Alcohol isn’t necessarily unhealthy for you, unless you overdo it. But you went ahead and had that extra drink (and maybe another as well) at the party last night, and now you’re hurting. Hangovers can be hell. Here’s a few tips to get you back on the road to recovery.
Curing a hangover really starts with prevention, so if you know you’ll be hoisting a few drinks in the evening (strictly socially, of course), prepare yourself. Drink lots of water during the day and eat a good meal before the first drink. Try to put away as much H2O as you can, maybe even adding a pinch of salt to it for electrolytes. If you take a multi-vitamin, make sure you’ve had yours for the day (and perhaps take an extra). Grab some B6 tablets and vitamin C and dose yourself throughout the day (follow manufacturers dosage guidelines).
At the party:
For every drink you have, match it with another of water. One of the side-effects of drinking alcohol is dehydration, so if you stay hydrated during the party, you’re ahead of the game. Keep snacking throughout the evening to slow the absorption of alcohol, especially low-sugar foods (alcohol is basically sugar, and you don’t want to over-task your body’s insulin response). Still got those B and C vitamins? Take them periodically through the evening (but don’t overdo it – follow recommended dosage). Stick to the lighter colored drinks, and don’t mix it up too much. The cheaper the alcohol, the more likely it is to hurt you in the morning. Fermented drinks like wine tend to affect me less than distilled (liquor) or brewed (beer) beverages, but everyone is different…
After last call:
Still got your water glass? Fill it up and keep downing it. Eat something light, especially fruit or high-carb snacks. It will help to keep your blood sugar up and prevent hypoglycemia (another side-effect of drinking too much). A smoothie works wonders if you can still operate a blender after a bender… Emergen-C is another super supplement full of vitamin C and electrolytes for recovery. It’s fizzy, comforting, and comes in many flavors, so stock up while you’re sober.
Before you hit the sack:
Fill a pitcher with water and put it by your bed, so you don’t have to go far to get re-hydrated during the night. Vitamin B12 drops or a sub-lingual tablet before bed will also take the edge off, and is quick acting. Try to brush your teeth before turning in so you don’t wake up with a nasty taste in your mouth. Stay away from aspirin, Tylenol, and other painkillers, because your liver has enough to do during the night without dealing with those.
After you wake up:
Simple carbs and fruit will help boost your energy right off the bat (can you operate the blender now?), but water or an electrolyte drink like Recharge or Emergen-C should come first. Skip the coffee if you can, because it will dehydrate you more. The caffeine helps you feel better at first, but isn’t what the body needs after a night of excess. Eat a high-protein meal to balance out all of the sugar from the alcohol, and take your vitamins with the food. Have a hot shower and do something to get your blood moving so the lymphatic system can start to get rid of the toxins. Skip the pain relievers and go back to sleep if you can, so your body can heal and get the rest it deserves.
Now write this on the blackboard 100 times: “I will not drink too much. I will take care of my body. It’s the only one I’ve got.”
Image: Kevin Briody at Flickr under Creative Commons License