I know what it feels like to force my eyes open in the morning, nurse a pounding headache and wonder, “Why, why, why did I say yes to that last glass?” And being from Tennessee, we know all too well who Jack is. So, I wanted to figure out if there are any real cures for hangovers…
Do any of the common remedies that go beyond the basic prescription of “drink lots of water and sit tight ’til it passes” actually work? Here are a few of my favorite time-tested remedies. And some crazy ones.
Hair of the dog
Probably the most popular hangover cure, this involves drinking more alcohol the morning after — a Bloody Mary, a beer or any number of other classics of the form. The idea is that your hangover is most painful when the body moves from breaking down alcohol to working on a drink’s secondary components. So if you add a little more alcohol for your body to get back to work on, it can mitigate the greatest pain. Experts say: It’s effective in postponing the hangover, but it’s not a cure (unless you drink continuously for the rest of your life).
Popping a pain reliever
Before you go to sleep, the advice goes, drink lots of water, take a couple of Advil, Tylenol or aspirin, and hope for the best in the morning. Experts say: It might help dull your headache, but medicine mixed with alcohol, depending on how much you drank, can be even worse for your liver.
Work it out
Some people, including me, take their next-day aches and pains to the gym. Since exercise boosts endorphins, a good workout can make your mood a little better. Unfortunately, Men’s Health points out you can’t actually sweat alcohol out, so all your symptoms won’t be gone when Soul Cycle ends. Experts say: If you go this route, make sure you drink LOTS of water to keep from getting dehydrated all over again.
Go-to meals for people with hangovers fall in two camps, but those craving a hamburger, drippy eggs or a giant Chipotle burrito seem to outnumber those who need a plate of fresh greens to feed a hangover. (Here are some recipes, if you’re going for it.) Experts say: Doctors agree that the effects of feeding a hangover work best when you do it preventively. It’s important to eat enough food — be it a steak or a salad — before or while you’re drinking to help absorb the alcohol up front. The next day, it’s too late. (Although, a Korean study said asparagus is good for helping to break down alcohol’s components. Who knew?)
F. Scott Fitzgerald once observed that the only people swimming at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in the French Riviera were those, “going for a short hangover dip at noon.” But if you’re landlocked, how about a relaxing shower? Experts say: Swimming, soaking in the tub or taking a shower can’t hurt, especially if being in the water generally helps you overcome pain. If the water is warm, though, it may make you sweat. Remember to HYDRATE.
Pass the salt
Ask for international hangover cures, and from nearly every person in every country, random ideas will spring forth. The editors at Elle tried out a few, including Pedialyte (yes, the salty drink for sick kids) to pickled plums, favored in Japan. Both were deemed too untasty in the midst of a hangover to complete the test of effectiveness. And pickle juice is recommended for Vodka-infused hangovers in Russia. Experts say: Again, working to prevent dehydration before, during and after you drink is helpful. This can simply be water, though. Briny liquids and foods may help with dehydration, too, but feel free to substitute Gatorade for the same effect.
One thing all doctors and wise people everywhere recommend as a hangover panacea: Not drinking. But, sometimes that’s not much fun, especially when campfires and good friends are involved.
What is your go-to hangover remedy? I’d love to know.