23 of the best hangover cures that actually work

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By in Health & Relationships, Lifestyle. Updated .

A wise man once said drinking alcohol is like borrowing fun from tomorrow. He might've been right, but here are a few ways to help you through the hangover!
Hangover CuresSo you got utterly debauched last night didn't you? Now it's time to wade through the motions of regret, self-pity and a heavy head (perhaps due to our cheap cocktail recipes, sorry).

You have foggy memories of how life used to be, and will do ANYTHING to undo this pain.

We can't promise an instant miracle cure for hangovers, but almost. It depends on what poison you chose and how well your body can cope with seeing it off. We can however offer some very effective tips on becoming human once again.

It's far easier to prevent a hangover so we're starting this guide there, but you can skip to aftermath cures if you're already on the edge.

Before you go out

  1. Line your stomach

    greasy foodYou've probably heard people waffling on about how dangerous it is to go out on an empty stomach, well turns out there's truth to that.

    Devour a nice greasy meal before drinking, the fat will help to line the walls of your stomach. This slows down the rate of alcohol absorption which means you'll be less likely to wake up with a splitting headache.

    Drinking a pint of milk will also have the same effect, and a shot of olive oil helps too. Yum.

  2. Drink LOADS of water

    Rising water billsDrinking alcohol blocks the creation of a chemical called vasopressin. This means that your kidneys will send water straight to the bladder instead of retaining it in the body – and is the reason you need so many toilet trips once you ‘break the seal'.

    Drinking booze can expel up to four times as much water, quickly leading to dehydration, the main cause of those dreaded hangover headaches and dry mouths.

    Want to wake up feeling fresh (and amazed)? Simply have a glass of water between each bev.

  3. Stock up on the necessary supplies

    shopping in pjsPrepare for the worst. You really don't want to end up in the blackhole of craving a cure but unable to even crawl out the front door to the nearest shop.

    So take a note of anything that sounds like it will save you from yourself in tips 11-14 below, and get stocked up in advance! You'll thank us tomorrow.

    Check our latest deals and freebies pages to save your pennies when stocking up.
  4. Keep healthy

    ExerciseOkay, we get that this one's kind of a long term goal rather than a quick fix, but you're much more likely to be affected by hangovers if you're not fit, active and healthy.

    We've written a whole list of ways to get fit without spending loads of money or bag cheaper gym membership if you just can't face the great outdoors.

During the night

  1. Keep it light

    wineywineAs you've probably already figured from trial and error, different types of alcohol produce different types of hangover.

    This is down to the congeners in the drink – something which is produced when the alcohol is fermented. Basically, the more congeners there are the more rotten your hangover is likely to be.

    As a rule, there are more congeners in darker drinks such as red wine, whiskey or dark rum. White wine, vodka and gin on the other hand contain much less, so are a better choice (but may still leave you feeling rough!).

  2. Don't overdo it on the dance moves

    nighfeverdanceNow we love a good dance but don't overdo it or you'll feel like one of Michael Jackson's zombies in the morning.

    Science tells us that if you totally exhaust yourself, you'll end up getting even more dehydrated and depleting your energy levels much faster.

    No need a to be a party pooper though, just don't twerk too hard.

  3. Walk home

    dogwalkbootsFirst off, it's best not to walk home alone drunk, so find your buddy first. And don't attempt to walk in heels.

    This aside, walking home can help you to sober up and clear your head, making for a much less painful morning time.

  4. Pace yourself

    pacingIt's our duty here to remind you that the NHS recommends that guys should not drink more than 3-4 units of booze a day, or 2-3 if you're a girl. To put this in perspective, a small glass of  wine is about 1.5 units and a pint of beer somewhere between 2 and 3.

    It takes your body around 1 hour to break down 1 unit of alcohol (basically a shot). Cross this line and your hangover is cooking.

    We know that students will probably go over these limits, but it is worth thinking about how much you're drinking and how to pace yourself.

    If you leave a gap between your next drink you'll give your body a chance to process the alcohol you're drinking and lessen the hangover effect.

  5. Keep off the grass fizz

    fizzclubWe all know that pacing yourself and drinking some soft drinks is a smart idea, but be careful what you choose kids. Drinking fizzy drinks will actually speed up the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into your system and so rather defeat the point.

    And, before you ask, this also applies if the alcoholic drink your gluging is fizzy too. So a vodka orange or apple juice would be a better choice than a vodka coke mixer, for example.

  6. Avoid mixing

    djmixingYou probably knew this anyway, but mixing different types of alcohol never really ends well in the hangover stakes.

    Because different types of alcohol have different level of congeners as well as other chemicals, they'll all have a slightly different effect on you.

    Add it all together and the result is a mixed up mess and a banging headache. Pick your poison of choice and stick to it!

  7. Keep drinking that water

    singingintherainYea, we know, we mentioned this one already but drinking water while you're out boogying and a bit when you get back will help to make sure you stay hydrated.

    The main reason you get headaches is because you don't have enough water in your system; the other organs in your body will steal supply from your brain causing it to shrink and cause owwies and upsets in your head.

    Anyway, what's the point of making sure you're hydrated beforehand if you're only going to throw it all away later?

The morning after

AKA Doomsday. Waking up from the night before is something no one looks forward to.

Alcohol can take up to 11 hours to leave your system, but these tried and tested tips will help you to recover faster.

  1. Painkillers

    poppingpillsYour first thought will probably be to reach for some painkillers, and it's not a bad shout as they will help with your headache – just make sure to pick the right ones.

    The most effective is ibuprofen, but only the recommended dose.

    Aspirin will do the trick in relieving a headache, but it can soon wreak havoc if you've got a sensitive stomach and potentially make you feel more sick.

    Ideally, if you're still functioning before you slump into bed after a big night, knock back an ibuprofen with a cup of water to help you along.

  2. Replace lost salts

    drinky

    Dehydration is the biggest reason you feel so crap. Water will help, but isotonic drinks like Lucozade Sport and Powerade go another step. These can work wonders on hangovers, as they're designed to replace sugars and salts quickly. They'll give you energy and rehydrate you.

    If you're really in a bad way, take a Dioralyte sachet. Yes, we know them for treating diarrhoea (which you may well have) but being hungover puts your body in a similar position with depleted salts and minerals.

  3. Borage capsules

    overthecounterpharmacydrugs
    Borage capsules have been proven to be the best hangover cure, and we can vouch for this offering from Nature's Way.

    There are all sorts of products like these claiming to be ‘hangover cures'. Things like Berocca, Chaser and Rebound can help, but are pricey and scientists aren't all that convinced. Some suggest you benefit more from the water you drink with them than the tablets themselves.

    That said, some of you swear by them, so don't write anything off if it works for you!

  4. Eat

    cateatingoutEating, even if it seems like the worst idea in the world, is really important for getting you on the road to recovery. You can't eat just anything, but there are a few options.

    Depending on how bad you feel, a trusty fry-up is always a great option as they help replace fatty acids and break down the alcohol in your liver. Eggs are particular savours here as they contain something called taurine, which has been shown to even reverse liver damage caused by alcohol!

    If you're feeling a bit too delicate to face a fry-up, a safer option to get you going would be some mild flavoured carbohydrates such as wholemeal toast or crackers, which should give you a boost without upsetting your fragile stomach too much.

    Drinking too much can also deplete your potassium levels so eating some bananas in the morning will also help (a swift banana before bed is also a great shout if you can remember!).

  5. Drink to restore the balance

    teatimeNo, not more booze.

    A glass of fruit juice helps by giving you a sugary kick and energy, as well as getting rid of the toxins in your body whilst replacing some of the essential minerals you've lost.

    Milk will work well to replace the calcium you've lost, while ginger tea (or even just ginger on its own) can help with nausea.

    Another option is drinking milk thistle tea, which is said to be a hangover godsend. Boiled water with honey and lemon will also help boost your blood sugar and vitamins.

  6. Distract yourself

    wireless internetWhen you're in the throws of a hangover it's easy to let the ground swallow you up in a pit of self loathing and despair. Unsurprisingly – that doesn't help.

    Distract yourself with something enjoyable but not too taxing, like these lazy students or just looking at pictures of cats.

  7. Don't drink coffee

    coffeeaddictCoffee may be the obvious port-of-call for most sufferers, but it's actually a diuretic and causes your body to lose water quickly. Coffee is also the number one cause of those horrible sweats and heart palpitations we're all prone to when we've had a night on the sauce – our advice is avoid coffee like the plague!

    Opt instead for some water (we know, you're sick of hearing that one), fruit juice, or anything we mentioned before instead and you'll feel better in the long run, we promise.

  8. Don't start drinking again

    drinkingstuffHair of the dog? Forget it! Drinking more might ease your pain for a few hours but it will only make the crash even worse when you get to that point.

    It's also a slippery slope to constant drinking, which is by no means healthy or desirable.

  9. Have a long shower

    showerFreshening up can do wonders for your mind. If you're not already late for lectures then jump right on in there with your rubber duck.

    Be careful not to make it too hot, otherwise the heat can go to your head and make you nauseous. A great option is to shower with the window open for a bit of fresh air too – bliss!

  10. Sleep it off

    sleeping-in-libraryOne of the other side effects of drinking is the disruption of your sleep cycle, which is one of the reasons you still feel a bit pants even if you did get a decent amount of sleep.

    Combat this the only way you know how – just sleep some more! If you're not going to be productive anyway, you might as well just admit defeat, and instead focus on getting the sleep you need to get back on form.

  11. Exercise

    exerciseThe whole idea that you can “sweat it out” is a little questionable but that doesn't mean that exercise won't help you now.

    Some gentle exercise, with lots and lots of water so you don't get dehydrated, can boost your endorphin levels and give you a mental kick.

    This said, we appreciate this sounds like a lot of effort. Check out our tips on how to exercise without breaking the bank.

  12. Sunglasses it up

    sunglassesAlong with all the other joys of a hangover, you might also find yourself prey to hypersensitivity with things like bright lights or loud music.

    Make sure everyone turns it down a notch for the day (or grab some earplugs if you're worried about this making you unpopular) and if you need to leave the house, put on your best sunnies. No one will even question it (unless it's raining).

If you're presently hungover reading this, we're impressed you made it to the end! Hope we've given you a few pointers on how best to survive the worst of hangover hell.

In the mood for more self-improvement? See our 57 tricks to get better at life page.

If there's anything you think we've missed out then give us a shout below!

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22 Responses to “23 of the best hangover cures that actually work”

  1. Andrew

    10. Dec, 2016

    I just stand in my garden shouting “MY NAME IS IAN!!!”

    My name isn’t Ian though, so that has everyone fooled.

    Reply
  2. Stephen

    04. Dec, 2016

    Oh dear bad head today after a night on the sauce. I will take all advice in this post as I’m in tatters

    Reply
  3. Morne

    09. Oct, 2016

    Another hangover buster is to eat a oily egg and cheese omlet before you go to bed best way is to have two eggs not 1 hope that helps

    Reply
  4. clive

    11. Sep, 2016

    I drink a litre of pre mixed berocca and resolve that I leave by the bed throughout the night when I wake up with a mouth like a vultures crotch. If I have a headache in the morning then it’s a couple of co codamol which knock me out and then I wake up 3-4 hours later feeling absolutely chipper like it never happened usually I then have a big feed and crack on with the day as normal, fool proof, tried and tested for over a decade.

    Reply
    • resolve?

      13. Sep, 2016

      where do you get the resolve from as i haven’t been able to get it for years now.

      Reply
  5. Pat

    18. Aug, 2016

    65, grandmother, still making the same mistakes.
    Writing this with a doozie of a hangover
    Is it time to grow up yet?
    Ps Hons degree dip ed PhD

    Reply
  6. londeka sithole

    11. Jun, 2016

    having a very cold yoghurt and banana in the morning also helps me with a hangover

    Reply
  7. Victoria J

    30. Jan, 2016

    I find that drinking lucazade sport tends to help as it replaces the electrolytes you lose when you become dehydrated, and as we all know alcohol does dehydrate you. Hope this helps others 🙂 x

    Reply
  8. Mike

    02. Jan, 2016

    This article is factually awful and frankly terrible.

    Reply
    • lkbjasfl

      24. Feb, 2017

      I do not see any intellect coming from your factually awful and frankly terrible opinion. 😉

      Reply
    • Jake Butler

      04. Jan, 2016

      Thanks for your opinion Mike. A lot of research went into this article but we’re always looking to improve it if you had any feedback.

      Reply
      • Darren

        24. Jan, 2016

        👌

        Reply
  9. Sontexo

    26. Aug, 2015

    Activated charcoal tablets (1 per 10 kg of your weight) about 1-2 hours before you start drinking. Plus half of this dose the morning after.

    Reply
  10. beth

    21. Jun, 2015

    Milk thistle from holland and barrets to take before.

    Reply
  11. Ola

    19. Mar, 2013

    Taking a dioralyte sachet before going to sleep works amazingly! I usually get an awful headache but did this and then the next morning the only sign of a hangover was tiredness! Perfect!

    Reply
  12. Jason

    22. Jun, 2012

    I think there are some great points here. One comment I’d make is to think about taking some supplements the night before, as opposed to the morning after. For example, vitamin C or the potassium found in bananas. It’s much easier to prevent a hangover than it is to recover from one; by then the damage is already done!

    This comment is awaiting moderation.

    Reply
  13. Jake Butler

    30. Nov, 2010

    Yer Owen you are meant to drink a SHOT of olive oil before you go out then a shot when you get back. The Greek students do it to line their stomachs.
    Somehow I don’t think it works though!

    Reply
  14. Lauren Bailey

    30. Nov, 2010

    I’ve got a 9am tomorrow morning so I’m going to get drunk and try to do the vitamin C before I go to bed and the berrocca in the morning.. Wish Me Luck!!!

    My house-mates are all for trying it out with me too =)

    Reply
  15. Peter

    30. Nov, 2010

    Excellent advice! I always drink a huge glass of water before bed – it makes you feel so much better in the morning.

    My other cure is lots and lots of sleep, till your over it!

    Reply
  16. Owen Burek

    30. Nov, 2010

    If only I’d had some of these in my hangover recipe book back in my first year at uni! At one point I was advised to drink a cup of olive oil… made me soooo much worse, though I was sick which probably got rid of a lot of the alcohol!

    Reply
    • Wayne Kenzitt

      22. Feb, 2016

      I always go for a kebab after drinking and sometimes still carry on drinking. You’ve got to bear in mind is if you are sick, although you get rid of the alcohol, you will still feel dehydrated and also the alcohol causes something called acetyldehyde to form in the body which is more toxic than the alcohol, this is because the alcohol is broken down and causes these toxins to form.

      Although some might go for the hair of the dog, this might also depend how much you had the day before and what you drink the day after.

      Reply
    • Owen Burek

      30. Nov, 2010

      Forgot to add, eating something greasy from the kebab shop before bed always helped!

      Reply

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