For many college students, college is a time to experiment, enjoy newfound freedom and party it up–when they’re not busy studying, of course. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of spending a night drinking alcohol is the head-pounding, stomach churning wrath of the hangover. Here are some tips to help you learn to conquer, or at least manage, the effects of a long night of partying so you can get back to your studies and feeling like a normal human being.
Use these tips to prepare yourself before you ever take your first drink.
- Eat something. Having a little something in your stomach can help you better pace your drinking and make you feel better the next day. Aim for something with a good amount of carbs and fat to start your night.
- Take some B6. Studies have shown that vitamin B6 may help you avoid a hangover if it’s taken before drinking, during drinking, and before bed. Even at worst, all you’ll have in your system is more vitamins, so give it a try.
- Have a good time. While it might be a given, research has shown that those who have a positive outlook on life generally have less intense hangovers than those who are angry or depressed.
- Eat olive oil. Coat your stomach with this age-old oil to help protect you from the worst of a hangover. The fat content of olive oil has traditionally been believed to reduce the impact of hangovers.
- Get hydrated. Many of the effects of a hangover are caused by the dehydration of the body from alcohol and caffeinated beverages. Make sure you drink enough water to start counteracting this early on in the evening.
- Try a glass of milk. Some believe that it coats the stomach and helps the alcohol you’ll soon be pouring down the hatch from absorbing as quickly.
- Know your limits. Before you ever head out, you should know how much you can safely drink. While everyone wants to have a good time, what might have been a simple hangover can quickly turn into alcohol poisoning if you get too carried away. Know what you can drink and stick to it.
These tips can help you mitigate the severity of your hangover while you’re enjoying a night on the town.
- Drink water between drinks. This will help you to pace your drinking and ensure that you are rehydrating your body as you go through the night.
- Avoid caffeinated mixers. Caffeine and alcohol are two substances that are great at dehydrating the body and combining them is just asking for a hangover the next day.
- Limit your drinking. It might sound pretty simple, but college students aren’t exactly known for their conservative sipping when it comes to drinking. Avoid binge drinking and you’ll do your body a great service and avoid a whole lot of hangovers in the process.
- Stick with beer. Mixed drinks might taste delicious but they can have varying amounts of alcohol in them based on how much the bartender chooses to put in. With beer, you always know what you’re getting so you can moderate your drinking.
- Have a snack. Enjoying a few peanuts or chips while you’re drinking can help slow down alcohol absorption and taste pretty good to boot.
- Choose hangover-friendly alcohols. You don’t have to be a connoisseur of booze to figure out that the cheaper the alcohol the worse hangover it will probably give you. If you’re planning for a long night of drinking, steer clear of red wines, and cheap, dark liquors if you want to wake up on the right side of the bed.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking and drinking seem like a match made in heaven, but smoking can rob your body of oxygen and leave you with a worse hangover than before.
- Don’t mix. The old saying goes, "Beer before liquor, never sicker. Liquor before beer, in the clear" and those can be words to drink by. Of course, you’re far better off not mixing your alcohols at al,l as studies have shown that mixing in general can worsen your hangover.
- Pace yourself. Use this chart to determine the rate you should be drinking at to avoid getting completely wasted and ending up with a wicked hangover.
Don’t just pass out when you get home. Instead, try a few of these pointers to help you avoid feeling like death warmed over the next day.
- Forget the pain killers. Mixing alcohol and medication can be deadly. Wait until morning (or if it’s already morning, whenever you get up) to take any ache relieving medication you might need.
- More water. Before you go to sleep is a good time to stock your body up on water. You will thank yourself for it in the morning.
- Have a vitamin. Drinking can be hard on your body, so give it the fuel it needs to repair itself while you’re sleeping by taking a multi-vitamin before bed. If you generally get queasy from vitamins, a chewable option might be best.
- Stop drinking. You shouldn’t be drinking as you are climbing into bed, as awesome as that might sound to your friends. Stop drinking at least an hour before you head to sleep to your body has a chance to get some of the alcohol out of your system.
- Have a little OJ. Some studies suggest that vitamin C can help speed up the process of getting that alcohol through your system. If you can’t stand orange juice, any other juice high in vitamin C will do.
- Eat a little something. If you’ve had a lot to drink, you can do yourself a favor by having a high-carb snack before bed. It might pack on some calories but it will also help relieve your hangover.
Even the best preparation can’t help you avoid a hangover if you’ve truly gone wild the night before. Try a few of these tips to ease your hangover pain the next day.
- Take ibuprofen. If your head is pounding take ibuprofen to help get relief. To avoid further stomach upset, you might want to have a piece of toast or some cereal first, as ibuprofen can irritate the stomach.
- Stay in bed. There is no hangover remedy as effective as sleep. Get as much of it as you can as it allows your body to get the alcohol out of your system while you’re safely tucked away into dreamland and out of hangoverville.
- Take a shower. It might not get rid of your hangover, but it sure will help you feel better and probably smell a whole lot better. If nothing else, it will help you feel gross in one less way while you’re hung over.
- Have something to eat. Holding down food isn’t always the easiest thing when you wake up with a hangover, but it’s important to try to eat something. Start with toast or crackers and work your way up.
- Avoid any dehydrating foods and drinks. You might be craving a cup of coffee, but beware as the caffeine it contains could make you feel just as bad as good. Try to stick to foods and drinks that will help your body, not hinder it.
- Get moving as soon as you can. You don’t have to be running around the block, but getting active can help you to feel better faster in some cases. If you want an easy avenue, try some yoga poses as they have been shown to help aid in detoxification.
- Water, water, water. The worst parts of your hangover are caused by simple dehydration. Get as much water in your system as you can handle.
- Hang in there. There is no surefire way to get rid of a hangover besides waiting it out, so stay in your jammies, chug water and lay around the house until you’re feeling like your old self again. It might take all day, but you’ll get there.
- Try a sauna. Many people in colder climes, like Russia, believe that a sauna can help alleviate the effects of a hangover by causing you to sweat the toxins out. If you decide to try this, make sure to drink lots of water to stay hydrated while you’re sweating out your boozing.
- Take a bath. Similarly, a warm bath can be a good remedy as well, helping you to relax and feel clean. Some say adding a little wasabi to the mix couldn’t hurt either.
- Give yourself a massage. If you don’t have anyone around, you can give yourself a massage and help motivate your body to get those toxins out of there.
Hangover Friendly Drinks
While some people claim that the hair of the dog that bit you (even more alcohol) is the best remedy, medical science has shown that that’s absolutely the worst thing you can do for yourself. Try one of these drinks instead.
- Emergen-C. This vitamin C-filled drink will help you battle off your hangover without the stomach-irritating acid of orange juice.
- Green tea. Green tea is just plain good for you and in many places in the world it’s a traditional hangover cure. Give it a try the next time you don’t feel so good the morning after.
- Salt solutions. Try adding a little salt to your water to make it easier for your body to handle while you’re hung over. Just don’t add too much as it can dehydrate you.
- Pedialyte. While this drink is formulated for kids, it has plenty of ingredients in it to help adults who don’t feel well.
- Fruit juice. Fruit juices have vitamin C and sugar, both of which can help you battle the effects of a hangover. Just beware of those that are especially acidic, as this can make your stomach feel even worse.
- Carbonated soda. While you may want to avoid the caffeinated kinds, the carbonation of soda can help relieve an upset stomach and the sugar can help return your blood sugar levels to normal.
- Ginger ale. Ginger is an age-old cure for stomach upsets. Make sure you’re getting a ginger ale with real ginger and you could get a little relief from nausea and the feeling like the room is spinning.
- Gatorade. While a night of drinking doesn’t really have the same benefits as running a marathon, it can take the same kind of toll on your body. Drinking sports drinks can help you replenish your sugars, hydrate you, and get you balanced and back to normal.
Hangover Friendly Foods
If your stomach wants to reject just about anything you put in there, try one of these foods first to help you re-balance your body and get on the path to feeling better.
- Crackers. If your stomach is particularly upset, crackers may be all you’re able to keep down. Keep nibbling away at those saltines as they will help your recovery greatly.
- Rice. Rice is a pretty inoffensive food and can help you get something in your stomach and your body on the path to feeling better.
- Pasta. The same goes for pasta. Avoid heavy, creamy sauces and you’ll be able to load up on hangover fighting carbs.
- Eggs. Eat a healthy breakfast of eggs to get a dose of cysteine, a substance that fights off the by-products of your body’s metabolization of alcohol.
- Asparagus. Some believe that eating asparagus before and after drinking can boost the enzymes responsible for breaking alcohol down in your system.
- Bananas. With loads of potassium, bananas are one of the classic hangover foods as they won’t hurt your stomach and contain substances that can help you recover.
- Chicken soup. Soup isn’t just good for when you have a cold, it can also help you battle through a hangover with helpful proteins and water.
- BLT. Team up proteins and carbs in a bacon sandwich to do a number on your hangover symptoms.
Something Completely Different
You likely won’t have many of these remedies lying around the house, but if you’ve already tried everything else, why not truck on down to the grocery store and give these a whirl?
- Prickly pear extract. One study has shown that taking this in pill form helped to stave off hangover symptoms like dry mouth and nausea.
- Bifidus powder. It might cost you a pretty penny, but this protein powder will help you feel better faster. Isn’t that priceless?
- Evening primrose oil. Find this age-old remedy at your local health food store. It will help your stomach feel better and ease the impact of your drinking on your liver.
- Milk thistle. This herb, when taken in a pill before bed, is sworn by in many areas of the world.
- Pickle juice. It might not be the most appetizing thing to drink, but some believe this interesting beverage could help your hangover by containing both salt and water.
- Cumin seeds. One of the properties of this herbal seed’s oil is said to be sobering you up quickly, and it is also used to restore energy, settle the stomach and more.
- Raw egg. If you can somehow choke it down, many claim it is a big help in getting rid of a hangover. You can aid in the process by mixing it with orange juice.
- Ginseng. Ginseng isn’t just for old people, it can also help give you a burst of energy and help your body process the alcohol in your system.