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Holiday Party Hangovers: Entirely Nonscientific Ways to Prevent and Cure Them

Nov 29, 2011 08:21PM ● By Anonymous


Most of us have been there, even though we often try to avoid it. According to the Mayo Clinic, there’s no telling how many drinks can lead to a hangover. It depends entirely on the person, as well as how much water they have consumed and what food they have eaten; however, apparently more than three to five drinks for a woman and five to six for a man will result in a hangover. The headache is due to expanded blood vessels, while nausea is caused by the alcohol irritating your stomach lining. You’re typically tired when you have a hangover because while alcohol makes you sleepy, it decreases the quality of your sleep.

Let’s get real for a minute – if you have a hangover every time you drink, then you might want to check into why that occurs. For some people, this is a serious topic.

However, if it’s a not-too-common occurrence and you find yourself in a quandary, I asked around to find out my friends’ and coworkers’ hangover cures and prevention. Generally, everyone agreed on a few things: Water, sleep, and plenty of greasy food. I promised not to name names so no one would know of their partying ways, but here are some responses I got when asked, “What’s your (or a friend’s) best hangover prevention or cure?”

  • "My prevention is always making myself drink several glasses of water before falling asleep. And, it works for the most part, even though it’s not exactly pleasant to tipsily make yourself chug a liter or so of water.  One of my friends in college swore by pickle juice. She always had a jar of pickles in the fridge, just in case she got a little out of hand on the weekends."

  • "Giant glass of water, headache medicine and a filling snack before you go to bed (like a slice of pizza)…nip it in the bud before it’s already had a chance to start!"

  • "I have a box of the Emergen-C powder packets that you dissolve in water. That stuff helps big time. Also, having breakfast at a greasy spoon diner a la Waffle House was the ole college go-to remedy."

  • "The only remedy that sorta’ works is burnt toast, and that is because the burning is a charcoal substance and that acts like a filter in the digestive system."

  • "When I know I'm going to have a rough morning, I try to drink at least one glass of water before hitting the sheets. I try to get enough sleep without overdoing it, and breakfast is an important part of my hangover cure. Eggs are it! When possible, I grab a bacon, egg, and cheese on a toasted and buttered everything bagel. I think most people would agree that you not only crave, but need the grease and salt. If it can't be the bagel, I simply enjoy eggs over easy with buttered toast. I also load up on water and try to stay away from coffee."

  • "I had a roommate in college who used to put a pillow, bottle of water, and Lifesaver mint by the toilet after a night of drinking in anticipation of her hangover."

  • "I eat all day long – but nothing I cook myself, unless it’s Ramen noodles."

  • "I always drink lots of water and eat greasy food. A breakfast sandwich, like eggs, sausage, cheese on a bagel."
I did have one smart-aleck friend who responded "Don't get drunk." (Well, he used a slightly-less-appropriate word in place of "drunk.") I would have taken him seriously, but I've been privy to his hangovers once or twice.

As for the Mayo Clinic, here’s what they recommend: Time is the only sure cure for a hangover. Here are a few things you can do to help yourself feel better in the meantime:

Fill your water bottle. Sip water or fruit juice to prevent dehydration. Resist any temptation to treat your hangover with more alcohol. It'll only make you feel worse.

Have a snack. Bland foods, such as toast and crackers, may boost your blood sugar and settle your stomach. Bouillon soup can help replace lost salt and potassium. Foods and drinks that contain fructose, such as honey or fruit juice, may help your body burn the alcohol faster.

Take a pain reliever. A small dose of an over-the-counter pain reliever may ease your headache. But there are a few caveats. Aspirin can irritate your stomach. And if you sometimes drink alcohol to excess, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) can cause severe liver damage even in doses previously thought to be safe.

Go back to bed. If you sleep long enough, your hangover may be gone when you awaken.


How do you prevent or cure a hangover after you've had one too many cocktails?