Hangovers are the curse of the drinking class. Crawling out of bed the morning after a bender, head pounding, mouth as dry as 10 acres of cotton, stomach swimming in quease – it all makes you swear you’ll never, ever drink again.
Unless you’re Baptist, never, ever drinking again is not an option, because Category 5 hurricanes, biblical Texas floods, North Korean nuclear tests, the President’s Tweets, forest fires, earthquakes and that annoying Taylor Swift video. We’re not even going to suggest moderation, because Cat 5 hurricanes, biblical Texas floods, North Korean nuclear tests, the President’s Tweets, forest fires, earthquakes and that annoying Taylor Swift video.
Hangovers are inevitable in an age of anxiety, so here are some ways to numb the pain of the drinking you did to numb the pain of coping.
Hangover help can begin before you order your first martini. A shot of prickly pear juice – yes, cactus juice – can lessen your morning-after pain by half. This isn’t herbal hoo-hah, a 2004 medical study found it prevented nausea and dry mouth.
Another way to get the jump on a hangover: Pick your liquor wisely. Whiskey, bourbon, dark tequila and cognac are loaded with chemicals called congeners that make a hangover last longer and hurt more. Vodka, gin, silver tequila and light rum have far fewer of these toxins. Vodka has almost none, so stick with Moscow mules, cosmos and screwdrivers for a gentler morning after.
If you didn’t believe the thing about cactus juice and went straight for the bourbon, here’s what you can do to turn the corner.
Drink water. Lots and lots of water. Alcohol wrings water out of your body, which is why you make so many trips to the bar’s bathroom while drinking and why your mouth is so dry when you wake up. Hangover symptoms are mostly caused by dehydration. So drink water when you wake up and keep drinking it all day. A tip from the pros: Drink a glass of water after every cocktail and you’ll stay hydrated. More water during drinking = less pain after drinking.
Hydration Clinic. Don’t have time for that water to work its magic? Head to a hydration clinic where you can get hooked up to an IV that will put fluid and electrolytes straight into your veins. It’s so Keith Richards in Amsterdam. Forty-five minutes with a needle in your arm and you’re good as new. Boutique clinics are available in major cities like Las Vegas, New York and New Orleans. A session runs between $120 and $250, and some of them will bring the IV to you.
Eat a big, greasy breakfast. Booze messes with your metabolism and your blood sugar levels. A trip to a diner or breakfast buffet can give you redemption from your alcohol sins. A tip from the pros: If you’re nauseated, skip this one.
Morning Recovery. There’s a lot of buzz around this new hangover cure that contains Dihydromyricetin (DHM) a chemical extracted from the Japanese raisin tree that has been used as a hangover remedy in Asian cultures for thousands of years. DHM helps the liver metabolize alcohol faster so less of it reaches your brain and bloodstream. Morning Recovery’s creator, Sisun Lee, raised more than a quarter-million dollars on IndieGogo – 1,000 x his goal — and quit his job as an engineer at Tesla to market his creation. It’s not the first of its kind to hit the western market. Lee says his version is the best, though, because it contains other healing ingredients, too, like milk thistle, Vitamin B complex prickly pear extract and electrolytes. Drink it before you go to bed and you’ll wake up with less pain, goes the pitch.
Meds. Duh. Ibuprofen for headaches, Pepto for nausea.
Take a nap. Yeah, you passed out when you got home. But a lot of alcohol makes you sleep, not rest. You wake up as soon as the booze begins to wear off and never get back to a deep
sleep. Once you’ve chugged water, taken some ibuprofen and eaten 3,000 calories of waffles, bacon, French toast and omelettes, go sleep it off. Your body will thank you.
Hair of the dog. Yes, it really works. Science backs it up, sorta. We’ll skip the detailed chemistry class explanation, but the alcohol you drank last night has turned into toxic methanol the next morning, and it contributes to your pain. Another shot of alcohol blocks the methanol, and makes you feel a tad better. So bring on the bloodies.* But take note: More alcohol doesn’t cure a hangover. It just delays it. Sooner or later the pain will come.
* In the interest of responsible journalism, we have to add that experts say drinking alcohol to ease the pain of drinking alcohol can lead to excessive consumption of alcohol and possibly, alcoholism.