A pounding head, churning stomach and a mouth drier than the Sahara — what were you thinking last night?
You were having fun, not thinking, and now you're paying for it. It's bad enough waking up and cringing as you recall drunkenly belting out "Material Girl" at the karaoke bar — but having to cope with a horrific hangover as well is enough to send even the bravest of souls back under the duvet.
There are no miracle cures for the after-effects of alcohol, but don't despair — there are a few things you can do to get on the path to recovery without resorting to a big, greasy breakfast. Check out this morning-after action plan.
1. Drink lots of water
When you wake up feeling parched after a drinking session, follow that instinct to gulp lots of water. It will help rehydrate your body. Juice will do this even faster, but go easy on it if you're concerned about calories. Forget "hair of the dog" tactics — more booze will just make things worse (and chip away at your SmartPoints budget). Try an over-the-counter pain medication to help ease your headache. (Choose wisely: Most physicians advise against products that contain acetaminophen.)
2. Forget the pizza
Contrary to popular opinion, there's absolutely no proof that wolfing down half a greasy pizza will cure a hangover. A little food can help refuel your body, however, and food containing fat can soothe your stomach — which is why egg yolks, bouillon and milk are common ingredients in many folk remedies for hangovers. But go easy on solid foods until you feel a bit better.
3. Go for a walk
Any form of exercise will probably sound about as appealing as letting someone jump up and down on your head. But while no one is suggesting a full-on aerobics session, a gentle walk might be just what the doctor ordered.
As Frankie Robinson, RD, explains: "Strenuous exercise isn't a good idea because it will add to feelings of dehydration. But a walk is a good way of getting some fresh air and gentle exercise."
4. Stay in bed
One of the best hangover remedies is to crawl back into bed for a couple of extra hours' sleep. Ultimately, only time will "cure" your hangover, but rest can help!