How to heal that hangover

By Kate Evans

It may have seemed logical to sneak an extra water bottle filled with Rubinoff into the Afrojack concert at the Mullins Center last night, but that searing pain above the eye and overly sensitive gag reflex says otherwise. A wild night filled with excessive drinking, mixing alcohol types and followed by sleepless nights is often only later reflected upon as awesome.

What many students wish to quickly forget, however, is the dreaded physical and sometimes emotional pain and discomfort that ensues the following morning. Yes, friends – the not-so-elusive hangover. This mysterious plague that lasts anywhere from no time at all to 72 hours is best known for its crippling symptoms sometimes consisting of headache, dizziness and lightheadedness, nausea, light sensitivity, extreme dehydration, blurred vision, regret and so many more.

It’s common sense that the easiest way to prevent a hangover is to abstain completely from drinking, but that isn’t always the most fun option. After a night – or afternoon – of indulging in debauchery, test out a few helpful hints to heal the seemingly relentless pain.

 

Ditch the Water

Since alcohol acts as a diuretic, non-alcoholic liquids are essential in rehydrating the body the next morning. Water has developed a reputation as the go-to healing method in hangover instances, but pure forms contain no electrolytes. Instead, opt for a sports drink like Gatorade or PowerAde. Both contain sodium and potassium, which are essential electrolytes the body needs to regain after a period of dehydration. Don’t just take a few sips of the athletic favorite, either – chug at least one 12-ounce bottle.

 

Caffeinate

As if a hangover headache isn’t bad enough, a sneaky phenomenon called the caffeine withdrawal headache can dramatically worsen any current pain. Coffee has a bad reputation from the preconceived notion that caffeine worsens head pain, but skipping the drug is always a bad idea for regular drinkers. A study performed by researchers at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine proved that abruptly stopping daily caffeine consumption produces changes in cerebral blood flow velocity, according to ScienceDaily.com. This change in speed results in symptoms such as headache, lethargy and decreased alertness. To avoid a full-on migraine, drink a normal amount of caffeine the morning of a hangover.

Make a Smoothie

Both bananas and fruit juices are recommended to aid hangover ailments, so combine the duo in a blender (low power, less noise, less headache) for optimal recuperation. Bananas contain a good amount of potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6. Potassium is vital to recovery because mass amounts of it are lost during alcohol consumption. Magnesium acts as a blood vessel relaxant, which eases head pain and discomfort. Select a fruit juice high in vitamin C to mix with the banana, such as orange juice. According to BestCollegesOnline, several studies suggest that vitamin C can quicken the alcohol detoxification process. Alcohol is also known to lower the immune system response rate, so vitamin C will help strengthen it to prevent chances of catching a post-drinking cold or flu virus.

Take a Hike

Exercise rids the body of its toxin overload by sweating them out of the bloodstream. Physical activity also increases circulation, which more effectively gets oxygen to the brain in order to decrease that hangover brain fog. It may seem demanding at the time, but exercise releases endorphins that trigger a positive physical feeling. Endorphins often provoke a feeling of euphoria, and even diminish feelings of pain and discomfort. It may be tough to get out of bed and into workout gear, but getting moving will crunch that hangover in addition to those abs.

Stephen Jones/flickr

Feeling sexy in a state of complete physical and mental annihilation seems downright obscene, so this step is best saved for last. According to NursingSchools.net, sex releases a chemical called oxytocin, which is proven to decrease pain sensitivity and elevate mood. Oxytocin released during orgasm aids sleep, which is also beneficial to reducing hangover symptoms. Can’t find a partner on the spot? Solo sex should have the same relieving effect.

That annoying hangover should be vastly improved after a tumultuous day of recovery in the form of hydrating, eating, exercising, loving and sleeping. Before the next night of binge drinking, try to over-hydrate and nap before proceeding recklessly. The physical discomfort of a hangover can be treated or avoided, but the moral hangover is another story completely.

Kate Evans can be reached at [email protected].