It’s not unusual for any holiday to be associated with a little bit of drinking, though no holiday is more singularly associated with excessive alcohol consumption than New Year’s Eve. Really, other than counting down those 10 seconds leading up to midnight, New Year’s Eve is all about drinking. And while it’s easy enough to really over-indulge your alcohol intake as a kind-of reward for making it alive through yet another year on this planet, it’s inevitable that many of us will start out the new year with a pretty powerful hangover.
Should you be one of those people who wakes up to face the new year with a dry mouth, upset stomach, or that familiar feeling that there’s a vice grip slowly tightening against your temples, here are a few choice remedies that may help you get you through that first painful day of the new year.
A nice, greasy breakfast.
This has been a reliable standby for a number of years, and for good reason — it turns out there’s science at work. As the protein found in meat breaks down into amino acids, they replace all those that you’ve flushed out of your system when drinking. This also helps detoxify your liver, better known as the organ that works overtime when you drink, all of which can go a long way in helping you feel better. Not to mention the psychological comfort that a big plate of bacon can bring you the morning after drinking — that simply cannot be overstated.
It should be noted that for those of a certain dietary persuasion, peanut butter is a reliable, protein-rich food that can be swapped out for any meat here. Unless, of course, you’re both a vegetarian and allergic to peanuts. And if that’s the case, good luck to you.
A positive attitude.
Okay, hear this one out: You know how hangovers tend to be at their worst when you’re just lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, dwelling on your regret for taking that Fireball shot right at last call? Then, suddenly, once you actually get up out of bed, you start to feel a little bit better. You can apply this same technique to your attitude. As long as you keep a positive frame of mind knowing you’ll be able to get through the day, it’ll be that much easier to do so. A hangover is all in your head, after all.
Also, while not to diminish the power of positive thinking, this one is best paired with at least one other treatment included on this list.
Taking aspirin before bed.
Taking headache medicine before bed may seem counter-intuitive, but aspirin contains important ingredients called prostaglandin inhibitors which work as anti-inflammatory agents and have the ability to drastically reduce the severity of your hangover. The downside here is that aspirin can be a little rough on your stomach, so if you’re prone to nausea or you haven’t eaten (side note: don’t ever drink on an empty stomach), you may want to avoid this one. Also, since alcohol is sort of a blood thinner and since aspirin is as well, don’t overdo it and maybe consult your doctor should you have any concerns.
Alka-Seltzer in the morning.
The strange, antiquated medicine that’s been around since the 1930s will forever be associated with the 1970s-era jingle that boasted “oh, what a relief it is.” While Alka-Seltzer was generally marketed for those suffering from heartburn, indigestion, and minor aches and pains, it’s also a pretty effective hangover remedy. It’s been such a reliable savior on those mornings after a few too many cocktails that Alka-Seltzer even launched a whole new line of fizzy drop pellets called ‘Morning Relief,’ marketed specifically as a hangover cure.
Water. Lots of water.
When you drink, your body loses more water than it takes in, hence those frequent trips to the bathroom. Once you wake up the next morning (or afternoon), your body has worked to replenish all that lost hydration. Where does the replacement come from? Why, from your brain of course, which causes it to shrink as a result. Really think about that the next time you wake up with your head pounding. That’s the result of your body sucking all the available moisture from your now shriveled, dried-up brain.
It’s best to keep water as part of your partying routine, drinking a glass in between every cocktail. It helps metabolize the alcohol along the way, though it won’t do much for those frequent trips to the bathroom. While you’ll want to drink water after the hangover has set in the next morning, it probably won’t be enough to help you feel much better.
This is the kind of treatment that exists somewhere between homeopathic medicine and an old wives’ tale. However, some insist that soaking your feet in warm water before putting on a pair of cold, wet socks will help to increase your body’s circulation. It’s often applied to fight off the beginning stages of a cold, but was brought into notoriety as a hangover cure by Parks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson, who paired the remedy with a nice, pan-fried flank steak. Should you cook a steak while blitzed? No. Because you’re not Ron “F*cking” Swanson.
Hair of the dog.
This is the absolute last-ditch effort to be rid of your hangover and be able to get through your day. While we live in a society that has come to enable a ‘hair of the dog that bit me’ approach to hangovers — the Bloody Mary exists for a reason, after all — using alcohol to make yourself feel better may be the most effective, it may also prompt you to rethink some life decisions.
Either way — and this should be obvious, but worth stating anyway — the key is to not overdo it here. Unless you’re at brunch and intentionally drowning yourself in early-afternoon mimosas with reckless abandon, you don’t want to risk going through the first day of the new year reeking like the underside of a liquor-stained bar mat.