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How to beat that hangover

Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger HendersonReviewed on 29.04.2024 | 2 minutes read

The hangover cure here at Healthwords is all about simple pain relief, rebalancing your salts and getting much-needed fluids back into your body. There are lots of ways to do that, and we’ll walk you through some sensible steps to get you feeling more balanced.

What is a hangover?

A hangover is the combination of unpleasant symptoms you get around 10 hours after having large amounts of alcohol in your system.

These symptoms commonly include tiredness, muscle aches, headache, nausea and irritability. It’s not fully understood exactly what causes a hangover but it is thought to be a combination of dehydration, lack of sleep, stomach irritation, low blood sugar and a breakdown product of alcohol that causes inflammation.

Hydrate and replace those salts

Large amounts of alcohol causes dehydration and disrupts the balance of salts known as electrolytes in your system. This is through increasing the amount of fluid lost due to an increase in passing urine.

You can combat the dehydration by replacing lost fluids with water combined with electrolyte tablets. This helps rehydrate you quickly and effectively and helps to rebalance your salt levels. It might be after the event, but try to remember to keep hydrated during your night out – drink water along with your alcoholic drinks and take some before you got to sleep.

Pain relief

Over-the-counter pain relief such as paracetamol can help relieve common symptoms like headaches and muscle aches. Ibuprofen has an anti-inflammatory action to help combat some of the inflammation in your body caused by alcohol. It’s a good idea to take ibuprofen with food, as it can irritate your stomach.

Fuel well and sleep

Alcohol can cause your body’s sugar levels to be low, which can add to you feeling weak, tired and irritable. If you can stomach it, try to eat a balanced meal, but if not, just aim to eat something high in carbohydrates such as toast. The last tip is to get as much sleep as you can. Alcohol may help you fall to sleep quicker but it makes the quality of your sleep worse, so getting some extra hours' kip the next day can help you feel more refreshed.

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Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger Henderson
Reviewed on 29.04.2024
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