If you’ve ever had one too many drinks, you know what it’s like to wake up with a raging hangover.
You stumble out of bed and push yourself to your feet.
Annoying feeling. It’s not going to be a good day.
And everyone you talk to says the same thing.
“Just take a shower. You’ll feel better after taking a shower.”
Everyone seems to know a traditional cure for hangovers, and taking a shower seems to be a really common solution.
But does it really help? Or is this just old-fashioned superstition?
Read on if you want to find out.
What Happens During A Hangover?
Hangovers take effect hours after you drink. They’re slow and creep up on you. People only notice after they wake up the next morning because that’s when many different problems have come together and compounded onto each other.
Firstly, alcohol ruins your sleep. It ruins your rhythm. Sure, it can put you to sleep.
But it ruins your sleep quality. How? By reducing the amount of rapid eye movement you get. So you wake up feeling unrested no matter how much you sleep. So the moment you wake up, you’ve also had very little sleep. Which makes it harder for your body to regulate its temperature and hormones. This reduces your core temperature and makes you cold all day.
Second, all alcohol you drink is converted into acetaldehyde. This stuff is really dangerous in high quantities.
Third, you’re probably dehydrated. Alcohol is a famous diuretic. It makes you pass away a ton of fluid. And the more fluid you lose, the more electrolytes you lose
So what does this all mean?
You’re thirsty, cold, groggy and your body wants nothing more than to shut down and heal itself. Enter the hangover.
How Do Showers Help?
So many people seem to think that showers, or cold showers, in particular, are a good home remedy for hangovers.
Cold showers are supposed to make you feel awake and alert. They increase your blood circulation. So in theory, it’s supposed to help your body get rid of its toxins faster.
Sounds reasonable, right?
The thing is, most researchers disagree. A cold shower can become an extra stressful thing for your body to endure.
Alcohol actually reduces your body’s ability to regulate its temperature. So even if the water is too cold, you might not be able to feel it! This is incredibly dangerous! And not advised.
But what about a warm shower? Well, some people think this is where the idea of showers being good for hangovers even started.
Since alcohol makes it hard to regulate your temperature, a nice warm (not hot) bath allows your body to warm up and relax.
Warm water creates a positive impact on your body. But it’s mostly the gentle warming effect of a shower that makes people feel better. The warmth of a shower might help undo the constriction, leading to lesser headaches.
Most people aren’t known for making responsible and intelligent decisions when they’re drunk. When you’re in a hangover, you’re in a fragile state. You do not want to experiment with high and low temperatures. But as long as you stick with a lukewarm shower, you should be okay.
The only real solution for a hangover is to wait it out.
Most people have a hard time doing this. So sitting in a lukewarm bath or taking a lukewarm shower can help keep you warm until your body works its magic and returns everything to normal. If you can’t or don’t want to shower, wrapping yourself in a blanket also does the trick. Falling asleep in the tub can be dangerous so using a hot blanket can be a better option.
Many people think of showers as a simple, traditional remedy for a hangover. This is not based on research, and can be wrong.
Cold showers are an absolute no-no, but gentle and warm showers can help you pass the time until your body calms itself.
In truth, there’s no real solution for a hangover. Your body and brain need time to heal. So make sure you eat healthy, get some electrolytes (Bananas are good for this), drink water, and try to sleep. This is the only real way to cure your hangover.
It takes 8-24 hours to see an improvement in hangover symptoms. Your body has to clean up a lot of toxins and needs time to return things to normal.
So if you can’t cure hangovers, can you at least prevent, or maybe minimize them? Sure.
Don’t drink. There are a lot of alcohol-free options nowadays that taste perfectly fine. Or if you do, make sure you eat a lot of food before you drink. Space out your drinks, giving your liver an hour in-between each drink. Have a full glass of water between each drink. Hydrate yourself well in advance so you can prevent headaches and nausea at least.
If you follow all of these steps, you should be able to minimize the harmful effects of alcohol until they’re much more tolerable.