Food & Drink

The DOs and DON’Ts of Surviving a Hangover

Mark Yocca / Supercall

Surviving a hangover is like navigating a minefield: You have to cautiously avoid any harsh foods or activities that will exacerbate the effects on your vulnerable body, mind and spirit. We can’t make relief come any faster or speed up time, but we can provide some handy tips on how to get through a hangover in the best way possible.

DO Sleep It Off

Simply wait long enough, and your body will repair itself. Give yourself a head start on that R&R by sleeping through as much of the pain as you can. Ignorance is bliss.

DON’T Drink Any Hair of the Dog

Sorry to be the bearer of buzzkill news, but hair of the dog is a myth. It may temporarily alleviate the pain (because alcohol inhibits the chemical process that causes hangovers), but that added alcohol will eventually turn into fuel for the hangover fire raging inside your skull and tummy.

DO Drink Water

If there’s one thing to remember about avoiding hangovers, it’s hydration. The real trick is remembering it while you’re drinking and pacing yourself with cups of water. But H2O also helps the next day. There’s no need to overindulge in agua to compensate for your overindulgence in booze, but be sure to replace all the water you lost to alcohol’s dehydrating effects.

DON’T Drink Gatorade

Sports drinks are designed to fuel athletes, not hungover couch potatoes. While the electrolytes in Gatorade help restore your body's natural hydration, you don't need all the extra sugar that’s packed into that neon juice. Coconut water provides many of the same nutrients in a slimmer, more natural package.

DO Drink Caffeine

Caffeine won’t fix you after a rough night, but lack thereof could compound a hangover into a double whammy of pain. If you regularly consume a cup a day, trust your old buddy Joe. But if you don’t already drink coffee, don’t pick up another bad habit.

DON’T Eat Something Greasy

A filling meal actually does the most good before you start drinking, not the next morning (or late at night when the munchies hit). That said, you do need sustenance to weather the hangover storm, But don't be tempted by a greasy brick of a breakfast sandwich or sky-high bacon tower at your local diner. As at all other times, a healthy, hangover-killing meal filled with avocado, eggs and vegetables will leave you in better shape than a gut bomb.

DO Work up Some Endorphins with a Workout

Breaking a sweat won't actually cure your hangover any faster than sitting around, but it will release feel-good chemicals in your brain. If you work out regularly, don't skip a day. But your body may be extra sore, so do take it easy on yourself.

DON’T Waste Your Money on a Hangover Pill

There’s a pill for everything these days: a pill to wake you up and one to put you to sleep, to make you hungry and to kill your appetite, to do your taxes, to call your mom, and of course to cure a hangover. These hangover pills fall into two camps—those you take before you drink to gird yourself against the booze, and those you take the next morning to revive yourself. But both types are the same snake oil unsupported by medical research. Don’t bother.

DO Take Painkillers in the Morning

While you shouldn’t trust fancy new startups hocking hangover miracle cures, feel free to reach for your basic ibuprofen or acetaminophen—just wait until the morning to medicate. Taking painkillers the same night you go out drinking won’t prevent pain later. It will, however, compound damage to your liver, and the effects will wear off by sunrise anyway. Just take a few pills in the morning instead.