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Apart from its numerous adverse effects on health, the hangover is another reason why you should not be drinking alcohol, especially above a certain limit. Overindulgence in alcohol often results in a hangover. It usually appears as a combination of unpleasant symptoms such as diarrhoea, dehydration, nausea and shaking and leaves you with a severe headache and discomfort.

Going through a hangover can be distressing and if you have ever had one you would know the urgent need to sober up. Well, when it comes to prevention, the best you can do is not to get emotional with the consumption of alcohol in order to minimize the aftereffects. However, if it has happened already, there are certain hacks and ways to sober up. This article is all about empowering you with these simple tricks. After going through this document of information, you will certainly get to know everything related to a hangover and best ways to get rid of it. But first, let us understand what exactly happens while you are hungover.

(Read more: Effects of alcohol on body)

  1. What is a hangover
  2. How to get rid of a hangover
  3. Tips to prevent hangover
  4. Hangover complications

Hangover is characterised by a group of physical and mental symptoms. However, it depends on various factors like, how your body processes alcohol, type of alcoholic drink and amount of consumption. Usually, hangover starts after a few hours, when you stop your alcohol intake and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) starts to fall. Symptoms aggravate after BAC hits zero and may continue up to 24 hours. Common symptoms associated with a hangover include:

**Hangover vs Withdrawal: You may experience overlap between hangover symptoms and withdrawal symptoms of alcohol leading to a false proclamation of a hangover as mild alcohol withdrawal. Although, the hangover may even occur after a single drink whereas withdrawal symptoms are a manifestation of heavy alcohol consumption. So they are quite different.

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Now that you have learned the basic signifiers of a hangover, let us learn how to cure it as best as possible.

A hangover is a reversible condition, it subsides on its own after a certain amount of time. However, to help you cope up with the distressing symptoms and speed up the process of recovery, some home remedies and tips come in handy. Here is the list of things you should do in order to help yourselves ease your hangover ordeal:

Drinks to relieve a hangover

Water: You may have experienced a frequent need to go to the loo after intake of a few alcoholic drinks. The reason behind these episodes is that alcohol inhibits the release of vasopressin (Antidiuretic Hormone or ADH), a hormone which is responsible for reducing the urine output from kidneys, thereby causing frequent urination. If you are feeling thirsty along with sweating, vomiting and diarrhoea, chances dehydration increase manifold. So in order to avoid all of this, drink plenty of water while going through a hangover.

However, suffering from accompanying nausea makes it extremely difficult to drink plain water. So, here is a list of other drinks loaded with goodness, that will help you to become sober as well as help deal with nausea and dehydration:

Coconut water: The first substitute that comes in the list is nutrient-rich coconut water. According to a study, coconut water proves itself to be a refreshing drink, which can combat dehydration even more efficiently than plain water and carbohydrate-electrolyte water. The study also claims that young coconut (coconut before the appearance of the outer husk) water causes less nausea, bloating and almost no stomach issues. Well, if you want to become sober without suffering from dehydration, grab a coconut and slurp the sweet nutritious coconut water.

Ginger tea: A warm cup of ginger tea is not just a drink for combating common cold, it holds the potential to get rid of the nauseating feeling associated with hangover along with active vomiting. So, if a hangover is dominating you and invoking an unpleasant urge to throw up, do a favour to your gut by providing it with a comforting cup of ginger tea. If you are not a tea person, chew a few pieces of diced ginger for the same effect or you could also drink ginger infused water.

Fruit juice: Another fun way to get rid of a hangover and infusing yourself with a bout of energy is to drink plentiful fruit juices and smoothies.  Apart from providing you with plenty of fluids it also nourishes your body and promotes detoxification. And the best thing is that you have almost endless choices of fruits to make a juice or smoothie. So take a pick as per your tastes.

Hangover remedies or foods to get rid of hangover

Binging on alcohol can leave you deficient in terms of overall nutrition and may lead to dangerous levels of starvation. Immoderate and indiscriminate consumption of alcohol may also result in low blood sugar levels. Furthermore, hangover symptoms like fatigue and headache are results of an inadequate supply of fuel to the brain. In addition to this, people usually don't eat wholesome food while drinking, making it harder for the body and the brain to recover from it's after effects.

In order to counter such deficiency, here are some of the best hangover foods to get an adequate amount of carbohydrates back into your body:

If your diet regime allows you to consume egg, it could be a great food to tackle hangover along with supplying adequate amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals to your body. Moreover, eggs are rich in cysteine, an amino acid, which plays a key role in endogenous detoxification mechanism in the body. You can boil an egg or also make an omelette to help raise your blood sugar levels and to get the rest of its ancillary benefits.

Toast and crackers 
If you don't feel like eating due to nausea or vomiting, toast and crackers come as a happy rescue food. These are bland foods, which are supposed to relieve nausea and vomiting on one hand while giving a surge to the blood sugar levels on the other. Thus, taking you out of the hypoglycemic condition (low blood sugar condition).

Cereal bowl
In an alternate condition, where you are not feeling an urge to vomit, having a satisfying breakfast in the form of complex carbohydrates will result in a speedy recovery from a hangover. It will provide glucose to the brain and fulfil the needs of the body simultaneously in order to cure fatigue, dizziness and headache. You can also add some fruits to your cereal to make this meal more wholesome. Fruits will have the additional benefit of increasing the hydration levels of your body.

Another food ingredient to rescue from a hangover belongs to sweeteners but loaded with unimaginable beneficial properties. Well, probably everyone knows that honey contains medicinal properties but did you know it helps in detoxification of alcohol and is significant for liver health? According to research, honey helps in dropping blood ethanol concentration. The study claims fructose content in the honey to be the attributing factor in the detoxification process. So, while combating a hangover, take 1 or 2 tablespoons of honey and see how it helps you in getting out of the hangover.

Vitamin B6
According to a study, if a person takes a total dose of 1200 milligrams of vitamin B6 before, during and after alcohol consumption, chances of hangover reduces to a certain extent. Another study includes vitamin B6 as an effective intervention to combat hangover along with promoting rehydration. Although, you can eat vitamin B6 rich foods like chicken, egg, fish, soybeans, taking vitamin supplements should never be entertained without doctor's consultation.

Vitamin B1
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) rich foods can also help in alleviating hangover by reducing the mental and psychological symptoms related to it like restlessness, impatience or anxiety. Some of the vitamin B1 rich foods you can choose to eat are egg, meat, pork, beef, liver, milk, nuts, orange, oats, seeds and legumes.

An essential micronutrient, which might help in getting rid of a hangover is magnesium. Magnesium not only aids in reducing hangover induced headaches, but it also plays a vital role in compensating alcohol withdrawal symptoms. To get the much-needed amount of magnesium you can choose a source of carbohydrate which is also fortified with magnesium like salmon, tuna, nuts, seeds, peas, broccoli, cabbage, legumes, figs, avocado and banana.

Taking adequate sleep helps reduce hangover

Consumption of alcohol prevents you from getting deep sleep as it interferes with deeper stages of sleep. Even though a hungover person tends to fall asleep quickly due to depression of the central nervous system, there is a chance they would wake up abruptly in the middle of the night after heavy drinking. Lack of adequate sleep manifests in the form of tiredness, fatigue and headache. While suffering from a hangover, try to sleep for a while to banish all these symptoms.

(Read more: How to fall asleep quickly)

Pain killers for hangover

If tolerating headache or muscle pain is not in your capacity, you can take help of over the counter painkillers like aspirin, ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).

NSAIDs may provide you with the much-needed relief from headache but most commonly they are associated with side effects such as the upset stomach. They may also aggravate the irritation to the stomach caused by the alcohol itself.

One important caution to keep in mind while looking for painkiller is that acetaminophen also known as paracetamol or Tylenol is contraindicated in these cases. If alcohol is residing in your system, it may increase acetaminophen toxic effects on the liver.

'Hair of the dog' for hangover

“Hair of the dog” is a phrase, which basically means the hair of the dog that bit you, will help you in healing as well. Similarly, if overconsumption of alcohol is causing you to be hungover a drink will ease your symptoms.

However, it is important to point out that contrary to this belief, some researchers say that drinking again while going through hangover sustains the cycle and helps you temporarily instead of acting as a remedy for hangovers.

So, if you want a temporary fix, you can surely consider this option for a hangover. While opting this as a remedy, don't go beyond 1 or 2 drinks as you can get drunk all over again rather than getting rid of a hangover.

Along with all the above remedies there are certain tricks and precautions you might find handy while dealing with your hangover. Let us begin with things that you should actively practice:


  • Drink slowly: Don’t flood your gut with an excessive amount of alcohol at once. Your body needs time to assimilate the alcohol so be patient with your system.
  • Drink sensibly: Don't indulge in excessive drinking and consume only as much amount of alcohol as your body can cope with.
  • Drink alcohol with a full stomach: Having food in the stomach while drinking helps in slow absorption of alcohol thereby reducing the chances of hangover.
  • Drink in moderation: Women should have only up to 1 drink per day and maximum limit for men is 2 drinks per day. 1 drink is equivalent to 360 millilitres of beer, 150 millilitres of wine and 45 millilitres of liquors with 80% alcohol.
  • Drink water in between: Try to drink plain water in between drinks. This way you will drink less amount of alcohol and also the chances of dehydration will reduce.
  • Drink coffee or tea: You can binge on coffee or tea while you are taking alcohol. Both tea and coffee are diuretic substances, they will increase the frequency of urination, thereby promoting the elimination of alcohol from your system. It will also help you in waking up the next morning and will ease your distress.


  • Avoid congeners: Ethanol makes a major part of alcoholic content in any drink. However, few drinks contain some additional compounds like methanol, which aid in an increased probability of hangovers. In order to prevent hangovers, avoid drinks containing congeners like whiskey, brandy or red wine. As a general rule, drinks which are dark in colour tend to contain more congeners as compared to clear alcoholic drinks. Congeners have the ability to irritate blood vessels and brain tissue making hangover symptoms worse.
  • Avoid the use of other drugs: Some people prefer smoking, be it cigarettes or marijuana, while drinking. However, counterproductively this increases the hangover risk multifold as tobacco (nicotine) and cannabis (marijuana) carry some risk of hangover themselves.
  • Avoid alcohol completely: The best way to never encounter a hangover is not to have alcohol at all. It is the easiest solution to hangovers.
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Hangover is a typical response of your body to tell you that it is being harmed. Chronic consumption of alcohol may do major destruction inside your body, which may even become fatal sometimes.

(Read more: Alcoholism symptoms, causes, treatment)

If you are getting a hangover very often, then it means your body is exposed to alcohol frequently and abundantly. Consequently, this might lead to following adverse effects.


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  5. Marx W,Kiss N,Isenring L. Is ginger beneficial for nausea and vomiting? An update of the literature. Curr Opin Support Palliat Care. 2015 Jun;9(2):189-95. PMID: 25872115
  6. Health Harvard Publishing. Harvard Medical School [Internet]. 7 steps to cure your hangover. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  7. Quig D. Cysteine metabolism and metal toxicity. Altern Med Rev. 1998 Aug;3(4):262-70. PMID: 9727078
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  10. Healthdirect Australia. Hangover cures. Australian government: Department of Health

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