Last night was tons of fun. Celebrating, socializing, dancing, the whole bit. But this morning? Not so much. Making it to the supermarket is like a mini miracle. However, we don’t believe you must give up memory-filled nights with friends and family in exchange for a peaceful morning after. Instead, we’re taking a stand against the head-pounding, cold-sweating and bright-light-avoiding hangover. Here are a few ways to tackle it – or avoid it altogether. Who’s with us?
The Day Of
If you know you have a fun night ahead of you, plan accordingly. Alcohol is extremely dehydrating due to its diuretic capabilities – it can cause big time water loss via urination. Hydrate all day so you can afford withdrawals from your fluid account.
What you eat during the day can also have significant impact on how you feel in 24 hours. Make sure to eat a balanced diet of carbs, fats and proteins along with necessary vitamins and minerals to make sure your body has plenty of nutrients to work with when it comes time to metabolize any alcohol it encounters. Stay away from especially sugary or fatty foods that can leave you feeling dehydrated or give you an upset stomach before the night even begins.
The Night Of
Right Before heading out, make sure you eat a meal that will be conducive to a smooth night. Do your best to consume complex carbs that contain fiber with a source of fat (think, quinoa with avocado or steel cut oats with nut butter) to keep digestion from moving along too quickly, which can lead to hangover-producing blood sugar spikes. Also, try to keep from consuming acidic foods which can cause an upset stomach.
During your night, make smart drink choices. If you’re going to be having hard alcohol, opt for the clear variety. Studies have found that compounds known as congeners, the molecules responsible for the rich color and taste of dark beverages like whiskey, red wine and dark rum, can make for a stronger hangover than their lighter-colored counterparts (vodka, tequila, white wine, etc.). And if you’re not one for drinking your liquor neat, opt for low or non-sugar mixers (rumor has it that a 5-calorie, 1g of sugar antioxidant infusion works best). Sugary drinks like Long Island Iced Teas or even just a simple rum and Coke can leave you with a serious blood sugar spike. And as we all know from our years as gummy-worm obsessed kids, the crash is to follow.
Right After you walk in your front door, start sipping on some H2O. Aim to get at least two cups in you before hitting the hay. Alcohol also depletes your body’s vitamin stores, specifically B-vitamins, so pop a multivitamin or B-complex too before bed. It will help your body work at full capacity to remove the alcohol from your bloodstream while you snooze.
The Morning After
The morning in question. If you played your cards right, hopefully you woke up feeling better than mornings passed. If not, there are still plenty of steps you can take.
When you finally get out of bed, give yourself a pat on the back and head to the kitchen. Your blood sugar is likely low, which can be the cause of many symptoms ranging from headache to dry mouth to nausea and more. So make yourself a breakfast that will bring you back to the normal range. Note: as delicious as a cinnamon roll or frosted cereal may sound at this point, refrain from consuming blood sugar-spiking foods, as they’ll eventually just cause the aforementioned crash, and the cycle will just continue. Eating foods like an egg and cheese on whole wheat toast or Greek yogurt with granola will help ease your blood sugar and stomach back to normal. And once you get food in you, you can take a mild anti inflammatory like Advil. This will help ease your GI distress, headache and muscle fatigue.
Hydration remains key at this point in the process. Continue to drink water; contrary to popular belief, sports drinks really aren’t your best bet once you’ve eaten breakfast. They do give you necessary electrolytes, but the sugar content will provide you with way more than you need. Get your potassium and sodium from things like bananas, coconut water or a fruit smoothie. If your stomach is still dangerously upset, sip on ginger tea rather than sugary ginger ale to soothe it.
It might sound like a death wish now, but getting in some light exercise can prove to be seriously beneficial. The increased blood and oxygen flow to your muscles and head can help relieve fatigue, and sweat can help you rid any excess alcohol a little faster. Try a light incline walk or a leisurely bike ride. If putting one foot in front of the other seems truly impossible, just sleep it off. Alcohol can put a huge wrench in your REM cycle, significantly contributing to your headache, fogginess and irritability.
Remember, a safe night is a fun night. Drink responsibly, and happy hangover hunting.