The Dos and Don'ts for Curing a Hangover

Updated on April 27, 2016
Hungover? Your head may feel like this.
Hungover? Your head may feel like this.

Are You Hungover? Here's What You Need to Know

There's nothing more uncomfortable than that painful morning after of having maybe one (or five) too many drinks the night before. In this article, learn:

  • Why we have hangovers.
  • Symptoms associated with hangovers.
  • Are certain alcoholic drinks worse than others?
  • Do's and don'ts when it comes to hangovers.

Why We Have Hangovers

Why do we get those awful hangovers? There are a few explanations:

  • Dehydration. Alcohol acts on the brain's pituitary gland and blocks production of vasopressin (which are responsible for directing the kidneys to reabsorb water that would otherwise end up in the bladder). So, if you drink at least as much water as alcohol, you stand a much better chance of avoiding a hangover.
  • Drinking too much and too fast.
  • Drinking on an empty stomach.
  • Vitamin B-deficiency.
  • Drinking highly carbonated drinks.

Hangover Symptoms

poor sleep
loss of appetite
muscle aches
difficulties concentrating
rapid heartbeat
bloodshot eyes
nausea and stomach irritation
higher body temperature
hypersensitivity to light and noise

Are Certain Alcoholic Drinks Worse Than Others When It Comes to Hangovers?

Are certain alcoholic drinks worse than others? The simple answer is yes, but it varies from person to person.

For example, if you are prone to headaches, you may suffer far worse headaches from red wine than white. It is believed that red wine has more congeners than the average drink. But, many people also know that mixing drinks can lead to worsened hangovers—mixing carbonated drinks with non-carbonated hard liquor drinks. Also, mixing lighter and darker colored drinks. Also, of course, when you are drinking beers all evening and someone offers you a margarita, you will drink it in a similar fashion as to that of your last beer. Also, carbonated drinks such as champagne can speed up your hangover as carbonated beverages speed up your body’s metabolism.

Some ingredients in alcohol might be the reason for a hangover are:

  • Congeners. Congeners is a certain chemical impurity which gives each drink its individual taste, aroma, and colour. Some alcoholic drinks manufacturers may add artificial colourings and flavourings to enhance their brands. For most alcohol drinkers, it is the cogeners which cause the morning-after problems. There is some speculative evidence to suggest that these may increase the drink's toxicity and therefore lead to the hangover.
  • Sulfites. Congeners don't affect everyone. Some people are also sensitive to sulfites, an anti-oxidising agent added to just about all wines to keep it fresh. Organic wine producers tend to use reduced levels of sulphites. So, the likelihood of getting a hangover from drinking organic wine is lower than it is other substances.
  • Tannins. Tannins are phenolic compounds extracted from the skins, stems, and seeds of grapes and play an important part in wine production. It also contributes to the taste of wine. Some people are sensitive to tannins and can get a headache from drinking just a little red wine. A universal hint to remember is the more pleasant the drink, the less likely the hangover. More expensive drinks tend to be less hangover-inducing. So if you have a choice, drink less of a better quality alcohol.

How to Avoid a Hangover

Here are a few tips for avoiding the dreaded hangover

  • Alternate a glass of water with each drink. That way you reduce alcohol consumption and increase hydration.
  • Drink each glass of alcohol slowly. Drinking too much too fast or binge drinking obviously will cause a hangover due to the fact that your body can only process about a beer an hour (three quarters of an ounce of alcohol an hour.) When you pile on three, four, or more beers in an hour, the toxins that your body turns the alcohol into run rampant until your body can properly metabolize it into non-toxic substances.
  • Drink a couple of glasses of water just before going to bed.
  • Eating while drinking slows the absorption of alcohol but does not prevent it, and surprisingly, milk really does line the stomach to some degree.
  • Some take aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen before going to bed or upon waking. This may help to relieve a headache and other aches and pains, but they do not decrease the amount of alcohol in your body, so you will still have some hangover symptoms.

Hangover Do's and Don'ts

Ok, so you didn’t succeed or think about prevention now you have the dreaded hangover. If you have a hangover now, you could probably care less about the cause or reason. So, for starters:


  • Take a cold shower. It will promote in reducing your body temperature caused by the drinking.
  • Exercise. Sweating it out may make you feel better while you are working out, but it doesn't speed up the metabolism of the alcohol in your body, and in addition to your drunken state, you will just be tired!
  • Take aspirin or ibuprofen. Everyone knows that is is used to reduce fever, inflammation, and of course headaches, aches and pains. However, aspirin can be a stomach irritant, as can Ibuprofen. If you have a sensitive stomach, it is ill-advised to mix the alcohol already in your body with these. It may cause ulcers, bleeding, or other stomach symptoms.


  • Vitamin B-1. These help maintain normal functioning of the nervous system, muscles, and heart. Vitamin B-1's helps to reduce feelings of tiredness and depression, while increasing appetite and alertness. This may help you to return to normal, but it is not and is not likely to be immediate.
  • Calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is an antacid which helps to treat symptoms of heartburn and acid indigestion caused by the presence of too much acid in the stomach. They do not necessarily help with nausea. If you take certain prescription medications, talk with a doctor first as they may interact with antacids. Alcohol inhibits the antacid from doing its job as well as it normally would.
  • Caffeine. Taking a pill or drinking plain old coffee might help relieve headaches by reducing blood flow through your veins. Also, it makes you feel more energized. It diminishs or prevents Caffeine may irritate your stomach, worsening any existing queasiness. Just make sure to drink plenty of water with the caffeine as it is a diuretic and hangover symptoms are caused in part by dehydration.
  • Cabbage. Believe it or not, the ancient Greeks thought cabbage was an effective remedy. TIt is thought to help the body clear out congeners.

There are a number of excellent hangover products on the market now, most of which contain a combination of the above ingredients and more to give you hangover relief.

Of course, avoidance is the 100% foolproof way to prevent, never mind cure, a hangover!


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      Teece 2 years ago

      Hungover at work.... not cool

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      Jared 3 years ago

      I got an evil hangover after a long g night of drinking. What's worse than the hangover is feeling like it's never gonna end. The writer doesn't state how long it takes the alcohol to cycle through your body, and this matters when taking any OTC pain meds. I mean is it okay to take two Tylenol the next morning??

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      Manoj 3 years ago

      MLM works and is the vehicle rsplonsibee for helping many people on the road to find financial independence, typically within 2-5 years.There is, however, much confusion and misunderstanding concerning this business model. A pyramid scheme has no real product so commissions are based on bringing new people into the scheme who in turn also bring new people into the scheme. It's usually the people at the top that get the most while those at the bottom get very little. Eventually all pyramid schemes collapse because there is no real product being sold.MLM, on the other hand, usually has a very real product that is sold either by retail or through members personal purchases (usually both). Members are encouraged to build a network of distributors to market the product.In MLM you can earn more than those at the top if you apply some effort.In a pyramid scheme you can never earn more than those above you, so when investigating an MLM company see if you can find out if there are people earning more than their sponsors, (this is the crucial test to weed out pyramid schemes)

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      Bianca 3 years ago

      Agree with the poster who said that it is terrible for your liver/kidney's to take any ibuprofen or tylenol with alcohol.

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      amin hasan 4 years ago

      Id like to adress the part of taking medications prior to going to bed aspirin and/or acetaminophen are OK but Ibuprofen alongside alcohol is like playing russian roulett as it can cause severe kidney damage.

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      Jen 5 years ago

      Oh my god, this is the worst thing ever. I want to say I'm never drinking again - but I know I will. Ugh. I feel like total crap. Anyway, Happy New Year.

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      LViddamoy 8 years ago

      Evil Hangovers, i in the grasp of one right now. Think i have also picked up a broken hand along the way too, happy days :(