We all know we should avoid drinking too much and that we should have a few alcohol-free days every week. But around Christmas time, even the best of intentions can all go right out the window. One drink leads to another, then another. And before you know it, it’s the next morning – and you feel like death warmed up.
The bad news is there’s no magic pill that can instantly cure all your hangover symptoms. But you don’t have to suffer all day. Here are six drug-free hangover remedies that could help you feel more human by the afternoon…
1. Raid the freezer If your head is really throbbing, it’s because having a lot of alcohol relaxes and opens up the blood vessels in your head too much, triggering nerves that cause pain. Fix this by grabbing a packet of frozen peas, wrapping it in a clean tea towel and placing it on your forehead or the back of your neck. The cold can help shrink the blood vessels back down to their normal size.
2. Get fruity Drinking too much can also make your blood sugar level drop, because your body needs the sugar in your bloodstream to break down the alcohol. But when your blood sugar level is too low, you can feel dizzy, nauseated and low on energy. So try having a glass of fruit juice or a fruit smoothie, as fruit sugars can give your blood sugar level a boost.
3. Drink water – lots of it When you wake up with a hangover, the first thing you should reach for is a big glass of water. Why? Because alcohol is a diuretic, which means it makes you dehydrated, causing that pounding head.
4. Brew up Having too much alcohol can irritate your stomach, triggering the production of excess stomach acid. This explains why you often feel sick and have an upset stomach when you’re hung over. One way to remedy this is to have a cup or two of ginger tea, since ginger is believed to help with nausea and may also help settle your stomach. Simply peel and chop up a 2in piece of ginger root, add some boiling water, steep for five minutes and add honey to taste.
5. Revisit the drinks cabinet Hair of the dog is a myth, since having more alcohol just delays your hangover and makes you feel even worse. But there is something in your drinks cabinet that could help. If you have a bottle of Angostura Bitters, put about 20 drops in a glass of water to help settle your stomach (Angostura Bitters contains herbs such as gentian that may help your liver process alcohol).
6. Spread Marmite on your toast If you can face having something to eat, try a piece of toast thinly spread with Marmite. Eating Marmite can help replace the B vitamins you lose when you drink too much, and may help you feel less tired. Can’t stand Marmite? Go for an egg instead, as eggs contain a substance called n-acetyl cystine, an amino acid that may help get rid of those alcohol toxins circulating in your bloodstream.
The bottom line: You can’t always be good, especially during Christmas. And if you do end up with a hangover, there are natural ways to feel better.