Hangover Cures that Really Work (and the Ones that Don't)
Sarah Kehoe/FITNESS Magazine
You know you shouldn't, but sometimes a girl just can't help herself. You plan to meet up with friends for a drink after work, and one drink turns into many more, which then turns into a rough next morning. We hope you don't have a hangover reading this, because we bring you some not-so-good news. "There are a lot of myths about hangover cures," says Ruth C. Engs, RN, EdD, a professor at Indiana University who has done extensive research on the effects of drinking. "Essentially there is no cure other than consuming water and liquids like juice (i.e., not spiked) in the morning." The reason? Hangover symptoms are a product of dehydration, hypoglycemia, and the poisonous side effects from toxins in our drinks (sounds great, right?). Water will not only help hydrate your muscles and organs, but will also aid in flushing out the toxins. Juices such as orange juice accomplish both while replenishing your body with missing sugars.
That said, if you swear by a bacon, egg, and cheese bagel or a five-mile run after a night out on the town, you're not alone. We got the scoop on which remedies seem to prove real, and which ones are just part of the rumor mill.
Related: QUIZ: Test Your Cocktail IQ
Rumor Remedy: Sweating It Out with Exercise
"My go-to any time I have a hangover is a workout to sweat out the bad stuff followed by a ton of water," says Jennifer D., a 36-year-old lawyer in New York City. "I don't know how scientific it is, but I feel like going for a run helps process the alcohol left in my body when I wake up. It usually shakes my grogginess and makes me feel better faster."
Unfortunately, exercise on its own isn't an effective cure, according to Engs. In fact, if you exercise and aren't properly hydrating, your symptoms could actually worsen. What you might be feeling that is making you feel better is the endorphin rush that typically comes along with a workout. If you're looking to metabolize the alcohol through your body faster, sorry -- the gym is not the answer.
Real Remedy: Sleeping It Off
If you're lucky enough to catch extra zzz's after a night of boozing, do it. "If I know I've gotten a little too tipsy the night before, I'll sleep it off the next morning and wake up later in the afternoon," says Kate R., 25, a physician assistant student in New York City. "By the time I get up, the worst part of my hangover has passed."
Kate is onto something -- alcohol is metabolized at the rate of .015 of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), or roughly one drink every hour, meaning those extra brews can quickly add up. And just like a broken heart, time can heal all and sleeping through your body metabolizing last night's happy hour will make you feel better. Just make sure to keep hydrated once your peepers finally open.
Rumor Remedy: Hair of the Dog
No, Bloody Marys do not exist solely to cater to the morning-after crowd. If you think drinking more alcohol will fix all your problems, think again. "The body is going through withdrawal symptoms from overindulging, and drinking more just prevents more withdrawal symptoms," says Engs. That unlimited mimosa brunch isn't a fix, instead you're giving your body more toxins to deal with, delaying a future (and probably worse) hangover.