Sunday Morning Comin’ Down – Best Hangover Remedies

Levels of hangover:

Bit tired.

Bit rough, actually.

I’ve felt better, to be honest.

I can’t see.

Never again.

Kill me.

Silence.

The Very British Problems Hangover Scale

If you landed here you’ve had it, you are having it now and you probably will have it in the future. Don’t even try to deny it, it would only cause you more brain effort than you can handle right now. Wow, Saturday night has been a blast; you’ve necked five pints and tequila shots until you lost count. Everyone was laughing, joking and having a great time. You’ve been a party animal until somehow you’ve managed to stumble home and splat on your bed making a solid sound that reminds you of a corpse falling from a roof. Blackout. Oh yeah, we’ve all been there, and we all know what’s coming next: a damn savage hangover.

I must say that when I was younger, let’s say not even close to the legal drinking age, I used to get stoned almost every Saturday night, regardless of any consequences I might have faced. I could have choked down one of those full 1-litre beer mugs for dinner and then do shots with not even a hint of a headache the morning after. I kept the pace until four years ago when I started to drink heavier stuff, demanding always something more from my body, and I began to wake up feeling like I was in Dante’s seventh circle of hell.

But what are hangovers anyway? How do we get them biologically speaking? And how can we get rid of them faster?

 

 

SCIENCE HAS SPOKEN: DRINKING DOESN’T ALWAYS HYDRATE 

Basically, a hangover is a nasty mixture of physical symptoms featuring banging headaches, fatigue, weakness, queasiness, muscle aches, red eyes and a continuous thirst that makes you feel like you’ve just eaten a bag of sand.

In the first place, we need to consider weight, which can be crucial, age and gender. Apparently, women are more likely to get hangovers because their metabolism works more slowly than those of men’s, making alcohol removal from their body way more difficult.

Then we shall consider the possibility of being tired when getting drunk. You might have a had a hell of a week at work and while your mind is on a party mood, your body might be not. Of course, the bastard won’t let you know that until the day after.

So, who do we have to blame for hangovers? Well, well, well, the list might be more populated than you thought…

 

CONGENERS

The word already sounds awful, but you should know we assimilate this chemical byproduct every time we drink something dark-coloured like red wine, stout beer, whiskey, brandy, bourbon etc. These compounds come to life during the alcohol fermentation process (or sometimes added afterwards) and they are your sworn enemies when it comes to the day after.

 

ACETALDEHYDE

Just like congeners, acetaldehyde is a toxin which starts to build up as soon as our body begins to deal with alcohol processing. It’s said to be 30 times more toxic than alcohol itself and it’s definitely on our blacklist.

 

DEHYDRATION

Alcohol is a diuretic and for this reason, it helps the body expel fluids. This is exactly why you feel the need to pee every 5 seconds when you’re drunk and why you crave for water from 4 am until 9 pm.

 

 

WHAT’S IN YOUR HEAD, ZOMBIE? 

Let’s be honest, you can give the impression you feel decent, you can detox by eating superfood and you can nap all day, but what really gives you a hard time is that dreadful headache. Bang, bang, bang, non-stop, like a blacksmith with a hammer. Headaches happen because our body is trying to restore fluid levels back to normal by narrowing blood vessels, which means that there is a fewer amount of oxygen flowing to the brain. The brain, in utter panic, dilates its own blood vessels and it swells. Since the brain itself is incapable of feeling pain, pain receptors around it catch the signal and bravely feel the pain for it.

Stoned brain cells can also cause other annoying issues apart from sheer headache. Their depressed behaviour is responsible for the lack of coordination, slow response, dizziness and that fatigue that comes from low blood sugar.

Last but not least, blackouts. It looks like cytokines are the guilty substances which erase portions of memory of the night before, making people sometimes waking up completely oblivious. These substances are secreted by immune cells that take care of inflammation, however, I personally reckon that they might work at our own “Shame & Dignity Preservation Centre”. We definitely owe them more than the next beer.

 

HELP! IT’S HERE!

We can talk science all we want but the headache is here and we are screwed. The sheer truth is that there is no magical formula to make it all go away and the real secret is time. Be patient, it will be over eventually. However, there are some remedies coming straight from my very own hangover remedy kit that I hope you will find useful. Remember we’re all different, so what works for me might be a complete disaster for you.

WATER

 

Call it a classic, but drinking plenty of water before going to bed and during the night can really save your ass for the day after. Of course, you will feel the need to drink every 5 minutes, waking up continuously and making your already poor sleep even worse, but your body will take the lead, don’t even try to ignore it. Many people say “you should drink water between alcoholic drinks”. Ha! These people should know that nobody does that, not even the 14-year-old girl with her first cranberry Caipiroska.

COKE 

 

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a true blessing coming in times of need and despair. Caffeine and sugar in a bubbly liquid format that will bring your blood sugar levels back to normal in no time. The fact that you can use Coke to polish coins should give you a clear idea of the much-needed cleaning service your stomach is going to receive.

GRAPEFRUIT JUICE

 

An absolute must in my list, this is by far the best juice you can drink after the late night shenanigans. I know many people don’t like grapefruit because its bitter taste can be very strong but it instantly cleans up your mouth of any deadly breath you may have even after brushing your teeth. Just make sure you don’t drink it right after that or puke will be the next thing you’ll see.

LEMON & LIME JUICE

 

I would love to say I drink this juice every time I have hangovers but I don’t. Unfortunately, this precious juice is a rare diamond in grocery stores and I only found it a couple of times in the past. I hope you will be luckier than me and find it because it has the power to slap your face with a load of citrus vitamins and a very smooth fresh taste.

COFFEE

 

If you don’t happen to have the above items at home, you can follow the standard hangover procedures and make yourselves a nice cup of coffee. Don’t rush it and take your time to enjoy it, results will come along. Add a bit of milk and sugar if you want to feel better sooner and if making an espresso, try not to drink it alone as it can often make you feel even sicker.

GREEN APPLES

 

Any fruit is going to be a godsend, but green apples exceed every expectation. With their sharp and dry taste can be the perfect fit if you’re feeling nauseous and can’t stand the vision of any food.

PINEAPPLE

 

Fresh cut pineapple is great for many things and one of them is acting against headaches. It doesn’t apply specifically to hangovers but it can only do something good for us.

CARBS 

 

Anything you can find is precious. Carbs are real saviours when dealing with hangovers as they regulate hypoglycemia and could avoid the next-day troubles if only we’d make the effort to eat a slice of bread every 5 minutes while still drunk. It’s unlikely to have a drunk person willing to do that, but you might want carbs the day after, maybe by dinner time when hopefully you are fully recovered.

FRIED FOOD

 

Potatoes, chicken, eggs, bacon, whatever food can be fried can be an option while you are still drunk. I began to think McDonald’s stays open at night only because of drunk people who need to grease up their stomach before going home and drop dead on the bed. Add a large Coke and a burger and you will find out there are only two options available: feel perfectly fine and enjoy your sleep or feel disgusted by the grease and hug a toilet for the next 3 hours.

HOT LEMONADE

 

This really is my ace in the hole. Since I was a child I’ve always known the power of simplicity: hot water, freshly squeezed lemon juice and a pinch of sugar. And all the stomachaches magically disappeared. I’m still carrying this resourceful recipe with me and I still apply it when the situation seems desperate and you feel so nauseous that you think you might be pregnant with the last night’s dinner. My grandpa used to say hot lemonade is a great remedy because “it can only go up or down. Either way, the problem will be solved”. And he was damn right!

Other people witnessed benefits from the below, so even if I never tested them you might be curious and try:

  • Watermelon

  • Nuts

  • Blueberries

  • Salmon

  • Boiled potatoes

  • Tomato juice

  • Oats

  • Ginger

Some suggest a hearty breakfast is ideal to recover from a hangover. Admirable, but honestly, not all of us can handle the sight of that much food as soon as they wake up dizzy and with a sense of room spinning.

Lastly, you can always seek shelter in medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen, anti-inflammatory or antiacids for the stomach. Just don’t exaggerate, you’re not dying after all, be a man!  

Try to stay in bed and get some rest because even if alcohol makes you sleepy, it usually prevents the deeper stages of sleep and you will surely feel tired even if you have done nothing at all. Your body, on the other hand, is working overtime to make you look less miserable, so just be patient and wait.

Now that your hangover is gone, it’s Saturday again, you don’t even remember how bad you felt and you are ready for another spin. Stupid, but I will be at the bar, queuing right next to you for drinks. See you there!

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