Hangover Cures – 6 Facts and Fads

What's working and what is not
April 08, 2022
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hangover Cures
You know you’ll need a hangover cure if this is how your night is going | © Pixabay / Pexels

Quick hangover cures is probably the first thing you’ll type into your search bar the morning after a big night out. You wake up with a sharp headache and fatigue weighing your body down. 

To sum it up, you are pretty much desperate to find a way that will stamp out the dreaded drinking consequence. 

But here’s the catch: the vast web is littered with misinformation on how to nurse your debilitating hangover. 

Not everything you read on the internet will actually help your predicament – and much of it might actually make you feel worse. 

We’re here to help you separate the facts from the fads.

1. Caffeine: Fad

best hangover cures
Don’t be fooled by coffee’s ability to get you through the day, it can have opposite side effects when coupled with a hangover | © Nathan Dumlao / Unsplash

We’ve got some bad news for you caffeine addicts out there. Your cup of morning joe might ease the aches of your caffeine withdrawal, but it can actually make your hangover headache worse.

Since caffeine is a mild diuretic, it can dehydrate your body further and worsen your symptoms.

Caffeine can also narrow your blood vessels in a process called vasoconstriction. This increases blood pressure and makes your headaches stronger.

If you can’t stay away from coffee, you might find yourself experiencing a caffeine withdrawal headache along with your regular hangover. Not a fun combination. 

In reality, skipping your daily portion of vanilla latte or plain americano can be a brutal challenge. You can still drink it, but make sure to keep hydrating your body and minimize the amount of coffee you consume.

2. Painkillers: Fact (but only the right kind)

Before you rush to your usual stash of painkillers to get this quick hangover cure, make sure you’re taking the right kind. 

When it comes to hangover cure pills, pharmacists recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. These medicines can combat hangover symptoms like headaches and pains, as well as counteract the inflammatory consequences of alcohol.

what cures a hangover
Make sure you take the right kind of painkillers to soothe your headache | © Anna Shvets / Pexels

Although paracetamol products are often recommended online as a quick hangover healer, you should definitely avoid them. Brands like Panadol, Mapap, Tylenol, and other paracetamol products contain acetaminophen – which may cause liver damage when combined with alcohol.

If you’re left unsure about what painkillers you’re allowed to take, it’s always wise to consult your doctor from the get-go.

3. Drinking more alcohol: Fad

We’ve all had someone we know swear by this hangover cure loophole. However, science seems to disagree on how well the fad actually works. 

Known as the ‘hair of the dog that bit you’, or ‘hair of the dog’ for short, this hack involves drinking more alcohol to relieve hangover symptoms. 

best cures for a hangover
© Fred Moon / Unsplash
hangover cures fast
© Aram / Pexels

As a temporary fixer, ‘hair of the dog’ can make you feel better by boosting your endorphins. However, your hangover is sure to come in for another rodeo when you stop drinking. 

There is a seed of truth. Drinking more alcohol in an attempt to alleviate the hangover can relieve the symptoms you’re already experiencing. 

But in the long run, this tactic can lead to unhealthy alcohol consumption habits and addiction.

You’re basically giving your body more alcohol to try to recover from. It’s a vicious cycle (and quite a concerning one).

4. Sleep: Fact 

It may seem simple enough, but many of your hangover symptoms are related to the lack of sleep that occurs when you’re drunk. 

hangover symptoms
To actually recover, your body needs to get the rest it craves | © Marcus Aurelius / Pexels

Alcohol can adversely affect your sleep patterns. A night of heavy drinking can prolong the time you spend in deep sleep and shorten the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep, which is restorative for you bodies. Lack of sleep can also make your hangover anxiety worse.

An unrested body will not be able to fight against the headaches and fatigue brought on by over drinking. 

5. Greasy Foods: Fad

Sad news to us all, this hangover cure is actually a fad. While a hangover cure can be food, a cheesy burger won’t do the job. 

We have all experienced the temptation of ordering a greasy, fast-food meal on a hanging Sunday morning. As happy as this comfort food makes us feel, it’s not the hangover remedy many claim it to be.

cheesy burger
© Eiliv Sonas Aceron / Unsplash
© Chad Montano / Unsplash

Picture this – you’ve already upset the stomach with the heavy drinking session, and greasy food will probably only make it worse. If you draw the short straw, you will also experience some extra nausea.

But we’ve got some good news. Having a hearty meal before you drink has been proven to slow your body’s absorption of alcohol. 

Sadly, when the damage is already done, that double cheeseburger won’t do you much good. 

6. Vitamins and Nutrients: Fact

Vitamins aren’t the hangover cure that will magically make your hangover go away like magic. But what they can do is help support your body’s natural metabolism and defenses – which ultimately alleviate some of the vexing symptoms.

Your body might lose a ton of vitamins and nutrients when you’re drinking because alcohol is a diuretic.

Vitamin C, for example, is an antioxidant. It will speed up the metabolism of alcohol in the liver and help you rid your body of ingested toxins. 

Fruits and vegetables which are high in nutrients and minerals can replenish what your body might have lost during your hours of drinking, acting as the best hangover cure food by helping your body in its recovery process. 

Fruits and vegetables
A healthy dose of fruits and the recommended amount of vitamins will help you get back on track with recovery | © Eiliv Sonas Aceron / Unsplash

This doesn’t mean you should overload your body with vitamin pills or eat oranges until you feel sick. Take only the recommended dose and allow your body to do its job.

So far, science has not yet provided us with a foolproof hangover cure that’ll instantly heal you. 

What science can suggest, though, is that you keep yourself hydrated, take medication when necessary, and give your body the rest it badly needs. 

It’ll take care of the rest on its own. 


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