First, understand that a hangover is caused by more than just dehydration (though it does play a large role).
Your body metabolises alcohol into acetaldehyde, which is toxic to brain cells, says Dr Robert Swift, a professor at Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies in the US.
Another byproduct of booze breakdown is adenosine, a neurochemical that dilates blood vessels in the brain and causes a splitting headache. Pile on low blood sugar, a loss of electrolytes, stomach irritation and poor quality sleep, and it’s no wonder you feel like you’re the last survivor of a Quentin Taratino movie.
Try one of the following:
1. Water At Regular Intervals
You’ve heard that dehydration is a major hangover cause – and it’s true. The problem: too much water only stretches out an already-irritated stomach, leading to (even more) nausea or vomiting. Instead, gulp 200ml of water every hour you’re awake after drinking, Dr Swift recommends.
2. Pop The Right Painkiller
That’d be ibuprofen. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can risk liver damage – because both acetaminophen and alcohol are metabolised by the liver, boozing disrupts your liver from fully breaking down the toxins in the pain pills, Dr Swift says. And aspirin can upset your stomach.
3. Grab Lucozade Sport
After a few cups of water, switch to a sports drink. “The extra salt helps your body absorb the fluids more quickly,” Dr Swift says.
4. Brew Tea
…but don’t drink it. Steep black, chamomile or green tea bags in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, then let them cool. Lie down and place a bag over each eye for 5 to 15 minutes. The tannins in the tea constrict blood vessels and pulls the skin taut to battle puffiness.
5. Eat Oatmeal For Breakfast…
When researchrs gave breakfasts to hung-over university students, those who ate slow-digesting carbohydrates, like oatmeal, performed better on mood and memory tests than subjects who chose simple sugars.
6. …With A Side Of Eggs
The amino acid cysteine might help your liver recover from the stress of breaking down alcohol. Egg yolks, yoghurt and poultry are good sources.
7. Meet With Joe
Caffeinated coffee will increase your alertness and ease the dilated vessels in your brain, says Dr Frederick Freitag, a specialist in headache medicine. Just limit it to one or two cups to avoid caffeine’s dehydrating effects.
8. Get Busy
Distraction – whether that’s FIFA 15 or working out – won’t solve anything, but you’ll at least feel better in the moment.