Hangovers are always worse than you anticipate they will be. This is because the night before it seemed like it would definitely be worth it. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t. When you’re on your twelfth drink, you tend to lose the kind of foresight you came into the bar with. The kind of foresight that understands the word “penance” and the phrase “pay the piper.”
In any case, you have found yourself in a situation at least vaguely similar to this one upon waking:
You’re experiencing a cold sweat, which seems contradictory when you unhappily consider the fact that there is no moisture anywhere in your mouth or throat, something you’ve taken for granted so many times but now realize you do not want to live very long without. Just for kicks, you run a finger along your tongue and find that it feels like a cross between a cat’s gross tongue and a sheet of sandpaper. Your head hurts so hard that you can hear every beat of your pulse, which is rapid, because your heart is having trouble adjusting to the fact that you’re awake roughly ten hours before you should be if you wanted to make a full recovery. You’re burdened with that bloated feeling that comes from gluttonously scarfing down unhealthy food before lying prostrate in your bed for a few hours, and the accompanying urge to vomit whatever remains of that half-digested burrito into your toilet. You’ve slept, kind of, but you still feel a full-body fatigue that makes you even more upset about having to go to work than you normally are.
The hangover is here, and it’s not just going to go away. And you have a life to lead, one where you probably have to be at least semi-productive.
Here are a few tips for fighting off those demons:
Stay positive: The more you let your hangover influence and dictate your attitude, the less happy and functional you will be. I’m sure you’ve heard of mind over matter, and it can be crucial in a hangover situation. In high school, I had a history teacher who told us you can greet the day in one of two ways: by getting pissed off and saying, “Good God, morning,” or by hopping out of bed fueled by positivity and bellowing “Good MORNING, God!” He claimed that attacking the day with the latter attitude was essential to his having a good day. But that dude was also much more religious than I am. Still, the sentiment holds true. I think.
Hydrate: You know that hydration is key to battling a hangover. Chug as much water as you possibly can. Pee it out. Repeat. The Circle of Circulatory Life will help end your Hangover Circle of Strife. Water is only the starting point, though. Start keeping a sixer of Pedialyte in the fridge, because it replenishes something fierce, and with a quickness. I also have friends who swear by a half-and-half combination of Cool Blue Gatorade and orange juice, which I can vouch for as being both a pleasant treat for your dry taste buds and a livening force. Alka Seltzer is another great liquid concoction that you’ll find especially beneficial if you’re experiencing crippling nausea. Of course, drinking coffee is also beneficial. Caffeine is a majestic beast.
Sweat it out: One of the best ways to recover from a night of binge drinking is to expunge the harmful chemicals from your body. The most reasonable way to do so is to get moving, to get to the gym and work out a little bit. You might smell like a scratch and sniff scotch sticker, but who cares? Nobody ever smells particularly nice at a gym. If you can, go for a run outside. The sun combined with physical exertion will help. And, if time allows, forego exercise altogether and get to a sauna (or a bathhouse). Bring an abundance of water with you, so that as you sweat you can introduce pure liquids to your body.
Avoid pain pills: If you’re hungover, your liver is likely still working overtime to rid your body of the poison you put in it before, during, and after you butchered “Under Pressure” at karaoke night. If you start crushing Tylenols or Advils or Excedrins, your head might feel marginally better, but only to a level that is probably not worth it if you’re going to have to put further taxation on your delicate liver.
Have some sex: As of yet, I’m unaware of any data that indicates having sex will cure your hangover. But it’s certainly not going to hurt. What better way to pass the painful times than by making The Two-Backed Beast? (As always, masturbation is an acceptable alternative that will pale in comparison to the real thing.)
Gnosh on some unhealthy food: If you think a kale salad is going to make you feel better, you’re lying to yourself. Part of the payment you owe to the piper is a day of residual unhealthiness. Get a breakfast from a greasy spoon joint into you, or hit up McDonald’s. (I once purchased $30 worth of Egg McMuffins when I was hungover. It really hit the spot, you guys.) Try to combine protein and carbohydrates. Be careful, though—you don’t want to go after it too hard and then vomit again or for the first time that day.
Start drinkin’ again: Obviously, if you’re at work this is going to be frowned upon– at the very least. But if it’s your day off, you may want to go with the hair of the dog, as they say. You’ll start to feel better immediately. Trust me. But this is just delaying the inevitable. If you stop drinking, you’ll get hungover again almost immediately. If you don’t, you will be hungover the next day. This can lead to a vicious cycle we call alcoholism.
Smoke some weed (if you’re in Colorado): I don’t have much experience with this, but it was the overwhelming response I got from friends when I crowd sourced hangover cures.