Head pounding? Here’s how to ease your morning-after symptoms
By Karen Kwan
They say you never regret a workout, but you know what you always will regret? A hangover. The fun times over beers and cocktails don’t seem worth it when you wake up and the world is spinning, you feel like you’re going to lose your lunch (if you had any food in your belly, that is), your head is pounding, and the entire world is brighter and louder than it’s ever been. How to get over that hangover? Put some, or all, of these strategies into play (and keep them in mind the next time you go on a bender).
Chow down on carbs before you drink
Ironically, you should prepare for your night out drinking much like you would for running a marathon. Eat a nutritionally balanced meal with carbohydrates—think pasta, potatoes, quinoa—plus a protein and veggies. ”Having food in your belly, especially carbs, slows the absorption of alcohol from your stomach into your bloodstream,” says Kitchener, Ont.-based registered dietitian Andrea D’Ambrosio.
Take B vitamins and hydrate well
“Bouncing back from a hangover can be a lot easier if you take B vitamins before you go to bed,” recommends holistic nutritionist Marina Cortese. “These get depleted when you drink but they will aid your liver in processing the alcohol.” Cortese, who owns the healthy grab-and-go spot Oats & Ivy in Toronto, also recommends drinking one or two big glasses of water before bedtime, to help you rehydrate. And the next day, opt for electrolyte-rich foods such as bananas, coconut water or an electrolyte powder. “This will help with that pounding in your head.”
Remedy your overindulgence with homeopathy
If you can manage to before you pass out for the night, take two pellets of nux vomica (a homeopathic strychnine tree-based medicine available at health food stores), says Julie Henry. The Toronto-based homeopath recommends repeating this in the morning to help your general ill feelings to subside. For more help with rehydrating your parched system? “Follow with a dose of China officinalis [a homeopathic remedy composed of Peruvian bark]—this will typically take care of the headaches and low energy that you experience as a result of the drinking.”
Focus on fitness
The morning after the night before, get thee to a gym. “You can sweat off a hangover, as the alcohol has already been processed,” says Brent Bishop, owner of Think Fitness Studios in Toronto. And while exercise will likely make you even more dehydrated than you already are, he points out that a workout will have the benefit of releasing “feel-good” hormones. “This can help you feel better and elevate your mood—just drink lots of water continuously through your workout!” Bishop recommends any exercise that gets your heart rate up moderately and your muscles active so as to stimulate your body to release endorphins.
KAREN KWAN is a freelance health, travel and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter at @healthswellness and on Instagram at @healthandswellness.