In middle school biology you may have learned that in wildlife all species need food, water, shelter and space for survival. Without any one of these, a species might die out or fail to have everything it needs to survive. What does that have to do with us as humans? Glad you asked. Have you ever had a tough night out on the town? Pre-gamed with some friends and went a little too hard? Sure, it’s all fun and games in the moment, but the next day a hangover can have you feeling like an endangered species trying to survive. You too can survive in the rough terrain of a hangover. All you really need is a little food, water, shelter and space.
When you wake up with a hangover you have to first acknowledge the fact that you’re awake. Understand that you aren’t dead and have made it through the night. Next, you have to realize that your brain is going to send all sorts of signals and messages to your body that tell it that you’ve made a mistake. You know this though. You will moan and groan and swear you are never going to drink again (we all know that’s a lie). But, once you pick yourself up from your misery, you must take action. One of the best things you can do is eat food. “When I first wake up I lie in bed for a while, then I get up, drink water and cook myself breakfast. I feel like the cooking and actually doing something takes away from the fact that I have a headache,” said University of Georgia student Raven Powell. At the state that your body is in, it needs proteins, starches and amino acids. You can get those from just about any set of foods. Once you eat, you’ll feel instantly better. Scout’s honor.
Let’s face it–if you’ve got a hangover that means you were extremely drunk the night before. As a matter of fact, you probably still are. Alcohol causes dehydration, which causes you to get thirsty. There’s absolutely nothing safer to drink when you’re thirsty than water. “I usually try to take some preventative measures before I indulge in a night of drinking, such as drinking water beforehand,” University of Georgia graduate Ryan Kelley. “The key to avoiding a hangover that keeps you out of commission for the day is to…get up early and get a cup of coffee and…eat a hearty breakfast.” No matter how tired you are of drinking it, water will help you out. Down the water with the same passion you downed those tequila sunrises and margaritas the night before.
When we say shelter, we don’t literally mean build a hut or something like that. What you do need, however, is a place where you can be away from the “outside” or the real world. When you have a hangover, the last thing you need is to be running errands or trying to shop and function in the real world. You need rest. The best way to get that rest is to sleep. Find your favorite spot in your home to chill and get comfy. Myth buster: your best sleep does not come when you’re intoxicated. When you are asleep while drunk, your body fails to go through all the necessary stages of sleep, and that is no bueno. Because you missed going through all the stages when you were supposed to, your body responds by lagging all day—just like a YouTube video that is perpetually buffering. Your body is going to need that rest back and the Grim Reaper of sleep will come for its victims whether you like it or not.
Space is essentially having the ability to do all the necessary activities needed to maintain your lifestyle. For example, you wouldn’t keep a lion trapped in a cage meant for your dog, would you? So don’t do the same for yourself when you’ve got a raging hangover. A hangover isn’t going to cure itself by being stuck at work or in the confines of a 200-person lecture hall. Actually, time does heal all, so it will eventually go away even if you do nothing, but recovering just by waiting it out sucks. You need space to get air, lie down and cry about how much life sucks. Space is an underrated concept and probably the least important of the four, but it’s a matter of comfort. Don’t make things worse for yourself than they already are. To endure a hangover, you have to accept the fact that your day is going to stink for a while. Give yourself some space and get out there again tomorrow.