time heals all wounds.

So, you went out last night and tore yourself up.  You were on top of the world, the king of all you surveyed, drinking and generally making a fool of yourself. Good for you!  This is important therapy for coping with our complicated high-stress world, and I reccommend it heartily.
This morning (or this afternoon) you 've woken up feeling like you're made of wax.  Your brain is all moldy, your whole body could crumble to bits at any moment, and you can only lie around praying for relief.  What do you do?
OK, relax. No one has ever died from a hangover (although I've prayed for death a few times). There's a few things to keep in mind, though, that will help you along the path of righteousness and (temporary) well-being.
A hangover is a biochemical problem, a temporary self-inflicted disease.  Like any other disease, there are causative factors that can be addressed to eradicate the disease process.
Several things are adding up to your discomfort.
  • You're tired.  Alcohol is both a depressant and a stimulant, so if you're raging and raising hell with your friends, you may stay up longer and stress your body harder than is sensible.
  • You're dehydrated.  Alcohol is a diuretic (it makes you pee), and your body uses a lot of water metabolizing the alcohol you've consumed. Most people are slightly dehydrated, so this extra burden may push you over the edge into a real problem.  The hangover headache is thought to be caused by your brain actually rubbing against its protective membranes.
  • You're toxic.  Alcohol is broken down into an aldehyde compound which circulates until your body gets rid of it.
  • Your gut is wrecked. Alcohol is a gut irritant, as evidenced by the classic hangover crap we all know and hate (your neighbors may have even noticed your Sunday morning ritual).
So, here's what you should be doing to take the hell out of 'hello' the next morning.
  • You're tired.  Nothing helps that but rest.  Try to avoid mental & physical exertion- don't make any important decisions when you're hungover.  If you really tore it up last night, you might even still be legally drunk, so stay away from heavy machinery unless you're sure you can function properly. That includes driving.
  • You're dehydrated.  Experienced tavernauts drink a lot of water before hitting the hay, and it's a good idea.  It's not too late in the morning, though, so get all the fluid down that you can hold.  Water works, but Gatorade replaces electrolyes.  Fruit juice adds some food value, and coffee will help you pee out some toxins, but stay away from the hair of the dog.
  • You're toxic.  Do everything you can to flush yourself out- pee, crap, sweat, everything that comes out of you takes some toxins with it (EVERYTHING, if you follow me).  If at any time you feel like puking, puke and get it over with- you'll feel better right away. Drinking lots of water helps with the flushing as well as fixing the dehydration.
  • Your gut is wrecked.  I like to wolf down a greasy burrito or a burger.  It's the worst thing you can imagine eating, but you'll feel better immediately afterward.  Trust me- get something into your gut that will keep it busy for a while.  A salad or a bowl of rice won't do it.
  • If you go for over-the-counter pain meds, go with good old aspirin.  It soothes the headache and also reduces inflammation in your tortured gut.
All these things help, but you'll still have to get through a little suffering.  It's the price you're paying for the fun you had last night. When I feel like death, I like to reflect on all the fun I've had while I was out earning the next big hangover.  It makes it all seem worthwhile (sort of).
You might want to print this out and leave it on your nightstand for next time.

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