If you have ever woken up with a hangover (and most of us have), you were probably willing to try just about anything to get some relief. Unfortunately, the only true cure for a hangover is time. But what if we told you coffee can help, too?
It seems so simple, but coffee really does help, especially when paired with a painkiller like ibuprofen. This article explains how and why coffee helps reduce hangover symptoms by looking at how it reacts with your body. What we found may surprise you!
Coffee just might be your hangover’s new best friend
Coffee goes well with a hangover, but it may not be for the reasons you suspect. It doesn’t sober you up or decrease the effects of alcohol in any way, as is often portrayed in movies and television. Instead, coffee works in other ways to help banish your headache and bring you back to life. Let’s look at a few ways coffee can affect your hangover.
Coffee contains adenosine, adrenaline, and caffeine. All these chemicals contribute to increased alertness and focus, both of which you desperately need when hungover. Simply put, coffee will wake you up even when you’re struggling to get out of bed and function. However, if you plan on taking a nap to try and sleep off the hangover, drink only a small amount of coffee so it doesn’t keep you up.
If you normally drink coffee on a daily basis, we don’t recommend skipping a day due to a hangover because it could bring about, or lengthen and intensify, your probable headache. Instead of compounding your symptoms from the hangover, it is best to consume at least a small amount of coffee before caffeine withdrawal makes it worse.
The caffeine in coffee stimulates your metabolism and makes you hungry. When you’re feeling queasy, a side effect commonly associated with hangovers, you will take all the help you can get when it comes to keeping food down. Eating will also provide your body with the fuel and energy it needs to complete the recovery process.
At least one study has shown that caffeine paired with an anti-inflammatory can help alleviate hangover symptoms. The caffeine combination blocks the acetate produced by alcohol, relieving headaches and other hangover symptoms.
However, it should be noted that the effects wear off as soon as you fully metabolize the caffeine. In about four to six hours, you’ve metabolized half the caffeine, and it can take as long as ten or twelve hours to fully metabolize, depending on your age, weight, biological sex, whether or not you are a smoker, and more.
Wait, isn’t coffee a diuretic?
Dehydration is a major side effect of alcohol consumption, so an easy way to feel better is to drink plenty of water. Luckily, according to the medical professionals at the Mayo Clinic, caffeinated drinks are only a mild form of diuretic and do not increase your risk for dehydration, even if they make you need to urinate more frequently. A 2014 UK study of men who regularly drank coffee also helps confirm this opinion. The diuretic properties of coffee are so low that most people experience very minimal effects if any.
The Bottom Line
While there may not be a sure-fire cure for hangovers yet, coffee and ibuprofen can definitely relieve some of your symptoms while you wait it out. Of course, always pay attention to the way your body specifically responds to coffee during a hangover and consume accordingly. Not everyone responds in the same way, and while it may be a miracle worker for some, others may not experience any relief or even feel worse after drinking coffee with a hangover.
Next time you’re feeling hungover or a bit off from drinking the night before, try drinking some coffee. If you are like most, coffee will help cure your headache by making you feel more alert and focused, help you feel hungry so you can start eating, and relieve your headache.