The only thing that's fun about a hangover is the journey getting there. I think it's safe to say that most of us have over indulged ourselves at one time or another and woken up the next morning feeling anything but productive. The fatigue, nausea, brain fog, and headache associated with a hangover are not only debilitating, but they can leave you begging for mercy.
You may have heard the phrase "the hair of the dog" or the notion that getting up and immediately having another drink is helpful. While I'm not an authority on hangover remedies, science tells us that there is some validity to this hangover cure. We'll talk more about that in a minute.
For this article's purposes, we are going to focus on dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, the first things that you should address if you want to feel human again after a night of heavy drinking. Let's take a look at the anatomy of a hangover, the best ways to treat a hangover, and steps you can take that may help reduce your chances of getting a hangover in the first place.
THE ANATOMY OF A HANGOVER
The after-effects that you feel after a night of drinking alcohol, referred to as a hangover is a result of the following imbalances and irritations that are going on in your body:
- low blood sugar
- alcohol withdrawal
- electrolyte imbalances
- stomach and intestine irritation
Anyone of those things by itself can cause you to feel pretty rotten. The good news is there are relatively easy solutions to address most of them. However, if left unaddressed, you will likely experience one or more of the following symptoms of a hangover:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Fatigue and weakness
- Poor or decreased sleep
- Headaches and muscle aches
- Excessive thirst and dry mouth
- Decreased ability to concentrate
- Nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain
- Increased sensitivity to light and sound
- Dizziness or a sense of the room spinning
- Mood disturbances, such as depression, anxiety, and irritability
The Best Ways to Treat a Hangover
Effective treatment of a hangover requires you to address each of the imbalances that are going on in your body. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all hangover cures. Your blood sugar levels, hydration, and electrolyte balance are the most treatable and will give you the quickest relief. The headache, nausea, and possible vomiting will all have to run their course.
Low Blood Sugar - Though you may feel that it's the last thing you want to do, getting up and eating a healthy breakfast will begin to stabilize your blood sugar. That should make you feel a little bit better right away.
Dehydration - Drinking plenty of water will help with rehydration, and you can start the process before you go to bed after a night of drinking alcohol. Drinking a glass of water or two mixed with the oral hydrating solution HYDRATE will keep you on a path to hydration during the night and decrease the symptoms of dehydration when you wake up the next day.
Alcohol Withdrawal - This is where we will address "the hair of the dog." Believe it or not, there is some science-based evidence that having a drink the morning of a hangover might actually help a little bit anyway.
Why, you ask? Alcoholic drinks contain small amounts of methanol, and alcohol causes your body to convert methanol into formaldehyde, which is a toxic compound believed to cause some hangover symptoms.
Research shows that drinking alcohol when you have a hangover actually stops converting methanol into formaldehyde and allows it to be safely excreted from your body. This being said, drinking to feel better after too much drinking can lead to alcohol dependence. Use this remedy with caution.
Electrolyte Imbalance - This requires more than just drinking water. Again, drinking water is great for hydration, but most drinking water does not contain electrolytes. Oral rehydrating solutions such as HYDRATE are your best bet for replenishing electrolytes. Many people reach for sports drinks and energy drinks to restore electrolytes; however, the high sugar content, artificial ingredients, and caffeine content in these drinks are likely to make you feel worse.
Stomach and Intestine Irritation - Hydration, restoring electrolytes, and stabilizing your blood sugar will help stomach and intestine irritation. However, sticking with a bland diet or the B.R.A.T. diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) is the best way to soothe an upset stomach.
STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO AVOID A HANGOVER
Drinking in moderation is a sure-fire way to avoid a hangover, but if you're reading this, it's probably too late for a lecture. Here are some things you can do to minimize the effects of a hangover while you're drinking:
- Eat before drinking - this decreases the time it takes for alcohol to enter your bloodstream, which keeps blood alcohol levels lower.
- Stay hydrated - drink water or, better yet, HYDRATE in between drinks before you go to bed to minimize the headache, dry mouth, and pounding heart associated with dehydration.
- Get enough sleep - alcohol is known to disrupt your sleep, so you may need to get in some extra Zs the next day after drinking to feel more rested.
A hangover, as the name would imply, is not synonymous with your body feeling its best. And unfortunately, there is not a magic bullet to cure hangover symptoms either. The good news, though, is that a hangover rarely lasts more than 24 hours.
Focus on hydration and replenishing your electrolytes during and after drinking to reduce the symptoms of a hangover. An oral rehydrating solution like HYDRATE is the best option because it comprises whole, organic ingredients and unprocessed electrolytes. Best of all, it has only 1 gram of sugar from dehydrated lemon juice.
If there were a magic bullet to cure a hangover, HYDRATE would likely be your bullet. Rehydrate and feel better with HYDRATE!