How to cure a hangover: Tips for surviving New Year's Day
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A familiar scene marks the late evening hours of Dec. 31.
Spending the night at a bar or friend's house, liberally downing your champagne cocktail, you feel yourself loose and relaxed, funny and charming, at home in the center of the party and ready to belt out an off-key rendition of "Auld Lang Syne" as soon as the clock strikes midnight.
It is, after all, New Year's Eve, and you might as well live it up before getting started on all those resolutions.
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Then the morning comes.
If New Year's Eve is arguably the nation's busiest drinking night, then Jan. 1 is certainly the day in which the bleary-eyed stagger around in hangover misery, nursing upset stomachs and throbbing headaches. Although there may not be a silver bullet cure for reveler's regret, we've compiled several steps you can take to try to make it through the day -- all while you pledge to never, ever drink like that again.
For every alcoholic drink you have, your body can expel up to four times as much liquid, which means that eventually, you'll end up dehydrated, WebMD says. So drink as much water as you possibly can to replenish your fluids and prevent the headaches that accompany hangovers.
CHOW DOWN ON EGGS, BANANAS
Considering your state of anguish, sitting down to eat might not be at the forefront of your mind. But there are several foods that can aid your efforts. Eggs come armed with large amounts of cysteine, an amino acid that takes dead aim at the liver-disrupting (and therefore hangover-causing) toxin acetaldehyde that follows heavy alcohol consumption, HowStuffWorks.com explains. While you're at it, reach for a banana -- pounding potassium into your body will replace a much-needed compound that has been sapped after a night of overindulging in alcohol.
HELP YOURSELF TO SOME FRUCTOSE
You already know that there are a lot of reasons for drinking orange juice (or tomato juice, or grapefruit juice), so here's another: Fructose speeds the metabolism of alcohol, thereby burning its toxins faster, Reader's Digest says. Along the same lines, Britain's Royal Society of Chemistry suggests honey as a source of fruit sugar.
REPLACE LOST ELECTROLYTES
When you drink -- and after you've made the regular trips to the bathroom caused by alcohol consumption -- you not only lose water and potassium but electrolytes as well. Not to worry: A noncaffeinated sports drink or coconut water -- which contains more electrolytes than Gatorade, Time magazine reports -- can help rehydrate you.
HAIR OF THE DOG
You're probably not in a good state if the cure for drinking too much alcohol is drinking even more alcohol. But the so-called "hair of the dog" -- as in, a hair of the dog that bit you the night before -- can sort of help with a hangover, Men's Health reports. That's because alcohol contains ethanol, which blocks the breakdown of methanol to formaldehyde and formic acid. But beware: This practice merely postpones the hangover -- which can later jump up and bite you much worse.
Be careful on this one. Although over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen can ease headaches, they also can damage the lining of your stomach, which is probably already weak after a night of heavy drinking, Health.com warns. Also: Acetaminophen, which Tylenol contains, has been shown to cause liver damage -- not a good thing for someone who's already punished his internal organs the night before.
The Mayo Clinic stops short of endorsing those treatments as surefire ways to end a hangover and advises one to speak with a doctor before trying any alternative remedies. But just so we've covered all the bases, Mayo lists B vitamins, vitamin C, evening primrose oil, milk thistle and globe artichoke as several remedies that might help.
GO TO SLEEP
Honestly, it's not like you're up to running around and doing jumping jacks anyway, so you might as well try to grab some shut-eye. If you're really feeling lousy (example: The room keeps spinning whenever you lie down), finding solace in a blissful slumber might be easier said than done. Still, there's no better way to skip past a hangover's agony -- especially because, in the end, the only way to completely eradicate a hangover is to wait it out.