quality of your sleep.

A lack of sleep, similar to dehydration, indirectly contributes to common hangover symptoms like headaches and nausea. It's ideal to sleep in as much as possible and take a rest to wear out the effects of a hangover.

Tip: Develop the habit of restricting your drinking to the end of the workweek. This way, you'll have all weekend to sleep in and take as much rest as your body needs to recover fully.

6. Try Natural Supplements

Early research suggests that supplementing with some natural remedies may help relieve hangover symptoms. Red Ginseng supplementation, for example, has been seen to help reduce the severity of hangovers. Try some Red Ginseng tea!

A traditional Chinese hangover cure worth trying is a combination of tangerine pith, ginger, and brown sugar. Doesn't sound very appetizing, but it may help!

Speaking of ginger, this rhizome is known to be beneficial in the treatment of nausea and stomach upsets. Try guzzling on some hot ginger tea to soothe your stomach upset.

Tip: Stock your cupboards with an assortment of natural teas like Red Gingseng and Ginger teas. Preparing a hot cup of tea is the easiest thing you can do when you're suffering from a hangover!

What Causes a Hangover? How Long Does It Last?

A hangover is a set of unpleasant signs and symptoms that can occur because of heavy drinking. The symptoms of a hangover usually rise to their peak when the blood alcohol content drops significantly or is almost zero. So you can find symptoms at their worst when you wake up the next morning.

It's common to associate alcohol with a hangover, but alcohol doesn't always have to be the sole cause. Some people may be sensitive to the substances present in alcohol, such as congeners and sulphites (a type of preservative).

Hangovers usually go away on their own but expect the effects to go on for as long as 24 hours in some cases.

a man resting in bed, hangover cures and remedies

Signs and Symptoms of Hangovers

The severity of the symptoms can depend on how much you've had to drink or your general sensitivity to specific compounds in the alcohol. In general, you can expect the following:

  • Feeling tired, fatigued, or weak
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headaches and muscle pain
  • Sleep disturbances (inability to sleep or poor quality of sleep)
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety, jitteriness, irritability
  • Stomach pain
  • Feeling more thirsty than usual
  • Dry mouth
  • Feelings of depression
  • Lowered focus or concentration
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound
  • Increased heartbeat

These symptoms usually show up because of the following reasons:

  • Dehydration because of fluid loss (alcohol is a diuretic).
  • Sleep disturbance (inability to sleep, poor quality of sleep).
  • Gastrointestinal irritation caused by an increase in acidity due to alcohol consumption.
  • Inflammation in the body
  • Exposure to acetaldehyde, a toxic byproduct of alcohol metabolism, which causes inflammation.
  • Mini-withdrawal

Drink in Moderation to Prevent a Hangover [Plus Other Sensible Tips]

The wisest thing you can do to prevent a hangover in the first place is to drink in moderation. Adults should consume no more than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any given day. Refer to the National Health and Medical Research Council's Australian Alcohol Guidelines for more information on how to drink sensibly.

Remember, a key hangover cure is about prevention; drinking water between alcoholic beverages can significantly reduce the risk of a hangover. Eat carbs with your drinks or drink on a full stomach to prevent your blood sugar levels from dropping. Both of these tips may even help you drink less alcohol. 

It may be worthwhile to take a good vitamin and mineral supplement. Clinical studies show a correlation between higher amounts of B vitamins and zinc and less severe hangovers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. How do you get over a hangover fast?

Try any of the remedies we've recommended in this article to treat your hangover. Some of them may work more quickly than others, and individual responses can vary due to how people metabolize alcohol differently. In general, drink more water, catch up on sleep, and down a painkiller (without acetaminophen) if needed. Eat a good breakfast if you skipped dinner to normalize your blood sugar. And last but not least, try natural teas made of Reg Ginseng and Ginger.

Q2. Does drinking water with alcohol stop a hangover?

Drinking water with alcohol may not completely cure a hangover, but it can certainly help with some of the unpleasant signs and symptoms. Alcohol promotes increased urination, which results in fluid loss or dehydration. Dehydration can cause symptoms like diarrhoea and vomiting, so ensure you're topping up with water to prevent dehydration. Alternatively, try a sports drink - great for replenishing lost minerals and getting hydrated fast!

Q3. Can lemon reduce a hangover?

Lemon on its own will not cure a hangover, but consuming lemon can help reduce the build-up of acidity in the body and reduce nausea. Try drinking fresh lemon juice made with salt and sugar, an electrolyte of sorts, which helps replenish lost fluid and vital mineral salts.

Final Thoughts

There's no magic one-size-fits-all hangover fix that works for everyone. What helps one person may not help another.  So, whether you fancy a quick home remedy like water or something over-the-counter like a painkiller, the key is to find what suits you best.

Just maybe the best way to avoid feeling icky the next day is to be mindful of how much we party. Taking it easy might be the real secret to waking up feeling good.

Darcy Ogdon-Nolan

Holding a Bachelor Of Science (Hons.) combined with close to a decade now in the health food and wellness industry, I believe I'm uniquely positioned to provide a depth of knowledge and first-hand experience on emerging health products, trends and ideas! From greens powders and medicinal mushrooms through to protein powders and workout nutrition - I'm particularly interested in what modern science can uncover about what human cultures have been using to treat ailments for millennia!

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