Aug 12th 2008 By Tom Radler
It's the morning after. Maybe you made out with some random girl and maybe you puked in the taxi. It's unclear. One thing that is clear is that you are now a shell of a man. Sunlight is excruciating, every noise out your window is like a chainsaw ripping into your cerebellum, and you've noticed waves of existential depression drifting over you.
Since mankind first began imbibing intoxicants, there have certainly been theories about how to cure what ails you. Of course, how bad it will be depends largely on how much you drank and how genetically disposed you are to getting hungover. A recent article in the New Yorker
goes into depth about the myths and realities related to hangovers.
The first thing to remember, of course, is that drinking alcohol dehydrates you. So if you weren't pairing every drink through the evening with a glass of water (recommended), start by downing a few glasses when you get up. Your body has probably lost some electrolytes in the process, so Gatorade and Vitamin Water is good, and the baby beverage Pedialyte is even better. After that, there are a few things you can try to lessen the sting.
We've got a few common ones and notes on their efficacy after the jump.
Over-the-counter pain relievers:
Drugstore remedies like Advil can definitely offer a degree of comfort to your raging head. Keep in mind, though, that the combination of alcohol with some pain medications (those that contain acetaminophen, like Tylenol) can increase the damage to your liver. And you've already done enough of that. Hair of the dog:
There's a reason that so many brunch restaurants offer Bloody Marys and mimosas. A drink in the morning does indeed lessen the pain of those drinks the night before. It delays your body's painful process of breaking down the toxins by switching it back to absorbing the new ones. But (as you're actually adding to the problem) this will probably catch up with you later in the day. Food:
Pretty much all cultures have a food or substance that is reputed to help ease the morning after, from pickle juice to cumin seeds to herring. Coffee is a common suggestion, as are drinks that include milk. We prefer to go for a couple of hamburgers, or for a greasy plate of bacon and eggs. Some of these work on the same principal as the hair of the dog, causing your body to turn its attentions to the new stimulus and away from the original cause of your pain. Some, however, just satisfy the need for something tasty -- which perhaps gives your pleasure sensors the kick they need to counteract some of the pain. Exercise:
Probably the last thing that you want to do with your head pounding is get on a treadmill and run five miles. But by getting your blood pumping, you can help along the process of flushing toxins out. In any case, a little physical activity will help you burn off some of those 5,000-plus extra liquid calories you consumed the night before. RU-21:
While this drug was originally developed in Russia to keep KGB agents sober while drinking with their contacts, it's actually more effective as a hangover prophalactic
-- stopping them before they start. It's been legal in the U.S. since 1999, and if you take it before or during drinking, you'll be relatively clear the next day.