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Best Hangover Cures

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
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  • Man waking up looking tired and stressed with hand on face

    Pounding head, upset stomach, wishing for a few more hours of sleep: you know the hangover drill. You also know now’s not the time to rehash the night before. It’s time to think about what you can do to feel better fast. Hangover cures are things of legend and most people have a few tried and true tricks up their sleeve to wipe out the worst morning after.

    Vote up the ones that worked wonders for you and pay it forward for someone who’s feeling hungover right now.

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    Alcohol is a diuretic, which is why you have to urinate more frequently when you’re drinking. This can lead to dehydration, causing common hangover symptoms like headache and dry mouth. You’ll also get more dehydrated if your hangover symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and sweating. Drinking water is the simplest way to hydrate quickly. You might also try drinking liquids with electrolytes, such as sports drinks and Pedialyte. Some say a salty sip of pickle juice even does the trick!

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    unidentifiable man in comfortable clothes resting on couch

    One glass of wine or a beer might help you fall asleep, but larger quantities disrupt sleep patterns. Studies have shown that alcohol prevents REM sleep, so you may not be getting the rest you need. A night of alcohol-fueled sleeplessness won’t cause your hangover, but feeling fatigued might make it worse. If possible, sleep a few extra hours or plan to go to bed earlier that night to catch up on lost sleep.

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    Pain Relievers

    If you have a wicked hangover headache, an over-the-counter pain reliever like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen might provide some relief. You may even want to pop a couple of tablets before bed. Keep in mind that taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as Advil, may irritate your stomach if you’re already nauseated. Avoid taking Tylenol if you have alcohol in your system, because acetaminophen has a higher risk of damaging your liver, which is already being taxed with alcohol.

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    Whole wheat toast

    Bad news. Greasy food won’t cure your hangover. But complex carbohydrates might! Hangover symptoms, such as fatigue and nausea, may be caused by low blood sugar. Eating a carb-concentrated meal when you wake up can get your blood sugar levels back to normal. A simple breakfast like toast and juice is gentle on your stomach and will set your body straight. Eating a banana or other high-sugar fresh fruit is another smart choice. Need to hydrate too? Try watermelon.

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    Physical Activity

    The last thing you want to do when you’re hungover is move. But many people report that exercise does make you feel better. Not immediately, mind you. But once you get started, you’ll turn the proverbial corner and start to feel better after a few minutes. Sweating helps metabolize some of the alcohol. Endorphins will boost your mood and energy levels. Stick with light exercise and don’t push yourself too hard. Drink more water than usual, since your body is already dehydrated.

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    Black Coffee

    Black coffee won’t sober you up, but it can help banish hangover grogginess. Drinking alcohol dilates your blood vessels, which can cause a headache. The caffeine in coffee is a stimulant, so it raises your heart rate and constricts blood vessels, which eases aches and pains. Not a coffee drinker? Try a cup of tea or soda. Any drink with caffeine will work. Just be sure to also drink water, because caffeine is a diuretic and may make dehydration worse.

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    Chicken Soup Broth

    Sometimes the simplest cures are the best. Drinking bouillon soup, basically a watery broth made from vegetables, can relieve multiple hangover symptoms at once. It’s easy for your upset stomach to digest, provides extra sodium and potassium to replenish your body, and you don’t even have to chew. Just fill up a cup and sip until you feel better. If your stomach can handle a heartier remedy, try chicken noodle soup, pho, or ramen.

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    Ginger tea with lemon

    Alcohol irritates the stomach lining, causing the classic hangover symptom of an upset stomach. If you’re looking for a natural remedy to soothe your tummy, try ginger. It helps your digestion and can even boost your energy. A study of cancer patients receiving chemotherapy treatment reported that ginger reduced vomiting by 60% and fatigue by 80%. Drinking ginger tea is a simple way to soothe your system; or, look for ginger fruit chews at the grocery.

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    IV Drip
    Close up of man's hand with vitamin IV infusion drip in hospital or beauty salon

    When it comes to hangover cure legends, tales of morning-after IV drips have been around for decades. In the past, this remedy was only available to people in the medical profession. Now “drip bars” have opened up in many cities and you can pop in for an infusion of saline, vitamins, nausea medication, and other healthy boosters. The upside is that it works fast. The downside is that the hangover IV treatment can be expensive. And needles, there are needles.

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    Studies show taking vitamin B might make your hangover less severe. B vitamins help combat fatigue and low energy. Try eating eggs for breakfast or taking a B6 supplement. Some experts recommend popping 400 mg of B6 before you start drinking, then another dose in 3 hours, and one more dose at the end of the night. Zinc and vitamin C are also helpful immune system boosters that support your body after a night of overindulgence.

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    More Booze
    Close-up of man with whiskey glass on arm rest of a leather chair

    Hangovers. Woof. If the thought of drinking more alcohol sounds good to you, try the “hair of the dog that bit you” cure. The theory is hangovers occur when your body is experiencing alcohol withdrawal. Some believe a nip of booze will make you feel better. Even if it does, doctors don’t recommend this hangover cure. It could create a cycle of drinking, hangover, and drinking again to feel better. It’s smarter to let your body recover alcohol-free.

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    A 25ml bottle of medical cannabis oil

    When you have a horrible hangover, the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis could be the cure you’re looking for. The psychoactive THC component isn’t required for feeling better. A little CBD will help with nausea, headache, and other aches and pains caused by a long night of drinking. It may also increase your appetite. Though there’s currently no medical proof that cannabis works as a hangover cure, there are many anecdotal recommendations that claim it’s worth a try.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2021 Mar 18
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.