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Many of us can relate to the struggle of waking up with a brutal hangover the morning after a post-workday happy hour session, which was more like five hours, but who’s counting at this point? Besides, all of the extra math from calculating how long you were out last night is more than a little taxing on you. The room is spinning; you frantically roll over in bed to shut off your phone as it blasts that horrible alarm you completely regret choosing; and you’re overcome with horror as you realize that today is Wednesday. You let out your favourite expletives in a half-grunt, half-whine that resemble the sound effects from a 1970s slasher horror flick.

You realize that you have to get yourself together and somehow make it into work today. You ponder your favourite hangover “go-to”s that you’re sure will cure it for you. A black coffee, a greasy breakfast to “absorb all of the alcohol left in your system”, and your quirky great-uncle’s secret recipe for hangover killing juice that’s been in the family for years are on the list. Now I hate to be the “you must be fun at parties” kind of girl, but I have some bad news for you. Your hangover remedies probably aren’t going to make you feel better in the way that you want them to.

Before I get into why these aren’t the best hangover killers and which ones are, let’s first understand how excessive amounts of alcohol affect your body. First, alcohol is a diuretic, which in real-world speak means that it makes you pee…a lot. Before you start cursing yourself for “breaking the seal” last night and beating yourself up for peeing out all of your body’s water, don’t bother because this idea is incorrect. That’s a whole different can of worms for another day though, and we’ll keep our discussion simple because the room still feels like a carousel from hell to you and I’m not the Nurse Ratchet type. So, because you’re peeing out so much water when you drink a lot of booze, you very easily become dehydrated, which will most definitely make you feel dizzy, sick to your stomach, tired, and generally awful. Sound familiar? Next, especially if you’ve been puking your guts out from a night of “two dollar-Tuesdays cocktails special”, you’re likely going to have some out-of-whack electrolytes in your blood stream. Other issues that a night of heavy drinking will cause include your stomach-lining tissues becoming irritated, low blood sugar, and a pretty big disruption in your body’s ability to sleep properly.

Still with me? Good. So to fight your hangover, you were thinking coffee, a big greasy breakfast, and uncle Jo-Jo’s magic hangover remedy juice. Well, the coffee might give you a caffeine boost and make you feel slightly more awake, but it won’t last very long, and once the caffeine wears off your sleepiness will catch up to you surprisingly fast. Rather than a heavy, meaty, greasy breakfast, opt for something light and easy to digest. Reach for a banana and some toast instead, your low blood sugar, irritated stomach, and out-of-whack electrolytes will thank you. Now, depending on what your zany great-uncle likes to put in his mildly suspicious anti-hangover juice, you’re always much better off just opting for water. While a fruit juice concoction can be good for your low blood sugar and electrolyte situation, they can often be filling, which can turn you off of getting the correct amount of water that your body needs to catch up to what you lost.

Ultimately, the best hangover cure is time, as well as the obvious of avoiding the hangover altogether by opting for something without alcohol! However, we’re all human and sometimes there’s nothing quite as relaxing as a nice cool drink at one of Toronto’s many fantastic rooftop patios. However, in order to keep yourself healthy, make sure to have no more than two drinks in one evening with a maximum of ten drinks per week if you’re a woman, and no more than three drinks in one evening with a maximum of fifteen drinks per week if you’re a man. When you’re out, make sure to drink slowly, have a glass of water after you finish your drink (your future self will thank you), and eat something before you go out for drinks. Read more about mental health and addiction regarding alcohol abuse to be sure you are consuming responsibly.

Read this great source for information about alcohol.

Kristen is a nurse living in the GTA. When she isn't busy working in the hospital, she can be found scouring the streets of Toronto for new and delicious eats, style hunting from Kensington Market to Queen Street, or twisting and bending in many of Toronto’s finest group fitness classes. From health and wellness to nightlife and adventure, she’s all about it.

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