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You’re not alone if your idea of relaxation involves responsibly imbibing in craft cocktails, bubbly or hops. Maybe you’ve found yourself bored in a house with a stocked bar cart during the pandemic, or you’ve indulged in the convenience of on-demand alcohol delivery or your vino subscription. Whatever the case, chances are you might have gone overboard and had a drink or two or five too much last night — and you’ve paid the price in the form of a hangover.
Some people swear by anecdotal solutions such as chugging coffee as a morning-after hack, electrolyte-rich Pedialyte or even a little hair of the dog post-bender. Ultimately, there really isn’t a guaranteed way to “cure” a hangover besides avoiding that cocktail or swapping it with a non-alcoholic beverage, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
What Causes Hangovers?
If you haven’t figured it out by now, you can blame your excessive alcohol consumption for causing your hangover, which usually starts when your blood alcohol levels begin to decrease, says Harvard. As the NIAA notes, drinking alcohol can result in dehydration, poor sleep, irritation of the stomach lining and increased acid release, and inflammation, to name a few factors. Those are to blame for your morning-after symptoms such as headaches and muscle aches, vertigo, fatigue, nausea, and sensitivity to light and noise.
What Are the Best Ways to Treat a Hangover?
Though there’s no magic concoction that’ll make your hangover completely disappear, there are ways to alleviate some of the above-mentioned symptoms with some tried-and-true tips.
Eat a hearty meal: We know that drinking alcohol causes blood sugar levels to drop — and mix in our forgetfulness to take a bite or two with every sip, and that can lead to next-day headaches and fatigue. Foods rich in carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals can help bring those levels back up; think toast, pancakes, and fruit juices, to name a few.
Drink more water and electrolytes: Alcohol is known to be a diuretic, so balance your bottoms-ups with an equal amount of water. Gulping down drinks that are rich in electrolytes (minerals such as calcium, potassium and sodium) can also help, as those ingredients are key to boosting hydration, which is why they’re popular in sports drinks.
Get some sleep: When all else fails, try the old-fashioned “sleep it off” trick. If you’ve ever had a jet lag-like hangover, it’s because alcohol disrupts our brain activity during sleep, says Harvard. Getting more shut-eye can help your body recover.
Looking for other ways to treat that hangover? There are plenty of hangover recovery drinks and products to try, but it’s worth noting that these nutritional supplements haven’t been evaluated by the Federal Drug Administration.
Blowfish for Hangovers
Blowfish’s fizzy effervescent tablets contain pharmaceutical-grade caffeine (which is easier on stomachs) and maximum-strength aspirin to relieve hangover symptoms such as headaches and other pain.
Health-Ade Kombucha Hydrate
If you want the probiotic benefits of kombucha and the plus-side of potassium (which helps the body absorb more water), then down a bottle of booch brand Health-Ade’s Hydrate drink from its organic wellness-focused Plus line. It’s got cold-pressed cucumber and lemon juices, black and green teas and mint for a tasty boost of morning-after electrolytes.
Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier
For on-the-go hydration, stash a few of Liquid I.V.’s electrolyte powder mixes in your pocket. Hangover or not, the company’s Hydration Multiplier is great for anyone who’s dehydrated, as they’re the equivalent of drinking up to two bottles of water. The mix uses cellular transport technology (“a specific ratio of potassium, sodium, and glucose,” says the brand) to deliver nutrients and water to your bloodstream faster and more efficiently. The concoction also contains more than your daily value of vitamins B and C.
Made using a “high-tech distillation process” with the help of researchers in South Korea, The Plug’s plant-based drink contains ingredients that increase the production of the enzymes ADH and ALDH (which the brand notes helps to break down toxins quicker and relieve the liver from doing all of the work). According to the company, that process helps to alleviate nausea and headaches, and it recommends taking its caffeine-free, low-calorie shot before, during or within two hours of drinking alcohol.
This organic superfood-packed drink isn’t just designed for hangover recovery — it can be used as a delicious mixer, too. Magic Bullet’s blood orange-flavored beverage is free of stimulants and contains amino acids that can help support liver and kidney function. The ingredients include milk thistle extract, n-acetyl cysteine, lipoic acid, turmeric, schisandra berry, grape seed extract and yellow dock root, which have anti-inflammatory properties and “reinforce the body’s own production of antioxidants, which are quickly depleted when neutralizing alcohol,” says the brand.
Elements by Lokai Vitality
Wellness-minded drinkers swear by Elements’ adaptogens-powered Vitality drink, which is concocted with “clinically-effective levels” of ginseng and rhodiola for a mid-hangover boost of energy and stress relief. The non-carbonated beverage is also non-GMO, vegan, caffeine-free and keto-friendly with no added sugars.