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You went out last night and it was a movie. There was fun and laughs and flourishing and drinks. Lots of drinks. You remember hitting the bed but who knows when you fell asleep. It doesn’t matter. You’re up now.
And it sucks.
Hello hangover. It is not nice to meet you. You’re a mean-spirited, spiteful and vindictive so-and-so. You’re hosting a party in my stomach and there’s a rock band practicing drum solos in my head. And there’s no magic formula to make you stop and leave and return me to my normalcy.
You know this story. Those times when you woke up and texted you closest friend and promised – swore on everything – that you would never touch a drink again. Until next weekend. Now, since we know you’ll meet this hangover again, let’s talk about what to do, and what certainly not to do, when you’re faced when a unforgiving, unrelenting, son-of-a … hangover.
What Causes Hangovers?
Simply put, drinking too much. Now, what’s too much? That depends on the person. One person might have a hangover the day after one drink, another might have seven shots of house tequila and be out for a morning jog the following day.
RELATED: Can Beer Actually Help Your Workout?
Alcohol causes your body to produce more urine – which is where all the talk of “breaking your ceiling” come from. Alcohol also irritates the lining of your stomach, triggers agents in your immune system, decreases your blood sugar, makes you blood vessels expand and makes you sleepy. These are the reasons it may be difficult to concentrate, while your drunken friend is falling asleep at the bar and you’re hoping no one upheaves all the chicken wings from the bar in the Uber driver’s backseat.
Can You Actually Cure A Hangover?
Sorry. The answer there is no. But, we did check anyway with Jonathan Valdez, a nutritionist with HealthFirst and here’s what he said: “At this time, science doesn’t have a cure for a hangover.
“The primary method of recovering from a hangover is time,” he added. “Secondary is replenishing fluids if you are dehydrated, especially if one was hugging the toilet or saying, ‘Hell no H-2-0’ the night before. Dehydration is marked by dry mouth, dark urine, the feeling of thirst, and dizziness. Best fluids are those with electrolytes such as potassium, sodium and glucose.”
RELATED: Five Ways To Hydrate Better
Can You Take Ibuprofen Or Advil With Alcohol?
Ideally, you won’t start chasing pain killers with alcohol. Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that’s sold under a variety of names, including Advil. In general, ingesting ibuprofen with a small amount of alcohol isn’t harmful.
On it’s own ibuprofen is safe to use and available over-the-counter without a prescription to reduce pain. But if you regularly use ibuprofen for pain over the long term, drinking alcohol can upset or even damage your stomach. Regular use of ibuprofen can also increase your risk of kidney and liver problems. Drinking alcohol regularly only increases that risk.
There’s also the risk of irritating the lining of your stomach, which can cause ulcers in people who drink heavily. Research has also shown regular ibuprofen use can increase the risk of stomach and intestinal bleeding in people who drink alcohol.
DO – Sleep
More than any plan of attack we can conjure, time is your only friend here, buddy. Valdez said sleeping is the best be. “While hungover,” he said, “one is at the mercy of time, so nothing is better than sleeping while your body heals.”
DO – Eat Eggs
Eggs provide energy and contain cysteine which breaks down the hangover-causing toxin acetaldehyde in the liver’s glutathione.
DO – Drink Lots Of Water. LOTS Of Water.
Water fights back that damn dehydration (and doesn’t taste horrible) and helps dilute the crap in your stomach. Adding salt and sugar to water helps replace the sodium and glycogen lost the night before.
DO – Embrace Fruits
Fruit juice helps energy. Studies prove it increases the rate the body rids itself of toxins. It’s also high in vitamins and nutrients, which you’ll need. Bananas also provide electrolytes lost better than any food and replenishes the potassium lost to alcohol’s diuretic effect.
DO – Take multivitamins
You’ll need to be in replenish mode if you want to find normalcy ever again. Going for non-sugary sports drinks or coconut water is a good start. But also take a multivitamin that will provide some help for what you’ve lost. Vitamin B and C specifically, aid in getting rid of alcohol’s toxins.
RELATED: The Best Multivitamins For Men
DO – Exercise
Not saying that you won’t smell the whiskey from the previous night seeping through your pores but, if you can handle it without hurling last night’s buffalo wings on the floor, try breaking a sweat. Hitting some sprint intervals might feel horrible at the time, but it may actually help. It’s a good idea to stay away from lots of jumping movements, particularly if your stomach is still fairly pissed off.
DON’T – Pop Ibuprofen Or Acetaminophen. No Aspirin Either.
You may think swallowing an ibuprofen or acetaminophen (like Tylenol) would be a good idea but be careful. Your liver is still processing all the alcohol you chugged that night or the night before. The combination could cause damage to your liver. Valdez cautioned that even popping an aspirin before bed, mixed with the alcohol’s assault on your liver could actually lead to stomach bleeding.
Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator
Many of the most popular sports drinks are high in sugar, which could upset your already-sensitive stomach. Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator contains stevia as a sweetener instead. It also includes your total daily value of vitamin C, which will help with battling alcohol toxins. The fact that it’s a plant-based supplements, free of gluten, soy and artificial flavors only makes it more safe for you belly.
$24.99 for 30 single packs at MyVega.com
Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier
If you’re nursing a hangover you’re going to need two important things to hydrate: sodium and potassium. You’ve lost a lot of both if you were throwing them back enough to hate your life the next day. Liquid I.V. totes a Cellular Transport Technology that claims to use a specific ratio of potassium, sodium and glucose to bring water and vitamins directly to your bloodstream faster than drinking water alone. And if you’ve spend even part of the morning pray to the porcelain gods, you’re going to need to rehydrate ASAP.
$17.50 for an 8-count at Amazon.com
PreToxx For Hangovers
So let’s just be clear. This will not stop you from getting drunk, nor will it make you immune to hangovers. Consider this a preemptive strike, like eating a big meal before you start binge drinking. With ingredients like milk thistle, N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine and a blend of electrolytes, PreToxx is meant to reduce hangover symptoms and support the liver that you’ve chosen to disregard for one night.
$19.99 for 60 capsules at Amazon.com
DON’T – Drink More
Whether you call it hair on the dog or keeping the party going, call it what you want, but it’s a terrible plan. The alcohol may temporarily take the edge off, but your liver still has to soak up all that alcohol and it’s going to come for you.
“The worst thing you can do after a hangover is to continue drinking,” Valdez warned before dropping this knowledge: “A hangover may indicate over-drinking and continuing to the punishment of your liver with drinking may result in further dehydration, damaging of the intestines, disrupting the transport, storing and utilization of various of vitamins. The body is resilient, but it is not miraculous.”
DON’T – Eat A Huge Greasy Meal.
The last thing you want on top of your debilitating hangover is heartburn. Everything already tastes horrible anyway and you probably can’t even shallow that bacon, egg and cheese sandwich on a bagel. Stick to light, easy-to-digest foods, like toast or a separate side serving of eggs.
DON’T – Pound The Coffee
Despite what you may have been told, this is a bad idea. Yes, a little caffeine can help alleviate some hangover symptoms, but downing a two giant mugs might add a caffeine withdrawal to your hangover misery. Caffeine narrows your blood vessels and boosts your blood pressure – both bad for your hangover.
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