You wake up with a fuzzy mouth and a fuzzier memory of the night before. The beat of last night's music is pounding in your head, even though your bedroom is silent. The room is spinning and so is your stomach. Nothing makes you regret foolish excesses more than a hangover. It's too late to turn back time, but there are steps you can take to make up for your over-indulgence.
Try these simple hangover cures and get on with your day.
Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that instead of reabsorbing water into your body, your kidneys send it straight to your bladder. And every time you pee, your body loses the salt and potassium it needs to function.
The best way to fight the resulting headache, fatigue and nausea is to swiftly rehydrate and replace the salts and minerals excreted by your kidneys. Water will do the trick when it comes to replacing the fluids you lost during those frequent bathroom trips, but a sports drinks or vegetable juice will speed up the process by reintroducing potassium, magnesium and electrolytes that are key to helping you feel better.
Soothe your stomach
The nausea that frequently accompanies a night of drinking is one of the worst side effects of downing one too many margaritas.
Ginger tea calms the stomach, a banana smoothie will go farther – it will help coat your roiling stomach and replace those all-important electrolytes. It also has the added bonus of raising your blood sugar (and easing those morning-after spins) which takes a nosedive after an evening of tippling.
Manage your pain
Hangover headaches happen when your body borrows water from your brain in response to dehydration. The brain shrinks and pulls on the membranes that connect it to your skull, leading to the throbbing pain that comes from getting sloshed. While rehydration will take care of the brain shrinkage, it can take awhile before you get relief.
There's no need to punish yourself by suffering through the pain of the hangover – manage your headache with over-the-counter aspirin or ibuprofin. Avoid the preemptive approach of taking pain relievers before falling asleep after a night of drinking, and if you do, pass on those with acetaminophen, as it has been shown to interact with the liver.
Fight the urge to stay horizontal all day – you won't get quality rest anyway. Alcohol inhibits the production of glutamine, an amino acid produced by the body that acts as a stimulant. Once you stop drinking, your body kicks into overdrive and produces more than it needs to make up for lost time. The excess glutamine then stimulates your brain while you sleep, keeping you from getting the deep rest your body needs and leading to fatigue, jitters, anxiety and high blood pressure.
The best way to counteract these side effects is to get moving – even if you don't feel like it. Working up a sweat will help your body clear itself of the drink-related toxins and shorten the lifespan of your hangover.
What are your best hangover cures?