New Years Eve 2012: 5 Hangover Cures To Make It A Happy New Year
New Year's Eve is a night of wild celebration and irresponsible drinking. But there's a reason it's not a national holiday. That's because New Year's Day is the unofficial 'Hangover Day' and, to be honest, if you had to pick which day you wanted off from work it would be the latter. Hugging the toilet, drooling, trying to remember the fun you had on New Year's Eve is what New Year's Day is all about for millions of people worldwide. But how do you ease your suffering?
People have been searching for hangover cures for as long as they've been drinking. The obvious answer is, simply, 'don't drink.' But that's very anti-New Year's Eve and no one wants a party pooper (unless you're the DD, then you rock!). So, to find the right hangover cure first let's examine what, exactly, are the scientific factors that cause a wicked a hangover.
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Essentially, a hangover is caused by the dehydration associated with alcohol consumption. It all starts with the urine. Specifically, with a little chemical compound known as vasopressin. Vasopressin is secreted by your body and is what allows your kidneys to absorb water. Alcohol blocks this secretion from happening, meaning that all your fluids go straight through your body and out your pee hole. Not only does alcohol basically stop your body from absorbing water, it also makes you urinate more frequently. This makes your body shed sodium and potassium, and your body has a fun way of letting you know these nutrients are depleted.
It's called a headache.
Coupled with the dehydration, hangovers are exacerbated by a few other factors. Chemicals called congeners are found in high quantities in darker alcohols (whisky, red wine) and it's no coincidence these spirits are associated with stronger hangovers. According to the Mayo Clinic, they increase the chances your body will require a hangover cure after a night of heavy drinking.
So what hangover cures actually work?
This hangover cure is kind of a no-brainer. You're dehydrated, and your body wants water. So give it water. Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D., a consultant in addiction psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic, told Men's Health that drinking water before calling it a night is a vital first step. Chug 16 to 20 ounces of water before hitting the sack. The next day, implement the Water Hangover Cure. Don't chug a bunch of water all at once, instead drink water gradually over a few hours. Drink half a glass, wait five minutes, then finish the glass. Repeat every half hour and soon the worst of your hangover should be over.
There are a lot of folklore breakfasts out there, most involving greasy foods. Health.com reports that there is no scientific evidence greasy foods help with a hangover; in fact, basic foods are a better idea because they're easier for the body to break down. Putting easy-to-manage calories into your system speeds metabolism, which, in turn, speeds the rate of recovery for your body. Toxins get processed more quickly and some are absorbed by the foods you're eating. Dr. John Brick told Health.com that "no specific foods are recommended, although honey sandwiches are helpful to some people." R U Pissed?, a drinking-friendly site that includes a BAC calculator, recommends peanut butter, honey and banana sandwiches. The peanut butter replaces B vitamin loss, the honey contains fructose, a simple sugar that's easy for your body to break down, and the banana replaces the potassium you (literally) pissed away all night. Bananas also contain magnesium, which can help shrink the swollen blood vessels causing aches and pains. Recent research has shown that asparagus can be a potential hangover cure, but if you're already feeling queasy a heaping pile of asparagus might now sit so well.
The Alka-Seltzer hangover cure is more effective than just straight-up pain relievers because it combines all the elements that contribute to hangover relief. First, you need to drink a big glass of water to take it, so check dehydration off the list. Second, the carbonation will help soother a sour stomach, so the nausea and cramping from too many libations get relieved. Third, it combines a double-dose of headache crushing medicine in the form of 1000mg of aspirin (2-3 tablets depending on brand). Fourth, it contains helpful chemicals your body needs, like Vitamin C. And the sodium bicarbonate acts as a base, lowering your pH level after all the acidy booze you drank and stabilizing your stomach.
This hangover cure is a bit of a cop out, but it's really the only one that scientific experts agree on. A study in the British Medical Journal tested the most popular remedies and found no evidence that they definitely treat hangovers. Hangovers go away in about 24 hours, so a definite hangover cure is to give yourself a day of doing nothing while you wait for the symptoms to go away. Sleep in, take naps, and just spend the day at rest.
This is my own personal, unscientific recommendation for a hangover cure. Who knows your body better than you? For example, there is absolutely no scientific evidence to back it up, but when I'm hungover as balls there's nothing like a coke from McDonald's to make me feel better. And it HAS to be McDonald's. I've tried Burger King. I've tried Wendy's. Their Cokes just don't work as well as a hangover cure. Why? I don't know. Does it really work or is it just a placebo effect? Who gives a s-t? It makes me feel better. And not JUST me, either. Odds are, this New Year's Eve isn't your first trip to Alcoholand. If you have some crazy, unscientific cure that works for you, then go for it. Maybe work it into the water, food, Alka-Seltzer and sleep regiment above. A hangover is an uncomfortable experience, so the obvious solution is to up your comfort level.
Do these tips work for you? Have your own magical cure you swear by? Let us know in the comments section!
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