It doesn't matter whether it's birthdays, frustrated drinking or just the ("one") after-work beer with colleagues - there are always reasons for a little alcohol. In times of Corona, fewer such parties and events take place, but alcohol consumption in Germany has risen sharply.
So if you had a glass too deep the night before, the well-known hangover awaits you the next morning. However, you don't have to resort to classic medication directly to get rid of the various hangover symptoms. Natural home remedies can also help. We’ll tell you here what they are and what the best tips are for headaches and the like.
the essentials in brief
- Headaches, nausea and stomach pain are among the most common symptoms of a hangover. So far, no hangover cure is available for these symptoms and there are also no studies on the effectiveness of certain measures and remedies.
- Despite the lack of scientific studies, some tips and tricks are available on how to alleviate hangover symptoms. Thus, you can counteract the pain and discomfort of a hangover with simple household and food products.
- To prevent a hangover from occurring in the first place, there are a number of measures you can take to prevent the symptoms.
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The hangover afterwards: What you should know about the most common symptoms
"Hangover" means the physical and mental discomfort after excessive drug use such as alcohol. According to some studies (2,3), the most common consequences of an alcoholic hangover are:
- stomach pain
Few studies exist that have explored effective hangover medications that can quickly sober up and make you feel better. With the following tips and tricks, however, the annoying hangover symptoms can be alleviated.
What Helps a Hangover Headache?
At 66%, headaches are the most common consequence of an alcoholic hangover (2). The blood vessels in the head expand and a physical condition prevails that can be compared to a migraine
(2). So the skull is pounding, you are sensitive to light and noise and feel weak. In the following we want to give you some tips on how to get rid of these headaches.
What the body needs, especially after a long night of partying, is water - lots of water. Because alcohol dehydrates your body (7,11), it's highly recommended to drink plenty of fluids, especially if you have a headache. If you have a headache, you can drink mineral water or an unsweetened apple spritzer in addition to still water, which will provide your body with water on the one hand and plenty of sodium and potassium on the other.
In this way you can compensate for your liquid and mineral deficit. You could also mix up a mineral cocktail from effervescent tablets, with the minerals magnesium and sodium being the main ingredients.
Furthermore, researchers at the University Hospital Freiburg are said to have found that an espresso with lemon can help relieve your headaches (12). This mix is supposed to control the release of the hormones: prostaglandia, which are responsible for your pain perception. So if you like coffee, why not give it a try? After all, it's not for nothing that they say: "Sour makes fun."
Along with drinks, a good breakfast will also help relieve your headache. It is important to note that you avoid sugar as much as possible. Sugar is said to make hangovers and headaches worse. So it is better to avoid sweet spreads or sweet drinks.
Instead, you should include plenty of fruit in your breakfast to replenish your vitamin stores. In addition , vitamin C supports the detoxification process of your liver. However, if you cannot completely do without something sweet at breakfast, you can integrate honey into your breakfast. Honey contains a lot of fructose, which promotes the breakdown of residual alcohol.
More home remedies
What you can also do against nasty hangover headaches is to get some fresh air. Even if all you want to do is crawl into bed and stay in there all day, pull yourself together and get out there. Because with a short walk you supply your body with sufficient oxygen again, which accelerates the breakdown of alcohol in your body (1).
On the one hand you reduce your headaches and on the other hand you get your circulation going again. If your circulation is now even stable again, you can also go jogging for a little bit, so you can break down the residual alcohol from your body even better.
Even if you just want to stay in bed with a headache, you should get up and go outside into the fresh air. (Image source: unsplash / Vladislav Muslakov)
However, if you can't get out of bed because your headache is so bad, then cold weather can help relieve it. You can relieve your headache with a cool pack, a bag of ice or a cold washcloth on your forehead, as the cold constricts the blood vessels.
Another tip on how to relieve your headache is peppermint oil. You can put a few drops directly on your forehead or in your fingers - just be careful not to get the oil in your eyes. You can massage your forehead, temples or neck with light circular movements. Peppermint oil has a cooling effect and its soothing scent will help you relax and get rid of your oppressive headache.
In addition to classic home remedies, you can also use medication. You can easily counteract your headaches with the help of common painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol (2,5). You can even take this painkiller the night before bed with plenty of water to help prevent headaches the next morning.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some painkillers contain caffeine supplements. Some doctors at Stiftung Warentest therefore advise against such drugs with caffeine. The extra caffeine puts you at risk for persistent headaches, which can lead to longer and more frequent use of these painkillers (13).
What helps with hangover nausea?
In addition to a headache the next morning, it can also lead to a queasy stomach. Unfortunately, it often doesn't just stay with a nauseous feeling, and the vomiting center in the brain switches to vomiting. Nausea is one of the most common complaints after a long night of partying (2,3). Those who suffer from it often also suffer from sweating and dizziness. So it's not surprising that you want to know quickly what really helps against hangover nausea!
You should also drink plenty of fluids if you feel nauseous. Unlike the headache, you should avoid carbonic acid when you have a queasy stomach. So drink still water or tea. In particular, herbal teas such as fennel, caraway or chamomile tea are said to calm your stomach and help with nausea. With tea, also make sure that you don't drink it too hot, but lukewarm and in small sips.
Also the miracle cure: Ginger increases the production of stomach acid, can suppress nausea and stimulate your digestion. You can put ginger in the form of drops or slices in your tea. If you feel sick, you should definitely avoid acidic drinks such as coffee or juice, as these also irritate your stomach. So stick to tea!
You should also eat something if you feel sick. Light food in particular will help you to drive away your nausea. Eating light is food that doesn't irritate your stomach too much and is therefore easy to digest. In the following table we have briefly listed some foods that you should eat when you feel sick.
|Rusks / Crispbread||These carbohydrates are easily digested and ensure that the stomach settles|
|carrot mash||Carrots have a lot of dietary fiber, which can bind various toxins in the stomach or during digestion|
|Oatmeal / Porridge||Oatmeal or porridge are easy to digest, soothe the gastric flora and optimally saturate the stomach|
|vegetable broth||If the stomach is not ready for a solid meal, vegetable broth is an ideal option. It provides a lot of liquid, vitamins and important electrolytes|
|Mashed Banana||Bananas are also easily absorbed by the stomach and provide the body with additional vitamins and minerals|
So when it comes to your hangover diet, remember not to overload your digestion with too much food, which will later weigh heavily on your stomach. So make yourself a light hangover breakfast with lots of fruit to replenish your body with important vitamins and nutrients and to stabilize your circulation (6, 10).
More home remedies
You can also use relaxation exercises to keep your nausea under control. Go through some breathing exercises in which you breathe in deeply through your nose and breathe out calmly through your mouth. Concentrate on your breathing, you will forget about your nausea and you will feel much better. If you are actually feeling better, you can also take a short walk in the fresh air to get your circulation going.
Another psychological trick to nausea is - lying higher. If you prefer to spend the day in bed, your upper body should be raised with the help of a few pillows. You can also let your feet hang out of bed if you feel dizzy, as this should reduce the dizziness. Chewing gum can also help you with your hangover nausea. Chewing stimulates saliva production and digestion. In addition, the chewing movement distracts from your nausea.
If you prefer to quickly resort to a painkiller in the event of a hangover, you should know that some painkillers can further irritate your already ailing stomach (4).
Since there are a large number of different painkillers, you should make sure that they are stomach-friendly, especially in the case of stomach pain and nausea. (Image source: unsplash / Volodymyr Hryshchenko)
If you feel sick, you should therefore avoid painkillers such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Instead, you can use paracetamol, which is more stomach-friendly. You can also get special medication for nausea in the pharmacy. A popular remedy that is supposed to help quickly with nausea is, for example, Vomex.
What helps hangover stomach pain?
If you feel an uncomfortable pulling and stabbing in your stomach the next morning, which is followed by heartburn, nausea or diarrhea, then you have probably put too much strain on your stomach from excessive alcohol consumption. We will now show you how you can counteract this nasty stomach pain.
It's very possible that after a long night of sleep, cravings will be chasing you in the morning. However, if you have stomach pain, you should not use greasy products such as kebabs or fries, as these are difficult to digest and cannot be processed well by the stomach. In the following table we have summarized products for you that you can eat when you have a hangover stomach ache (Go's) and which you should rather avoid (No-Go's):
|Carrots, zucchini, broccoli, tomatoes||Cabbage, pepper, onion, cucumber|
|Apples, berries, pears, bananas||Cherries, plums, peaches, nectarines|
|Potatoes, rusks, pasta, oatmeal||Puff pastries, fried products, cakes, tarts|
|Mild cheeses, low-fat milk, yoghurt||Cream, fatty cheeses, fatty milk, yogurt|
The no-go foods are particularly products that bloat your stomach a lot and are difficult to digest. You should also avoid spicy food and spices in particular, as they can irritate your stomach and make your abdominal pain worse. Prepare your meals with Go products, which are less fatty, easier for the stomach to digest and also provide your body with the vitamins and nutrients it needs (6,7).
When it comes to fluids, you should avoid acidic juices like orange juice or caffeinated drinks like latte macchiato or cappuccino, as these can aggressively attack the lining of your stomach and make your stomach pain worse. Instead, opt for still mineral water or teas that replenish your vitamin and mineral stores.
More home remedies
One thing in particular helps against abdominal pain – warmth. You can relieve your pain with the help of a hot water bottle or a heating pad that you put on your stomach. The heat will relax your muscles and relieve pain. Relaxation baths or belly wraps also help.
According to some studies (8, 9), the well-known remedy: caraway is also said to help with abdominal pain. Caraway promotes blood circulation in the gastric mucosa, has an antispasmodic effect and promotes digestion. For example, you can mix 3 to 4 drops of caraway oil in water and simply consume it before each meal.
Some painkillers can also irritate the stomach even more if you have stomach pain (4, 7). A stomach-friendly painkiller that you can safely take without further damaging your stomach lining is paracetamol.
Watch out for stomach-friendly painkillers.
However, you should not take the painkillers on an empty stomach. It is therefore advisable not to take the tablet in the evening before going to bed if you have stomach pains, but rather the next day after a light breakfast.
What is the best way to prevent a hangover?
With a few tips and tricks, you can also prevent the consequences of a hangover the next day. That way, the nasty hangover symptoms don't have to appear in the first place and you can get through the next day easily and without pain, despite a long night of partying.
Create a good base
If you start drinking alcohol on an empty stomach, you've basically already lost. In order to be able to prevent the hangover symptoms, you should create a good basis before partying and drinking. Here you can hit calmly. Therefore, I also like to eat carbohydrates and high-fat food such as fries, burgers or pizza. This is because fatty foods stay in the stomach longer and can therefore delay the absorption of alcohol in the blood (2).
Before the big party, you should create a good food base so that you can prevent a hangover the next morning. (Image source: unsplash / Dan Gold)
Another tip is: eat a small party snack from time to time, such as pretzel sticks or nuts, as these provide the body with additional salts and minerals that are extracted from the alcohol. You can also eat a little something before you go to sleep, such as a slice of bread or something similar.
Give up cigarettes
Whether you are a smoker or a party smoker, you should avoid cigarettes as much as possible while consuming alcohol. Because of the nicotine in cigarettes, it can take time before you feel the effects of the alcohol. The nicotine lowers the alcohol level in the blood, which gives you the feeling that you are not drunk enough or that you cannot tolerate more alcohol.
But remember one thing: just because you have the feeling that your level is not even close to your limit, the toxic effect of the alcohol remains the same. In addition, you will later need a particularly large number of vitamins and nutrients, which are deprived of your body by smoking and drinking.
Don't mix up your drinking
How was that again: "Beer on wine, don't do that - wine on beer, that's my advice?" It's better to leave out both combinations, because drinking different alcoholic beverages together can lead to severe hangover symptoms the next morning.
Since some alcoholic beverages contain so-called fusel oils (1) and other substances, it is difficult to keep track of the different types of beverages when drinking a mix. For example, some studies (14,15) have found that rum, whiskey, gin and red and white wine in particular contain many such additives and lead to stronger hangover consequences. So it is better to stick to one type of drink and pay attention to the appropriate amount.
The final tip for preventing a hangover the next morning is to leave the window open at night. Over the night you have a high supply of oxygen with the help of which your body can regenerate optimally. This reduces the consequences of severe headaches or nausea after a long night of partying.
The hangover symptoms and the severity of these complaints and pains depend on the one hand on individual predispositions and on the other hand on the amount of alcohol consumed. Although you can get your hangover symptoms under control with a few tips and tricks after a hangover, there is no cure for it. So if you have a hangover afterwards, you just have to brave it.
To avoid a hangover in the first place, there is another option: either you simply stop drinking alcohol or you only drink as much as you can actually tolerate. Know your limit can thus become the motto of your alcohol consumption in order to prevent the unpleasant consequences of a hangover the morning after.
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