Afternoon Inquisition

AI: Hangover – the reckoning of 2010

Many of you are cursing the daylight today after a wicked S&M session between you and your liver. This morning, the rest of your organs are passive-aggressively punishing you for ignoring them at the party.

Me, though, I slammed a 6-pack of San Pellegrino after my liver called out our safe word a few days ago.  So, in exchange for an uneventful evening, I get to dodge a hangover.

You may not have gotten the same deal.

What is a hangover? explains what it is and how it happens:

"Why do you get a "Hangover"? You get a hangover headache after alcohol has filled your entire body. As the alcohol drains out, your floating brain sloshes and slams against your skull. Good luck!

And that’s all well and good… but if you’ve already got one, getting rid of it is difficult what with your brain sloshing and slamming and all.

Aside from avoiding them altogether, how do you cure your hangovers? What’s the worst hangover “cure” you’ve ever heard/tried? Was the payoff on your decision to/not to drink last night worth it?

Happy New Year!

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 3pm ET.


Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

Related Articles


  1. Aside from avoiding them altogether

    What do you mean? The number 1 “cure” for a hangover on every news program is “Don’t drink too much.” Which I think is helpful, if you already weren’t planning on drinking too much to begin with.

    Seriously, I try and get at least 10 hours of sleep and drink a lot of water.

  2. Drink lots of water with the liquor, dance lots as this will sweat out a lot of the bad stuff, and if you still have a hangover, hop in a lukewarm shower, turn the hot water down ever so slowly until your lips turn blue, turn the hot water up ever so slowly till it almost burns, then back down to cold. For some reason this works for me. Or used to. Haven’t had a hangover since the 3-day Hangover of 2009. Bad enough to be capitalized, that one was. Now I just stick with the coffee.

  3. I have 1 or 2 beers and it actually works quite well! You don’t get drunk, just a little buzzed and you wont have a hangover the next day. I know it seems silly and is not a good idea if you have to work but it does get rid of the headache.

    When I can’t do that caffeinated drinks and bread helps me get through my day with a little help from over the counter meds.

  4. Like others, sleep and water are my best bets for not feeling too awful.

    The oddest “cure” I’ve heard lately was to drink pickle juice before bed. Yeah, I dunno.

  5. I have a plate of greasy, fried breakfast…I don’t think it actually helps my hangover, but I crave it all the same. Today I made huevos rancheros (though, I didn’t have a hangover despite the rather heroic amount of whiskey and champagne I downed last night).

  6. Why did you have to start your question with, “Aside from avoiding them altogether…”? I was going to come on with a sure-fire fix! ;-)

  7. My doctor friends swear by the hangover cure they used in med school (a place known for its epic piss-ups) – Pedialyte, or similar kid’s anti-dehydration drinks.

  8. Stay in bed until you’re all better.
    Get up a few times to eat food that’s bad for you (cheeseburgers and pizzas). I don’t think they’ll actually help but they’ll provide some comfort. And lots of people believe they do help so when you have a hangover, it’s one of the times where people are unlikely to criticize you for eating greasy junkfood.

  9. The last hangover I can remember was a long time a go. I’m sure there wasn’t one this morning.

    What did work for me was a plate of french fries with lots of salt. Greasy food didn’t interest me at the time but didn’t cause the stomach to gyrate either. And aspirin. Lots of aspirin.

  10. definitely rehydration salts made with my trusty ratio spoon. The advantage over just water is you only have to drink a small glass of water and then have a better nights sleep not having to get up to go to the loo!

  11. I have to drink a huge amount to get a hang over. Less than a fifth and I usually won’t get one. I really can’t get drunk on beer anymore. It is too fillling and makes me too sleepy. I just nod off. Wine will do it but I have to drink two or three bottles. When I do get one I just have to wait it out. Time and rehydration. Vomiting helps. Also long walks in the cold helped clear my head. I had either three or four martini’s last night but there was an hour or so between each one and I was in bed before midnight. Woke up feeling fine. I’m going to go for a run in about an hour.

  12. On the plus side, I totally avoided a hangover. On the downside, I got called a “light-weight”. But my hangover cure requires more scientific investigation, all I’ve got is uncontrolled non-randomized anecdotal evidence and there may be very serious side-effects. I missed the last bus by about 30 seconds (saw its tail lights in the distance as I approached the bus stop), so I had to walk about 45 minutes to get home. No hangover, but I woke up about 6 AM with a horrible cramp in my calf. However, there are confounding variables… I’m on diuretics and and am supposed to eat a banana every day to keep up my potassium level, but I ran out a couple of days ago and was well below my banana quota for the week. I know from past experience when this happens, and I exercise, I get leg cramps later… I blame Ray Comfort.

    So I invite everyone to try walking 2-3 miles as a cure/preventative and provide more data points. If you start writhing in agony a few hours later, let us know.

  13. I did my damn best yesterday, trying to get a hangover for today, but apparently I had one of those days when I could drink whatever I liked and I still woke up without a hangover.

    According to my anecdotal evidence and own experiences the best way to get over a hangover is: Vomiting helps. Blueberry soup to even the stomach acids after, other friends recommend buttermilk. Lots of water and salts. In any form you can take it in, chips, pizza or why not salt liquorice.

    And sleep.

  14. A lot of a hangover is dehydration. Water water water is good, but something with electrolytes is probably better. Avoid sugar when drinking—drink light liquors or wines, and don’t mix them with sugary stuff. Sugar just adds to the amount of work your body has to do to process the alcohol, and it adds to that feeling of being hungry in the morning that can often make it worse.

  15. @Buzz Parsec: Well, my wife tried that last night and it didn’t work for her. She was suffering from one of the worst hangovers of her life. I aksed her why she didn’t call for a ride and she said she didn’t want to wake me up.

    @laarree: I don’t think that works for everyone. A lot of the people I know who do that are some of the most gullible I have ever known.

  16. When drinking I avoid cheap booze/beer. About the only beers that get me drunk anymore are the big Belgians. I’ll have a large glass of water every couple of hours while boozing, and then one more large glass just before bed, and again when my bladder wakes me.

  17. Well, I hate the taste of alcohol, so I didn’t drink anything but my diet soda of choice – and the payoff was that I actually enjoyed what I had to drink.

  18. I very rarely drink enough to end up with a hang over or perhaps I’m just not susceptible to getting hangovers. I certainly did plan on drinking more than I did last night but New Years Eve wasn’t quite what I planned; but I guess no one plans on going to the ER. (Horse: 1 – Wife: 0) No serious damage and they used surgical glue instead of stitches so she’ll have quite the black eye, small cut and a purple swollen forehead for the start of her classes next week. I guess when it comes to head butting the horse usually wins. So we stayed home and watched a HBO show and my wife was told not to drink for a few days by the ER nurse. I’ve had better New Years Eve’s, the champagne is still in the fridge, and while my wife is feeling better she looks like you’d expect if a horse swung his head into yours and bounced it off the side of a stock trailer.

  19. If you don’t drink enough water during the evening, hydration drinks with electrolytes like Gatorade, Powerade, Pedialyte, or Hoist – a new hydration drink from makers of Pedialyte but specifically made for adults and their cocktails – work well late in the night of drinking/just before bed, and/or in the morning.

    …Nausia and headaches immediate symptoms – alka seltzer.

    Can’t help with wiping memories of what you did that night or deleting the pics that will inevitably end up on Facebook.

  20. The absolute best hangover cure (on what is, to date, my worst-ever hangover) I ever found was jumping into Lake Michigan on New Year’s Day like three years ago. I’m guessing some combination of adrenaline, blood vessel constriction, numbness, and just plain distraction made everything much nicer.

    I followed it up with a huge coffee and like 15 hours of sleep, of course.

    As for hangover avoidance, tip #1 is to keep up the hydration. Get a water for each drink. #2: If somebody’s buying wayyyy too many shots, skip at least some of them – sneakily if necessary. #3: stopping drinking a couple hours before the end of the evening is a very good idea. You should be able to ride the buzz out and go to bed without the room spinning.

  21. I started drinking at around 6PM, and stopped some time around 3AM. So by 6AM, my hangover was already starting to assert itself. The downside was getting home with a pounding head. The upside was going to sleep feeling like crap but waking up feeling just fine.

    @laarree: I don’t think that works for everyone.

    Pot gives me hangovers too. And unlike alcohol, they’re probably not caused by dehydration, so drinking lots of water doesn’t reduce the headache.

    For that matter, I’ve found that hanging out in a smoky bar all night drinking only soda sometimes gives me a hangover too. Maybe it’s a sinus thing?

  22. These days my favourite hangover cure is alka-seltzer and a pint of water, followed by french toast with maple syrup and bacon. All I want when I’m hungover is french toast with maple syrup and bacon. And an awful lot of sleep, with any luck.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button
%d bloggers like this: