How to Cure a Hangover Fast

Reviewed on 2/9/2022
Hungover man lying on a couch with a beer bottle
Home remedies that may help ease symptoms of a hangover include drinking plenty of fluids, eating foods with carbohydrates, drinking coffee or tea, B vitamins and zinc, avoiding darker-colored alcoholic beverages, taking an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever, and drinking a little more alcohol (“Hair of the dog”).

A hangover is a set of symptoms that are a mild form of alcohol withdrawal that occur after drinking too much. 

There is no set number of drinks that will cause a hangover. Everyone is different, but any time a person becomes intoxicated from alcohol, a hangover is possible. 

There really is no way to cure a hangover fast. The only real cure for a hangover is time. 

There are many remedies that claim to cure a hangover, but there is no scientific evidence that any of them work. The body needs to clear the toxic byproducts of alcohol metabolism, to rehydrate, to restore irritated tissue, and to return the immune system and brain activity to normal.

7 Hangover Home Remedies

However, while a hangover takes time to go away, there are some home remedies that may help ease symptoms. These include: 

  • Drinking plenty of fluids
    • Alcohol can dehydrate you, so water or sports drinks can help restore fluid balance
  • Eat foods with carbohydrates
    • Alcohol can lower blood sugar levels, so the body may be low on “fuel”
    • People also often don’t eat enough when they drink which can lower blood sugar even more
    • Toast and juice are a good choice
  • Drink coffee or tea
    • These don’t technically help with the hangover but the caffeine may help with grogginess
  • B vitamins and zinc
    • One small study found that people whose ate and drank foods and beverages with greater amounts of B vitamins and zinc had less severe hangovers
  • Avoiding darker-colored alcoholic beverages
    • This may help a little with prevention
    • Clear liquors, such as vodka and gin, don’t tend to cause hangovers as frequently as dark liquors, such as whiskey, red wine, and tequila
  • Take an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever 
    • This may help with headache and body aches
    • Avoid acetaminophen (Tylenol) because any alcohol remaining in your system may add to acetaminophen's toxic effects on the liver
    • Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) may be better choices, but they can increase acid production and worsen stomach irritation caused by drinking 
  • “Hair of the dog”
    • Involves drinking a little more alcohol to ease symptoms of alcohol withdrawal
    • It may work to minimize symptoms for a short time but it really doesn’t allow the body to recover properly

What Are Symptoms of a Hangover?

Symptoms of a hangover occur after drinking too much, can vary from person to person, can last 24 hours or longer, and may include: 

Other consequences of a hangover can be dangerous, including: 

  • Impaired attention, decision-making, and muscle coordination 
  • Impaired ability to perform important tasks, such as driving, operating machinery, or caring for others

What Causes a Hangover?

Drinking too much alcohol causes hangovers. Factors that can contribute to developing hangovers include:

  • Dehydration
  • Problems sleeping
    • Though people who are drunk may fall asleep faster, sleep is disrupted and they often wake up earlier 
  • Gastrointestinal irritation
  • Inflammation
  • Acetaldehyde exposure
    • Alcohol is primarily metabolized by the liver, which creates the compound acetaldehyde, a toxic, short-lived byproduct, that contributes to inflammation in the liver, pancreas, brain, gastrointestinal tract, and other organs
  • Mini-withdrawal
    • People may feel relaxed and happy when drunk, but when the buzz wears off, restlessness and anxiety can occur

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Reviewed on 2/9/2022
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