With shudder and a shake, we awake on our couch in a mass of messy hair and a pounding migraine. As the memories (or lack thereof) of the previous night’s alcohol-induced shenanigans begin to flood hazily into an aching cranium, our first act of the day is to find a cure as quickly as possible for the resulting hangover from a night of silly fun.
“A hangover is really the symptoms of acute withdrawal, in which your body reacts to not having a drug in its system anymore,” said Krista Medina, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Cincinnati. For most in the college demographic, this drug is alcohol.
Here are the top eight hangover cures exposed in which to make an educated decision the next time a hangover comes knocking.
1). Coffee: Myth! Although there is a general consensus that a nice cup of joe can serve as the best reliever in the battle between a hangover and a speedy recovery process, this is in fact one of the worst things to do. Coffee is loaded with caffeine, and although it can perk the senses, it dehydrates the body. This in turn makes the symptoms brought on by a hangover more intense because when there is a high alcohol concentrate in the body, the body dehydrates. The body needs to rehydrate, so medical science recommends to stay away from caffeine and drink water or sports drinks.
“The release of an antiduretic hormone, meaning the kidneys don’t conserve water as well, and you urinate more,” assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at Emory University Sharon Berguist said on the CNNHealth website.
2.) Water, Sports Drinks: Fact! This is a major weapon in the fight to regain a sober self. Both of these products administer to the rehydration process and replenishment of the body, expunging the poisonous effects caused by alcohol. Although sports drinks are loaded with sugar, there are also full of electrolytes. Electrolytes have natural salts which help the body retain water.
3.) Pain Medication: Myth! Taking an Aspirin, Tylenol, or Excedrin sounds like a safe bet to stifle that pesky migraine, right? Wrong! Over-the-counter pain medications serve headaches and migraines not caused by alcohol well enough. But the truth is that when you are hungover, these medications can be quite toxic. WebMD states over-the-counter meds contain a substance called acetaminophen, which is the main combatant used to soothe headaches. But when mixed with alcohol, the blood system creates a toxin that severely damages the liver, and if you abuse alcohol for a long time, the liver can begin to fail. Wait at least five hours after waking and eating a good meal before you take a pill.
4.) Hot Showers: Fact! Marinating in a hot shower, while letting the full force of the water massage the back of your neck, is great way to relax the muscles that actually adhere to headaches and migraines. Headaches are caused by constricted blood vessels and tense neck muscles.
“Being hung over makes you feel like you are under the weather,” BSU senior art history major Rachel Vannote said. “I think a hot shower could help reinvigorate someone. Wake them up a bit.”
5.) Exercise: Fact! Although this is a bit of a double-edged sword and most likely not the most popular cure, it is effective. Alcohol is a poison that infiltrates the blood stream when too much is added. You don’t have to go and have full-blown, hardcore workout, but it is good to exercise and perspire. Poisons are excreted through sweat. So, next time you wake up from a night of drinking, a nice walk or light jog will do you some good.
6.) Eating Eggs: Fact! There is a non-essential amino acid called cysteine in eggs which counteracts poisonous effects of acetaminophen, a major product in alcohol. If there is an issue figuring out what your stomach can take after a night of heavy drinking, eggs are the best choice. Eggs are light, and whether they are scrambled, sunny-side up, or in an omelet, they can be a tasty way to curb that hangover.
7.) Drink More: Myth! There has been a common misconception that a hangover is the body craving more alcohol, thus, drinking the rest of your margarita or taking a shot to oblige these cravings is the best possible method of recovery. This is not true. Although it will postpone the hangover and possibly take away a migraine, this relief is only temporary. Regularly drinking through a hangover can eventually lead to alcoholism. Stick to water or sports drinks to rehydrate the body and gut out the pain. It’s not worth the future problems alcoholism can bring.
8.) Prevention: Let’s be honest, college drinking will continue to be a reality for many parties and bar-hopping nights to come. But the best way to cure a hangover is to take precautions to prevent it. Eat a hearty meal at least a few hours before drinking. Also, drink water before and throughout the night to keep you hydrated. As cliché as it may sound, drinking must be done responsibly. Be safe, and of course, have a good time as well.