33 hangover cures you need to know about
First off, the best hangover cure is preventative. Don't drink to excess. Once you have a massive hangover there is little you can do to get rid of it, other than riding it out. But if you didn't follow this sage advice and find yourself with a hangover, here are some "cures" that will help, or at least help alleviate some of the symptoms.
36) Line your stomach
Before you go drinking eat carby, greasy food that will line the outside of your stomach. This slows down how much alcohol you can absorb, meaning you can keep up with others drinking (if you must) but won't get so drunk you're ill, or incredibly hungover. An added bonus is that you get to eat delicious, greasy food, for health reasons.
If you're counting calories and this idea puts you off, you shouldn't be drinking anyway. Booze is cram-packed full of calories, and drinking on an empty stomach will make you very ill indeed.
35) Drink pear juice, or eat pears
This one has been scientifically proven to help cure your hangover. Drinking pear juice or eating pears before you start drinking greatly reduces hangover symptoms the morning afterwards (especially the reduced concentration and sensitivity to light associated with hangovers). So far the research has only been done using asian varieties of pears, though it's perfectly possible this will work with european pears as well.
34) Drink one cup of water per alcoholic drink
We know water isn't as delicious as cups of delicious alcohol, but if you want to avoid getting ill in the morning you need to stay hydrated.
Note: This can backfire as you will always be "double parked" and have to down your drinks. Don't use this technique around anyone who plays the "double parked" rule or you will get very drunk and need to make use of the facilities every two minutes.
33) Avoid drinks with caffeine
Combining alcohol and caffeine and alcohol is a bad idea, not just because Jägerbombs taste disgusting. The caffeine causes alertness, making you feel less drunk, encouraging you to drink much more to feel the same effects as if you've drunk drinks containing no caffeine.
It'll also keep you awake through the room spinning phase, rather than letting you sleep right through it.
32) Don't drink fizzy alcohol - it gets you drunker than you need to be
Fizzy alcohol has been found to get you drunk more than non-fizzy alcohol, as it helps absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. If you want to feel better in the morning, drink flatter drinks. Drink vodka orange rather than vodka coke, or, if you want to remain classy, stir your champagne with a whisk to get all the bubbles out.
Or try a bloody mary.
31) Ignore all advice about "what order" you should drink your drinks in
You've heard the rhymes "wine before beer makes you feel queer". "Beer after cider makes a bad rider" "Beer before wine makes you feel fine" "Wine before beer never have fear"
But like most rhymes, they aren't scientifically accurate. There's no evidence (other than anecdotal) that the order of your drinks will effect how you feel in the morning. What matters is the quantity of alcohol you consume. If it's a lot you're going to get bigger hangover, no matter what order you necked your drinks in.
30) Learn when to stop
The easiest way to avoid a hangover is to learn your limits, and stop when you hit them. If you can think far enough ahead when you're drunk to realise "this next one might make me ill in the morning" don't drink it. Future you will thank you for it.
29) 2 pints of squash before you go to bed
Drink two pints of squash before you go to bed. It'll hydrate you like you're drinking water, but you'll have a nicer taste in your mouth when you wake up in the morning. When you're on the edge of throwing up, that's no small thing.
28) Eat again
We probably don't need to convince you to eat whilst you're drunk. It's a necessity. Eat whatever weird thing you're craving, but make sure it's carby and full of fat. This is the best way to combat the hangover and start absorbing all that nasty poisonous alcohol you do enjoy drinking so much.
27) More water
Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it causes you to pee more fluids than you absorb. A lot of the horrendous symptoms of a hangover - the pounding headache - comes from being extremely dehydrated. Drink as soon as you wake up (maybe put a glass of water by your bed at night before you sleep, if your drunken mind can handle that) and it'll help you feel better.
It's not appetising but water with salt and sugar mixed in it does a lot of good and should help you loose that shaky feeling.
Top tip: You know how sometimes after drinking you suddenly jolt awake at night? Your body has just gotten rid of the alcohol - and reacts by waking you up, in a sort of pseudo-withdrawal symptom. This is the time to drink plenty of water, to replenish what's been lost, and in the morning you'll feel fresh.
The best method, if you can achieve it, is to sleep your way through the entire ordeal. All other methods below are either not as good as sleeping it off, or are methods to help you sleep it off as best you can.
Lie down and try your hardest to go back to sleep until your throbbing headache is just a dull annoyance.
The worst part of a hangover is the pounding headache. Before you can even make it to the kitchen to prepare food to cure the stomach, you'll need to be able to move (which your headache is so far preventing you from doing).
Take painkillers as soon as you think you can take them without immediately throwing them up.
Aspirin is traditionally very good for hangover headaches, though it is trial and error and you'll soon find out which do and don't work for you. However, if you've had a really heavy night, it's best to avoid this anti-inflammatory (and any others, like ibuprofen), as it'll just give your liver more work to do.
Which hangovers it works for: Not the ones where you're still drunk, or when you're feeling sick. Aspirin can do terrible things to your guts - this is for when you've got a splitting headache.
24) Lie down in a darkened room, and wear shades
Sensitivity to bright lights is another common side effect of drinking too much the night before. You can solve all these things by looking like an 80s guy.
It's not a cure, but it'll relieve a symptom, and make you look vaguely cool in the process. We're sure that's your priority.
23) Eat eat eat
When you're hungover, eating is either the last thing you want to do, or the only thing you can think about. If you can stomach it, eating can be a great way to help a hangover go away.
At least part of why you feel so terrible is that you have no energy. Normally your liver would produce more glucose to deal with you being low on energy, but it's a little busy processing the toxins you flooded your system with last night. With that to deal with it cn't break down stored carbs so well, and so you feel low on energy.
If you can't stomach anything delcious as the above, try dried crackers. Ideally you should eat...
22) A fried breakfast
Fatty food like bacon and sausages trigger a hormone that slows down the absorption of alcohol. Eggs contain cysteine, which is used to make glutathione, a chemical which flushes out poisons. Beans do nothing, but are delicious.
If you can stomach a fried breakfast, do it. If you can't right now, have one on standby for when you can - you need the energy.
If you can't stomach that...
Yep, that toast is also a magic eye picture. Do not attempt to read it with a hangover, the room is spinning enough as it is.
If you can't stomach a nice big fry up, plain toast is the safe option, or crackers if you have access to them. The plainer the food, the more likely you are to be able to eat it and make sure it stays eaten.
20) Orange juice
Cost: from £1 per litre.
You need the vitamin C - you're probably running low and it helps speed up alcohol metabolism. Orange juice puts it back in. It you don't fancy the acidity, cut it with water. Particularly good with red wine hangovers.
19) Re-hydration tablets/Dioralyte
Cost: £3.50 for six - but ask in Boots/Superdrug etc as they may have cheaper, own brand alternatives, which will work just as well.
Much like berocca and saltwater/sugar suggestions above, Diarolyte replaces lost electrolytes and is a magical substance with rehydrating powers. You should feel an instant boost.
18) Use an IV drip
IV drips are the best way to rehydrate you. The only problem is hospitals are unwilling to treat hangovers, no matter how much you insist it "feels like you're dying", unless you actually are.
If you live in London or, for some reason, Cheshire, however, you can go to a revivme clinic, which will administer you with an IV drip to rehydrate you, whilst also pumping you full of painkillers and drugs to settle your stomach.
17) Avoid alcohol
Hair of the dog is not a solution to a hangover. You're just prolonging the hangover or delaying it and it could lead to alcholism, or you going full on Shining crazy.
Cost: from 68/p a kilo.
Bananas are packed full of potassium, which will have been lost - replenish your stock and you'll feel far better. Kiwi fruit works too.
This is especially decent for beer hangovers, red wine hangovers and whiskey hangovers. Should be a staple of every hangover diet, though - even the ones where it feels like you can't eat anything.
15) Coconut Water
Cost: £1.20 (Ducoco is the cheapest we've found).
Coconut water contains the five electrolytes found in the human body lost during drinking. It's like the coconut knew we needed them and evolved symbiotically. Coconut water replaces these better than almost anything else: energy drinks like Gatorade only contain two of the much needed electrolytes.
Particularly good if you feel sick - it'll give you nutrition without having to eat anything.
The fructose in the honey breaks down the acetaldehyde, which is the nasty stuff your body produces when it's processing alcohol which makes everything hurt.
13) A cold shower
As well as helping you wash away your shame, a cold shower wakes you up, cools you down and stops you feeling nauseous. You're probably quite hot and sweaty as well, which will only add to the awful hangover feeling you've got.
12) Ice cubes
While there's no disputing the effectiveness of gangsta rap for curing hangovers, we're talking about frozen water.
This cools you down and eases a headache better than painkillers. A cool flannel on the forehead works too.
Which hangovers it works for: Red wine or whiskey hangovers, or cheap spirits hangovers. Ideal for anything which has left you with a terrible, terrible headache, like a red hot needle in one part of your brain.
11) Berocca/ Vitamin B
Cost: £4 (for a tube - should last you a while...)
Berocca is packed full of vitamin B, to replace that lost. Berocca is particularly effective if drunk before heading out.
When you wake up feeling shaky and your mouth is full of horrible, sickness is sure to follow. Brush your teeth, gargle with mouthwash and you'll feel instantly fresher, brighter and not so sick. Surprisingly effective.
You've flushed out a lot of your vitamin B whilst drinking, and you need it to recover, especially B6. It just so happens houmous is packed full of the stuff. Eat some with eggs (it goes surprisingly well with eggs) and you should speed up your recovery.
When you're hungover you need energy and fast. Lucozade is packed full of it (as are other sports drinks) and are surprisingly stomachable during a hangover.
You're not going to like this one, but a run will get your endorphins flowing again and start you feeling better. Don't attempt this if you're way too ill (you'll know if this is the case) as you shouldn't raise your heart rate too much in that kind of a state, but this works very well for lesser hangovers.
If you have somewhere you have to go whilst hungover (we empathise) then coffee will help wake you up and get alert. Have a treat and pack it full of sugar and milk to help restore some energy at the same time, and you might just about be functional for whatever engagement you have accidentally arranged for yourself on hangover day.
5) Ginger or Mint tea
Ginger and mint are both used widely as a natural way of stopping nausea. If you have it with honey, the natural sugar will help the alcohol break down faster. The tea also has less caffeine than coffee and will help wake you up in a more gentle fashion.
Apparently this is one all the stars are doing to cure their hangovers. Like all the above this helps replace sugar you need in the morning whilst waking you up with the caffeine.
3) Pickle Juice
You've got to be pretty brave to try this one, or confident you've made it through the "I'm going to throw up" phase.
Drinking pickle juice (from pickled onions or gherkins) will replace salts and electrolytes your body needs, to help you recover from last night. Be warned, it doesn't taste great and you shouldn't drink much at all, if you are planning on trying this horrendous cure.
2) Miso Soup
Your body is looking for amino acids, water, vitamins and minerals to help flush out your system. Delicious Miso has all this, pus it's a fermented food containing a lot of healthy bacteria to help with your digestion, and pure delicious flavour.
1) A (virgin) Bloody Mary
A lot of people swear by Bloody Marys to crush a hangover. They say it's the alcohol in the Bloody Mary, but in actual fact it's the tomatoes that's making them feel better. Tomatoes are high in vitamin C and contain glutathione– a substance the body produces to help counter-act hangover-inducing toxins. Any Worcestershire Sauce you add for flavour will also give you some much-needed sodium, and tobasco sauce will help boost your metabolism as a bonus.
Want to know why you get hangovers? The 'science' of being hungover is below the cures.
This is just for those wondering why these God Forsaken brain pains are occurring.
- Alcohol is a diuretic, which is the technical way of saying it flushes out the fluids from your body. Ever wondered why you keep popping to the loo even though you're not actually drinking that much liquid.
- Dehydration occurs. In fact, with all this liquid loss, your organs get desperate and siphon off water from the brain. They just flat-out steal it. This causes your brain to shrink and accordingly, you get a headache.
- With this, ahem, expulsion of all this liquid, you're pissing away potassium, magnesium and sodium too, which causes the feeling of fatigue, sickness and also causes headaches.
- Processing alcohol produces acetaldehyde, which is more toxic than booze itself. This does rotten stuff to your liver, which is why drinking too much is dangerous.
...by the by, it's a myth to say alcohol consumption kills brain cells. It doesn't.
That's enough of this vaguely educational malarkey: the useful thing to take is that hangovers can be eased by re-hydration and replacing the lost electrolytes.
Want to know the most fun ways to get a hangover? See 10 bizarre shots you have to try or 10 drinks you should avoid at all costs during freshers...