Top 10 Natural Hangover Cures That Work
We’ve all been there. After a night with too much alcohol, you wake up with a terrible hangover. While the best cure for a hangover is to prevent one in the first place, several natural hangover remedies can help reduce your symptoms.
Hangovers are caused by drinking too much alcohol. For some, a single drink is enough to trigger a mild hangover the next day, while others can drink heavily without ever feeling hungover. Several factors contribute to a hangover, including:
- Type of alcohol consumed
- An inflammatory response from your immune system
- Irritated stomach lining
- Low blood sugar
- Dilated blood vessels
- Poor sleep
(As you can likely attest to if you’re reading this article) they often feel like a combination of a bad cold and a migraine, with symptoms including fatigue, nausea, headache, thirst, and sensitivity to light and sound.
While there are countless hangover cures out there, most are based on anecdotal evidence, not science.
To help banish your hangover and get you back on your feet, we’ve rounded up the top ten natural hangover cures that actually work. So pour yourself a glass of water, pop an ibuprofen, and check out these easy ways to reduce hangover symptoms.
Top 10 Natural Hangover Cures That Work
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is your body’s way of recovering from the physical and mental fatigue caused by the day before. After a night of drinking, allow yourself a few extra hours of shut-eye to help reduce your hangover symptoms the next day.
Staying up late only exacerbates the headaches, irritability, and fatigue commonly associated with a hangover. While most people blame staying up late on feeling tired the next day, the alcohol itself also negatively impacts your sleep. Research shows that alcohol may cause sleep disturbances that decrease your sleep quality and duration, particularly in men.
A night of heavy drinking can quickly lead to dehydration the next day. To combat the loss of fluids and electrolytes, be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after consuming alcohol. Before heading out for the night, place a large glass of water on your nightstand. You’ll thank yourself for doing so when you wake up the next morning dying of thirst.
Alcohol has a diuretic effect, meaning it increases urine production. In addition to fluid loss, this diuretic effect causes your body to rid itself of valuable electrolytes your body needs to function properly. Excessive drinking can lead to vomiting, which only worsens fluid and electrolyte loss.
When consuming alcohol, a good rule of thumb is to drink one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage. While this won’t prevent hangovers entirely, it’ll help moderate your alcohol intake and ensure you don’t become dangerously dehydrated.
The best way to get rid of a hangover is to avoid having one in the first place. By eating a substantial meal before you begin drinking, staying hydrated, and drinking wisely the night before, you can significantly reduce your chances of waking up with a hangover. In addition to drinking water between each alcoholic beverage, you should avoid the following:
Avoid Sugary Drinks
Did you know that a single mixed drink may contain more than half of your recommended daily sugar intake? While your fruity punch bowl may taste delicious, it’ll cause your blood sugar to spike rapidly.
Though our bodies are more skilled at processing sugar than alcohol, consuming sugary alcoholic beverages can lead to a more severe hangover. Drinks with high sugar content can send your blood sugar on a roller coaster, leading to a blood-sugar crash the next day.
Plus, sugary beverages mask the taste of alcohol, making it far too easy to drink too many, too fast. Mixed drinks like pina coladas, gin and tonics, cosmopolitans, and mimosas are packed with hidden sugar, so it’s best to stick to beer, wine, and liquor served straight up.
Avoid Drinks with Congeners
Studies have shown that consuming drinks containing high amounts of congeners— toxic chemical by-products of alcohol— may increase the frequency, duration, and severity of a hangover.
Darker alcohol, such as bourbon, whiskey, cognac, and tequila, typically contains high levels of congeners. It’s best to avoid these liquors if you’re prone to severe hangovers. Instead, stick to drinks with lower levels of congeners, like gin, rum, and vodka— which contains virtually no congeners at all.
Stick to One Type of Alcohol
You’ve probably heard the saying beer before liquor, never sicker, liquor before beer, you’re in the clear. While a lucky few may be able to mix alcohols without a hangover, many people find that drinking multiple types of alcohol in one sitting leads to a more intense hangover the next day.
It’s not the mixing itself that makes a difference; it’s the order in which you drink them. If you begin drinking something like a beer or spiked seltzer, which has a lower alcohol content, your body begins processing the alcohol at a lower rate. When you switch to drinks with higher alcohol content, your body has difficulty catching up.
If you’re planning to drink multiple types of alcoholic beverages, be sure to start with higher alcohol content and work your way down to drinks with lower alcohol content. Or do your body a favor, and stick to one drink.
Eat a Hearty Breakfast
You know what they say; breakfast is the most important meal of the day— especially when you’re suffering from a hangover. Not only will a nutritious meal filled with a balance of carbs, protein, and fat give you energy, but it’ll also help balance your electrolytes and maintain blood sugar levels.
Low blood sugar levels are often associated with hangover symptoms like nausea, muscle fatigue, and weakness. Even if you’re feeling queasy, you should try to eat at least a little something to give your body and brain fuel to recover. The longer you go without a good meal, the longer you’ll feel the effects of your hangover.
If you’re too nauseous to keep down food, add an electrolyte supplement to your next glass of water. The vitamins and minerals inside will help restore your electrolyte levels and prevent further dehydration. Be sure to stay away from sugary cereals, coffee beverages, and pastries, which will only make you feel worse.
Drink a Cup of Coffee
After a late-night of drinking or a poor night’s sleep, you’ll likely wake up feeling exhausted. While it’s imperative that you drink lots of water to rehydrate, drinking your regular cup of joe may help you feel better as well.
The caffeine inside a cup of coffee or tea helps increase alertness and combat body fatigue. Because coffee is a slight diuretic, you’ll want to drink lots of water along with your morning cup.
While one or two cups of coffee can help you feel more energized, too much coffee may actually make you feel worse. In addition to leaving you with the jitters, excess caffeine levels can also worsen gastrointestinal problems, headaches, and irritability.
Try Hangover-Easing Supplements
While there’s not a ton of research behind natural hangover cures, a handful of studies have found that certain supplements may help to lessen your hangover. If you’re looking for an all-natural way to cure your headache and fatigue, here are a few research-backed supplements to try:
- Borage oil and prickly pear: One study found that After-Effect, a supplement containing both borage oil (an oil derived from starflower seeds) and prickly pear, reduced hangover symptoms in 88% of participants.
- Eleuthero: A 2015 study found that Eleuthero extract, also known as Siberian ginseng, decreased headache, dizziness, nausea, and the overall severity of a hangover.
- Ginger: Studies have shown that ginger can naturally reduce nausea, vomiting, and digestive discomfort— three common symptoms of a severe hangover.
- Red ginseng: A 2014 study found that red ginseng can reduce blood alcohol levels and help your body metabolize alcohol, reducing the severity of your hangover.
Pour Yourself a “Hair of the Dog”
When you wake up after a night of drinking feeling nauseous, the last thing you probably want to do is down another drink. This hangover cure—commonly referred to as hair of the dog— is primarily based on anecdotal evidence; there’s actually some scientific evidence to back up the urban legend.
While drinking a hangover-lessening alcoholic beverage may seem counterintuitive, it may help your body process methanol, a chemical found in small amounts in alcoholic beverages. However, we don’t recommend using this method often, as it can lead to increased alcohol dependence and an unhealthy morning habit.
Regardless of which hangover remedy you choose to use, remember that the best way to cure a hangover is to avoid getting one in the first place. By drinking in moderation, eating nutritious foods, and staying hydrated, you can prevent your hangover from ever occurring.
And if you need a little extra help avoiding the morning misery after a few too many drinks, try our all natural supplement Rallymate!