Myth-Busting The Top 5 Hangover Cure Myths
Find out what really works..and what doesn't
Hangovers suck. Last night, you had the time of your life. This morning, you’re wondering why you ever drank in the first place. The nausea, pounding headache, and shaking is too overwhelming to think about anything else. Which remedies ease the dreaded symptoms and which are just a misconception?
Myth #1: Hair of the dog
This is a classic go-to when it comes to hangover relief remedies. There’s nothing like easing your morning hangover by throwing back a few Bloody Mary’s or Mimosas (trust me, I’ve been there). But is this remedy curing or prolonging your symptoms? When it comes to curing alcohol-related symptoms, it may take the edge off in the moment, but this well-known trick is actually hurting you more than helping. Continuing to drink alcohol in the morning isn't the healthiest solution, and may just delay your hangover symptoms.
Myth #2: Eating a greasy breakfast
There are very few priorities when you’re hungover and food is one of them; perhaps a greasy breakfast or even better, bread to” soak up” the booze. These choices can help you, if you do it correctly. Clinical Dietitian, Melissa Bailey states “You’re going to want to eat a well-balanced meal containing carbohydrates, fats, and protein before a night of drinking.” Fats and proteins are important because they slow the absorption of alcohol that goes into your body, which means that it will take you longer to get drunk. This concept works the same for bread; while it may not soak up alcohol, it’s good to have food in your stomach before you start drinking, rather than to eat after.
Myth#3: Sleeping it off
The perfect solution for getting rid of a hangover: sleeping it off. It can’t hurt, right? It doesn’t take much work on your part and you will feel much better letting the time pass and you sobering up. It turns out that sleeping it off really isn’t the best thing for you when you’re hungover. Alcohol leaves your body in two ways: urine and breath, which means that getting up (as miserable as it might be), is actually the best for you. Walking, jogging, and drinking lots of water helps your body detox alcohol.
Myth #4: Pain killers
One of the most common “quick fixes” that many people turn towards to cure a hangover is pain killers. This has some truth to it and some not, but it does come with some serious health concerns. Aspirin and Ibuprofen are anti-inflammatories, therefore when the liver and brain are inflamed from excessive drinking, taking a couple before bed may not be a bad idea. On the other hand, Dr. George Koob, Ph.D. and Dr. Aaron Michelfelder both “strongly warn not to reach for Tylenol (AKA acetaminophen) when you’ve been drinking. Taking it could cause potentially serious damage to your already overburdened liver.”
Myth#5: Sports/Electrolyte Drinks
One of the biggest problems that comes with alcohol-induced dehydration is the electrolytes that are lost in the process. Since alcohol is a diuretic, it causes us to lose fluids more quickly and when electrolytes are lost, it can cause nausea, dizziness, and exhaustion (common hangover symptoms). Sports drinks like Gatorade don’t have the right ratio of electrolytes to properly replenish - “the amount of sugar in Gatorade off the chemical balance and negates the benefits of the electrolytes. It actually makes the problem worse,” states Jennifer Williams, a Pedialyte in-house research scientist.
At the end of the day, there is no perfect cure to a hangover. The best way to avoid one if you’re going to drink is to eat a healthy meal beforehand, and rehydrate with a proper oral rehydration electrolyte solution before bed and first thing the next morning. Doing these few simple steps will be doing yourself a favor and make you hate your life just a little bit less in the morning.