It had all started out so well. But twelve hours later I woke up to a mouth as rough as the bottom of a rabbit’s cage, a head pounding harder than any beats from the night before and lips stained as red as the wine I’d been drinking. Any movement felt like it was a movement too far. The problem is, some of the best nights out result in the worst mornings. So what’s your go-to hangover cure? Hair of the dog? A greasy fry up? Duvet day? There’s always the wise advice of just not drinking, but given that you’ve arrived on this page, I’m guessing it’s too late for that. So, here are some tried and tested healthy ways to ensure that your big night out doesn’t ruin the next day too catastrophically.
Bending into shapes and turning upside down might not seem like the ideal way of curing your head, but there are some yoga poses that are incredible for easing a hangover. Corpse pose (savasana) – laying flat on your back – is not only a valid description of how you might feel, but a soothing and gentle way to reconnect with the body. Child’s pose (balasana) stimulates the endocrine system, which regulates your hormones and nervous system. And try the Supine Twist (or the more tricky to pronounce supta matsyendrasana) which works to rinse toxins from the body and aid the digestive process.
But not alcohol. You know you need to rehydrate, but sometimes water isn’t enough. Electrolyte-rich fluids such as coconut water can both quench your cell’s thirst as well as restoring the salt and potassium you’ve lost. For a less trendy but more budget friendly alternative, try sports drinks or rehydration drinks. A hangover is essentially an extreme state of dehydration, so you need to both quench your thirst and your body’s need for electrolytes and minerals.
Breakfast like a king
That egg sandwich you’re craving? Go right ahead. This perfect breakfast food contains B vitamins, for the nervous system and amino acids like cysteine and taurine, which can help calm the nervous system and detoxify the body and help the liver. But boil, poach or scramble your egg, rather than fry it. Fatty foods just give your liver even more to deal with. Pair it with wholegrain bread for fibre, and carbohydrates to bring your blood sugar levels back up. Need more food? Researchers in Korea found that asparagus contains enzymes that help break down alcohol and tomatoes are rich in the vitamins, minerals and enzymes that are depleted when drinking. If you can’t face a cooked breakfast, a banana is brilliant and contains sugar for energy.
Go for a walk
You might not feel like moving, but a gentle walk can, if not work miracles, perk you up a bit. Oxygen increases the rate that alcohol toxins are broken down, so you’ll recover quicker. Being outside has been proven to boost endorphins, so you might see your gloom shift a bit. Some people swear by ‘sweating it out’ but as your muscles are already fatigued and your body dehydrated, there’s no evidence that this actually helps.
Whilst getting out and about or being active might not cure a hangover, it could help you forget about it. Sometimes distraction is the best way. If you really can’t face leaving the house use the time to do something mindless and mundane, like sort out your pile of odd socks. You’re after something that takes your mind off the pain, but isn’t too demanding.
Ginger is fab for helping with nausea. It’s an all-rounder, helping to ease constipation, gas, bloating, indigestion and even vomiting, and it used to be used just like paracetamal to reduce pain and inflammation. Try grating some into a drink with plenty of honey for a fructose boost, or even some cheeky ginger biscuits with a nice cuppa tea.
If you need an excuse for a long, lingering bath, then this is it. As much as a third of the body's waste is removed through the skin and so a hot bath or shower is the perfect way to get some of the toxins out. But the trick is to speed up the process with Wasabi. Yes that’s right, the thing you’d usually put with sushi, you should be putting in your bath... The Japanese horseradish has been shown to help detoxification by stimulating blood circulation. It also promotes oxygenation of the cells, which helps remove waste. Infuse a few spoonfuls in a hot bath and watch the hangover fade.
Many people swear by milk thistle, which helps the liver eliminate alcohol faster from the body. As well as supporting liver health it has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which help to soothe the body. It’s recommended that you take it before you start drinking, so if your head is already pounding, it might be too late.
And there you have it. We wish you the best of luck in surviving your hangover!