How to Bounce Back From a Holiday Hangover
As you get older, hangovers tend to get harder to deal with than they were in the past. While you might have been able to recover quickly in your younger years, it’s not always the case these days.
What’s worse is that as you get older, you have a lot more responsibilities at home and work. So lying around the couch, nauseous, tired, and craving greasy food isn’t the best way to spend your time. If you’re like most people, I’m sure you have a lot to do and don’t want a nagging hangover to hold you back.
But chances are you still want to have some fun during the holidays with family, friends, and coworkers. The good news is that you can help battle the hangover so that you can still enjoy some of your favorite beverages too.
Use these science-backed ways to bounce back after a holiday party or NYE event to not let the fun ruin the next day.
How to Recover From a Hangover - 9 Tips
So, how do you beat a hangover?
While some people look for another beverage the next day (known as hair of the dog), you’re only delaying the inevitable. Instead of consuming more alcohol, try out these tips to get back to normal as fast as possible.
The best offense is a good defense… not only in sports, but drinking too.
Before the hangover has a chance to ruin your day, try to battle it the night before. Here are some ways to get ahead of the curve from Healthline:
- Light > dark liquor. Sorry, whiskey fans, colorless drinks like vodka, gin, and rum have lower levels of congeners, which are pretty much hangover fuel. Opt for light beverages instead of darker ones to make the hangover not hurt quite as much.
- Hydrate as you dehydrate. Every time you order another alcoholic drink, make sure you order a glass of water too and drink a big glass before going to bed. This is what Tom Brady (who is known for his clean living lifestyle) made his tight end (and hard partying) Rob Gronkowski do, according to Business Insider.
- Supplements before bed. Before laying down, try some supplements to help reduce inflammation (a cause of a hangover). Some of them include aspirin, ginger, red ginseng, and more. Personally, I like having a few antacids as well.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
The number one thing that you can do is to hydrate yourself before, during, and after a night of drinking alcohol. While water is the best option, it might not always taste the best.
To mix it up, try out some of these beverages as well:
- Electrolyte packets
- Gatorade or Powerade Zero
If you’re really suffering from dehydration, you can also find an IV drip location near you. These are a great way to replace your fluids, but be prepared to pay the price, as they aren’t cheap. Some companies even come to your home for extra convenience too!
Eat a Big Breakfast
A good meal will help soak up some of that alcohol too. Healthline points out that some hangovers are from low blood sugar and might lead to a headache. Plus, a hearty breakfast is a surefire way to soak up some toxins and hopefully, make you feel a bit better.
Some of the best foods to help with a hangover include:
- Bananas. Not only are these easy on a bad stomach, the potassium will help replenish the body’s stores that get lost while drinking alcohol.
- Meat. Men can rejoice knowing that meat can help with the hangover thanks to their amino acids, which are depleted in a night of drinking.
- Eggs. Another great breakfast food that also has amino acids.
- Avocado. They’re also rich with potassium and can help protect the liver as well.
- Oatmeal. These complex carbohydrates release slowly in your system and can help with low blood sugar and even hangover related anxiety.
Oatmeal with bananas and/or bacon, eggs, and avocado might be just what your body needs.
Get Some Sleep (or, take a nap)
One of the biggest downsides to drinking is how much it affects your sleep schedule. Even if you get the normal amount of sleep, it’s not REM sleep.
According to Healthline,
“While a lack of sleep does not cause a hangover, it can make your hangover worse. Fatigue, headaches and irritability are all hangover symptoms that can be exacerbated by a lack of sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep and allowing your body to recover may help alleviate symptoms and make a hangover more bearable.”
If you get a good night's sleep but are still feeling tired, try a power nap to offset some of your symptoms. Even 15-20 minutes can help you almost immediately.
As WebMD said, “You can get incredible benefits from 15 to 20 minutes of napping. You reset the system and get a burst of alertness and increased motor performance. That's what most people really need to stave off sleepiness and get an energy boost."
They also mentioned to limit your total nap time too. Make sure to keep it under 30 minutes, or you run the risk of grogginess.
Related: 6 Tips to Help You Sleep Better
Exercise (Sweat It Out)
Sometimes you need to get the demons out of your system. While exercise might feel like the worst thing ever after a night of food and booze, it’s often what your body needs.
If you don’t think your mind and body can handle running, working out, or swimming, hit the sauna instead. While you won’t be burning any of those excess calories off, you will at least help the toxins get out of your system.
While studies haven’t found a direct correlation between saunas and reducing hangovers, they have found it to detoxify certain minerals. But as an article from Hangovercure.org found, “There are studies which have shown that sweating can help facilitate the clearance of arsenic, lead and mercury from your bloodstream.”
They also found that saunas can help improve your mood as well and showed it to help reduce depression. Personally, I never want to exercise hungover but when I get the courage to do so, I almost always feel better than if I had vacationed on the couch instead. Needless to say, it’s probably not a horrible idea to sweat out the bad stuff, so your body can get back to normal.
Take a Cold Shower
If you have the courage to take a James Bond Shower after a night of drinking, it can help. As Aquatech found, “Taking a cold shower, especially after you soak in a warm hot tub, will increase your circulation and raise your heart rate. This will also help your body get rid of the toxins from the alcohol. It will also help you feel more alert, increase your tolerance to stress, and help relieve depression.”
Not to mention, there are nearly an endless number of benefits from a cold shower too, including improved immune system and improved mood.
Avoid Too Much Caffeine
Sometimes it might feel like you need an energy drink or massive cup of coffee to get going, but it can actually make things worse.
According to Medical News Today,
“Currently, there is no cure for a hangover, and consuming coffee is unlikely to provide much, if any, relief. Similar to alcohol, caffeine, which is present in coffee, is a diuretic. Therefore, it may further dehydrate the body, potentially prolonging or worsening certain symptoms of a hangover.”
If you do need your normal cup of coffee, have at it but keep it to one and avoid sugary, high caffeine energy drinks. But what about mixing caffeine with alcohol the night before?
Apparently, that’s not a great idea either. The same article said, “Drinking caffeine and alcohol can mask the effects of alcohol, causing people to feel more alert and sober than they would otherwise.”
Needless to say, stick to water or sports drinks to help hydrate your body back to normal.
I’m sure I don’t have to convince you too hard on this hangover hack. Yes, sex can actually help you feel better, too.
As Everyday Health said, “The best help for your hangover could be next to you.
Sex releases oxytocin, which increases your threshold for pain, says Debby Herbenick, PhD, sex researcher and educator at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University. Plus, you’ll burn off a few of last night’s liquid calories.”
Get Out of the House
Alright, this isn’t science backed but after some experience in this arena, I can say that getting out of the house helps. Sitting around, feeling sorry for yourself, thinking about the headache or nausea rarely makes you feel better.
Instead, get out of the house to get your body moving, meetup with friends, and get your mind off those hangover feelings.
Hopefully, these tips will help you recover quickly so you can get on with your life. Don’t let a good time ruin the next day.
Maybe one day they’ll find a way to create a drink that doesn’t include the nausea and pounding headache that most of us are familiar with. Here's hoping!
Until then, use these strategies so you don’t waste the day.