Just Some Self Care Tips to Help You Get Over Your Morning Hangover

hangover self care
Hungover? These Self-Care Tips Will Help a LotMargie Rischiotto/getty

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Hello, if you're reading this, it's probs because you are now a part of the club that no one ever wants to be a part of on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday morning. And I get it. The vodka sodas that had you feeling incredible at 2 a.m. have suddenly betrayed you a mere seven hours later, and you now have the dreaded h-word: a hangover. Ugh.

JIC you have a mega to-do list and can't make your way through your Netflix queue all day, we have a few solutions on how you can start feeling better ASAP. Be warned: It’s gonna involve a sh*t ton of coconut water and fresh fruits, but there's also coffee in our Hangover Wellness Manual™️, so don’t worry.

A hangover day is basically all about detoxing the body from alcohol—your liver is gonna work hard today, friends—and putting a bunch of hydrating nutrients back into your system. In addition to the dietitian-prescribed best hangover foods we’re about to drop, we’ll get into why hangovers even happen, what your major nutritional needs are during this very unfortunate time, and some other hangover self-care tips. Ready to feel like a human again?

Real quick, why do we even get hungover?

Essentially, it's because alcohol dehydrates your body. And too much of it can make you feel really crappy because your body is craving the water and everything else it lost trying to process all that liquor. "Alcohol can interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients, and combined with an increase in peeing, you're likely waking up dehydrated with the need to replenish some key electrolytes and nutrients," explains Eling Tsai, RD, CDN, MPH, a registered dietician-nutritionist and nutrition associate at LK Nutrition in New York City.

The recipe for a hangover can start with what you're drinking or eating (or not!) before you go out. For example, Vincci Tsui, RD, a Calgary, Canada-based registered dietitian and certified intuitive eating counselor, notes that drinking on an empty stomach and being dehydrated can make your body absorb alcohol faster, and therefore make your hangover that much worse. Which makes sense. Have you ever gotten wayyyy too hammered at happy hour because you didn't nibble on any half-off apps, and then been totally fine when you drank the same amount at a friend’s birthday dinner? Just me? Kay.

Okay, so how long does a hangover usually last?

Most hangovers usually last a day, but other times, it could be longer, according to Cleveland Clinic. And while, yes, "longer" is super vague, anecdotally we know it can be up to two days, too. Like, when you have a time of a weekend, go to sleep at night, and wake up still drunk the whole next day.

Noted. So is there any way to prevent a hangover?

There's no magic way to do that, but you definitely can try. The first thing you need to do? Eat something. "The body requires the nutrients zinc and nicotinic acid to metabolize alcohol, and since we can't synthesize these nutrients, we must rely on dietary intake to meet our needs," says Tsai. Wanna have a burger, lobster roll, or some rotisserie chicken? Go for it. Meat and shellfish are high in both zinc and nicotinic acid. Eating vegetarian or vegan? Make yourself an protein-heavy egg sandwich, a grain bowl with lentils or beans, or some peanut butter whole grain toast before having your first cocktail to help clear the alcohol from your system more easily, suggests Tsai.

And pregame the pregame by hitting your hydration goals as you prep for a night out. That means about 80 to 100 ounces of water, Tsai says. (So yes, you will make tons of friends in the bar bathroom bc you're about to be peeing quiiiite a bit.) "Even more important will be keeping the hydration going once you start drinking," Tsai adds. Alternate between water and an alcoholic beverage, she suggests. "This not only keeps you hydrated, but may slow your drinking down, which can help reduce the hangover severity." FYI, dehydration is usually the main culprit of that pounding headache the next A.M.

I have a hangover right now. What foods or drinks will help?

Literally all of the electrolytes

You have to pour the electrolytes you lost back into your body, including sodium, magnesium, and potassium, which is why Tsui suggests taking small sips (if you chug you're more likely to throw up!) of coconut water or another electrolyte replenisher. We're big fans of a Liquid IV packet (see below) you can throw in your bag and bring to brunch.

Coffee and tea

Coffee before drinking can set you up for failure, since caffeine is a diuretic that makes your body dehydrated. But having it after the damage is already done is a game changer—it can help you actually get out of bed *and* the amount of caffeine doesn't cancel out the hydration you get from coffee or tea, Tsui adds. A win for all. Plus, if you're super nauseous, ginger tea is gonna be your BFF.

Green juice

One other nutrient your body needs to properly process alcohol is folic acid, aka vitamin B9, according to Tsai. And a key place to get that nutrient is in either leafy greens or citrus fruit. Since, realistically, you're likely not going to kick off your hangover brekkie with a full blown salad, try some eggs (high in zinc, remember?) with a green smoothie or orange juice to replenish those lost nutrients, Tsai suggests.


The best news you've heard all day! Turns out that $14.99 avo toast you were already gonna order is totally worth it. It's one of those foods that contains nicotinic acid, Tsai says, plus B vitamins and even some of the electrolyte potassium.

Literally anything that won't make you nauseous

If you had a real rough night, just grab any food you can keep down. Start with simple carbs, like saltine crackers, pretzels, or toast to help your body soak up the alcohol. Those salty crackers provide sodium so your body can hang on to fluid and make sure you're not dehydrated, suggests Tsui. And if eating solid foods feels like a big ol' nope right now, try smoothies or even soup until your stomach is a little less fragile, adds Tsai.

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What else can I do to help a hangover?

Below are a few more techniques you can try to get over that awful hangover.

Alternate between movement and rest

Sometimes you just have to get moving to up your energy while your body pushes through. Light to moderate exercise—we're talking yoga or a brisk walk—could help flush the alcohol from your body. Just make sure you're hydrating and eating as much as you normally would in a day if you're going to be exercising, Tsai says. Rest is equally important in recovery from a hangover and may help resolve some of your symptoms, she adds. Permission granted for a lil afternoon cat nap.

Treat yourself

Once in a while on a hangover day, splurging on a wellness treatment like a massage, facial, or acupuncture is the move. Basically, just do one of your favorite beauty-related self-care things, from an extra-long soak in a luxurious bath or taking your time through your 13-step skincare routine. Dealer's choice.

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