Some lucky people can drink as much as they want, and never have to worry about suffering from a hangover. For the rest of us, though, a night where we’ve had a little too much fun can mean a morning where we swear that we’re never going to drink again.
Headaches, sensitivity to light and sound, and a general sick feeling that seems like it’s never going to go away. Everyone seems to know some cure for a hangover, but none of them actually work… or do they?
While concoctions made of hot sauce and raw eggs are a bit questionable, there actually is some scientific reasoning behind a few of the hangover cures. All that a hangover is, essentially, is a reaction to dehydration in the brain caused by too much alcohol.
The sick feeling can come from an irritated stomach lining, and the sensitivity and headache are just the way that the organs react to the brain’s problems. Many hangovers “cures” treat these problems, probably without really meaning to.
Coffee is probably a staple of the heavy drinker’s morning diet, as it’s supposed to chase away the cobwebs that the alcohol left in your brain and clear up the pain. The water in the coffee will help to rehydrate you, and the caffeine will give your brain an extra jolt to help relieve a little of the pain.
Unfortunately, coffee can be a little harsh on the lining of an already-irritated stomach, and the increased blood flow to the brain can at times make a headache worse instead of better. (Tea can also have these same effects, though different types of tea will have different amounts of caffeine.)
A variety of over-the-counter hangover cures are available, designed in easy-to-swallow pill form to be taken with a glass of water. If you’re wanting to take a pill, though, you’re usually just as well off to take some aspirin and was it down with a large glass of water. The aspirin will dull the pounding of the headache, but it’s really the water that makes this work…
all that the pain killer does is buy you time for the water to rehydrate your brain. Of course, this means that you have to drink the entire glass… people who drink just enough to take the pills will find that their hangover will last much longer.
Of course, some people who are wise to the “dehydration” aspect of a hangover will just drink water, juice, or milk. The juice isn’t a good idea if you’re feeling sick to your stomach, as it can irritate the stomach more; milk will coat the stomach but can make you feel queasy in its own right if you’re running a fever or you’re in a hot environment.
Others prefer a bit of the “hair of the dog that bit ya’,” meaning that they simply have another drink of whatever they were drinking the previous night. While the alcohol will dull the pain a bit, in the long run, you’re just going to get more dehydrated… starting the whole cycle over again.
Perhaps the best thing to do if you’re worried about a hangover is to do a little bit of prevention. After a night of drinking (and throwing up, if it comes to that), drink a glass or two of water before going to bed.
This will get extra fluids into your system so that your body can work on rehydrating itself as you sleep. This means that while your body will still suffer from dehydration if you’re lucky it’ll be over long before you wake up.