Hangover cures, do they even exist or are we destined to spend our weekend mornings in the fetal position for all of eternity?
While we generally have matured to learn from our mistakes and not repeat them, our memories seem to be thwarted by the dreaded hangover. Every time we get one we say ‘never again’ but alas, we find ourselves once again waking up after another epic night feeling like death.
And as if a youthful hangover wasn’t bad enough, instead of getting easier, hangovers seem to become worse with age, with the phrase ‘I’m too old for this’ running through our heads time and time again.
So, we’ve taken one for the team this holiday season in an effort to help our fellow millennials tackle this dreaded nemesis, utilizing a combination of our parent’s sworn-by secrets and modern remedies to defeat hangovers once and for all. You can thank us later.
In an effort to be as reliable as possible, we tried to keep each experiment pretty consistent and enlisted some willing volunteers to see if different people reacted in different ways. For example, my epic hangover typically entails a day of vomiting, whereas my fiancé just gets sleepy and wants to eat everything in sight (yup, life isn’t fair).
We drank the same amount of the same type of alcohol, on different days to compare the results. For the typical person, these are the symptoms that come with a hangover, so these were the signs we were looking out for:
- Dryness – mouth, hair, skin, and entire existence pretty much
- Headaches – from mild to migraine levels
- Nausea – mild to nonstop toilet time
- Light and sound sensitivity – again, mild to severe isolation needed
- Dizziness – varies
- Fatigue – varies
- Mood – varies
I find my vocabulary is quite a lot better when I'm hungover. I feel like I unlock a key of words that I don't usually use in day-to-day life - Ella Eyre
The highly recommended hangover cures we tested
Combining both the internet’s top picks and the advice of our friends and family, we decided on 8 trusted hangover cures to put to the test. Here they are, in no particular order:
- Activated charcoal tablets
- Hair of the dog
- A greasy breakfast
- Water alternation
- Food before bed
Activated charcoal tablets
The testimonials said: These pills soak up the toxins, sugar and junk in your stomach and leave you feeling fine the next day.
What really happened: These may just be the answer to our prayers, guys. While not all of us were feeling fantastic, none of us were in really rough shape, and while tired, we felt pretty good as far as other symptoms go, and our stomachs felt pretty great. We’re gonna need to try these a few more times to really be sure, but we’re definitely going to put these into our weekend arsenal going forward.
Hair of the dog
The testimonials said: It sounds crazy but it works! It’s been the tried-and-true method for generations.
What really happened: No, just no. We didn’t want it and it didn’t help. It may have given us a bit of a temporary buzz which numbed the symptoms for a while, but it definitely didn’t last long, and we really didn’t want another drink at that point. It may work for some people, but we didn’t like it one bit.
The testimonials said: This is the best way to restore your electrolytes, it’s like Gatorade on steroids.
What really happened: Not only did we feel weird about buying and drinking this children’s product for a hangover, but it wasn’t really worth it in the end. Sure, we probably would have felt worse if we didn’t have it, but it wasn’t the tastiest, and basically felt the same as chugging a Gatorade before bed. It may have helped a bit, but it’s not cheap and not worth the hassle for most people.
A greasy breakfast
The testimonials said: It’ll soak up all of the alcohol and make you feel like new.
What really happened: It felt good in the moment, but it seemed like it was too little too late. The mountain of food brightened our mood, but it had mixed results for helping with nausea, and made us all even more fatigued. We basically ate and then crashed, and while it’s good to put some food in your system, it’s probably not the most scientifically supported way to help your body recover.
The testimonials said: It’s the best way to get your vitamins back and reduce nausea.
What really happened: Call us crazy, but most of us really enjoyed it. We had it before bed and the next day, and found that it tasted good and made us feel pretty good too. It might have been a placebo effect caused by the radioactive colour, but we felt like it was restoring the goodness back into our bodies.
The testimonials said: It’s the best way to not get dehydrated and also stop yourself from getting too intoxicated.
What really happened: It wasn’t easy, but it definitely helped. We drank a full glass of water in between every drink, and while it really slowed down our process, made us pee like crazy and was pretty torturous, we all felt pretty good the next day. Just the sheer amount of liquid we consumed really combatted the dehydration and drunken feeling, but it felt like we were on a Survivor immunity challenge, trying to drink all of that water.
The testimonials said: You’ll sweat out the alcohol and feel so much better.
What really happened: We sweat begrudgingly, but we weren’t sweating alcohol. The worst part was actually getting ourselves TO the gym (which was the absolute last thing we were in the mood for) and it was pretty miserable during, but we felt better afterwards.
We wouldn’t recommend doing a crazy-intense workout especially if you’re dealing with nausea, and you definitely need to keep extra-hydrated, but you’ll be ready for a well-deserved shower and nap afterwards, and then you should wake up feeling a lot better than you did that morning. Not everyone enjoyed it or would do it again, but then again not everyone wants to work out on a good day either.
Food before bed
The testimonials said: Never go to sleep on an empty stomach, the food will help soak up the alcohol while you sleep.
What really happened: This wasn’t a completely new theory to us, but we focused on carbs, vitamin-rich foods and quantity. We’ve so often been really ambitious with our late night eats, only to take a bite and pass out, but we planned ahead, made sure we ate a good amount and woke up feeling pretty good, without the ravenous sensation we usually have in the AM.
It definitely didn’t work for everyone though, and for some eating all this food just means you’ll spend more time with your head in the toilet, revisiting what you ate and drank that night.
The moral of the story?
There is no guaranteed cure for every person or every hangover, but some remedies really do help, and once you find what works for you, we recommend sticking to it and making it a part of your drinking routine indefinitely.
It may seem tedious on some nights but trust us, your future hungover self will thank you. And drinking responsibly, eating and keeping hydrated is always recommended.