Your body’s unpleasant reaction to the excessive amount of alcohol you downed means you’re experiencing the dreaded effects of a hangover. Some of the most common symptoms of a hangover include fatigue, weakness, excessive thirst, headaches, muscle aches, nausea, light sensitivity, vertigo, anxiety and irritability. The severity and duration of these symptoms depend on individual factors, such as genetics, sex, age, body weight, your drinking patterns, how much you ate that day, how much you drank that night and the type of alcohol you drank (think: whiskey, cognac and tequila with high congeners, which exacerbate hangover symptoms). Although hangovers vary depending on the person, if you drink to the point of intoxication, you’re probably going to feel it the next day.
Your body doesn’t react well to an excessive amount of booze because alcohol contributes to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, low blood sugar, inflammation, gastrointestinal irritation and sleep disturbances, which all cause nagging hangover symptoms.
Instead of resorting to hair of the dog after a night of indulging, opt for natural remedies that will help relieve the unwanted effects of drinking. Although there isn’t a magic pill that will make your hangover disappear, there are healthy practices you can follow to alleviate your symptoms. The best way to prevent a hangover is drinking moderately, but when the night gets the best of you, these tips and tricks will bring your body back to life.
Drink more fluids
You know how drinking makes your mouth feel as dry as the Sahara Desert the next morning? Alcohol is a diuretic, so it increases how much urine your body produces, meaning you lose more fluids and become dehydrated. Dehydration amplifies symptoms of dizziness, thirst, headaches and fatigue that are associated with hangovers. If you want to prevent a hangover or quickly bounce back to a healthier physical and mental state after drinking, the best thing you can do is increase your fluid intake. Before your big night out, drink a lot of water. When you start drinking, guzzle down a glass of water after every alcoholic beverage you consume. Then, drink a large glass of water before bed, and continue to rehydrate the day after.
In addition to a loss of fluids, alcohol also causes electrolyte imbalances, which can make you feel dizzy, nauseous, achy and lethargic. Drinking electrolyte-rich liquids, such as sports drinks, broth and kombucha, will restore your body’s minerals that were depleted.
Prepare a healthy meal
Drinking alcohol and the process of breaking down alcohol lower your blood sugar, which contributes to hangover symptoms, such as nausea, fatigue and weakness. To help your body metabolize booze more quickly and prevent a nasty hangover, make sure to eat a nutritious meal with your drink. The next morning, prepare a hearty breakfast rich in lean proteins, healthy fats and complex carbs to restore your blood sugar levels. Grab a potassium-rich banana and pair it with a bowl of oatmeal to fight fatigue and improve your mood rather than a greasy and fried breakfast.
Boost your antioxidants
Alcohol might feel good going down, but it causes your body to produce free radicals, which damage and age your cells. Eating antioxidant-rich foods the day after a heavy booze session can zap your body of those toxins. Incorporate berries, cherries, grapes, pomegranates, carrots, spinach, ginger, dark chocolate, nuts, seeds and green tea in your post-drinking diet to give your body plenty of antioxidants. Eating ginger is especially beneficial if you feel nauseous after drinking because it soothes an upset stomach and promotes digestion. Brew some ginger tea or add ginger to your morning smoothie for a healthy kick.
Give your body rest
Although there’s a common misconception that liquor helps you sleep, it actually causes sleep disturbances that can leave you feeling exhausted the next morning. Heavy drinking disrupts your circadian rhythm and prevents REM sleep, so you’re unable to get that deep, restful and long sleep your body craves. Sleep deprivation is usually why you feel so lethargic and irritable the next day. If you have the opportunity to rest, don’t pass it up. Not everyone has the ability to sleep until noon, but you can squeeze in a nap and take it easy the rest of the day to restore your energy levels.
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