How To Sober Up From A Long Night And Survive The Next Morning

Some people swear that coffee, a cold shower, drugs, or a run-in with the cops will pull you right out of your intoxication and leave you totally sober.
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Publish date:
October 20, 2014
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alcohol, drinking, getting drunk, Sobering Up

I love drinking.

I know this may come as a shock to you, but I love “going out.” I love grabbing drinks with my friends, enjoying a great cocktail, and wobbling home at the end of a fun night. I’ve been bartending for a long time, and drinking for even longer, so I know my way around a good drink as well as a bad hangover.

When you hang around as many booze hounds as I do, you often hear a lot of tips and tricks about drinking, specifically, how to sober yourself up in a pinch. Some people swear that coffee, a cold shower, drugs, or a run-in with the cops will pull you right out of your intoxication and have you totally sober.

Not so.

As much as it pains me to say this, there is nothing you can do to magically sober up. Once the alcohol is in your system, you’re in it for the long haul. There is no way to un-drink everything you just drank, and no, even inducing vomiting won’t help since your body begins absorbing alcohol almost immediately. Plus, ew.

While I can’t help you reverse the effects of drinking, I can help you avoid a hangover. Look at it this way, if you can’t sober up in a flash, at least you don’t have to suffer the consequences of the night before for any longer than necessary.

Before we start, the thing to keep in mind is that your body can only metabolize about one standard drink per hour, meaning about 1.5 ounces of liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer. There’s no getting around that.

Also, the way people handle their liquor has a lot to do with their Blood Alcohol Concentration, or BAC. Basically, if I was to go out for a glass of wine with Channing Tatum, I would probably be feeling the wine a lot faster than he would, seeing as I’m 5’ 10” (5’ 7”) and barely clear 120 pounds, while he’s 6’ 1” and pure beef.

With all that out of the way, here are some tips that I go by that will allow me to party hard tonight without paying for it tomorrow. Maybe they’ll work for you, too.

First: Check yourself. I always ask myself, how much have I eaten? How much did I sleep the night before? Yo, these things are important. Every time that I’ve had a really bad night, it was because I had either not slept at all the night previous, hadn’t eaten dinner, or a combination of the two. Drinking while tired and hungry will stomp you out of the game faster than anything, guaranteed.

Know how your body reacts to different drinks. I’m not saying different alcohols metabolize differently -- they don’t. Booze is booze. One thing is for certain though: Dark liquors give you worse hangovers because they contain more toxic chemicals created during their fermentation process than clear liquors. Because of this, I had to switch from my beloved whiskey & Coke back to vodka sodas, because even when I didn’t have that much whiskey the night before, those hangovers were not playing around. With clear liquor, I can go out, turn up, and wake up in the morning feeling like a fresh little tulip.

Some people get crazy on tequila. Some people get mean on whiskey. People are weird and so is alcohol. Just know what works (and doesn't work) for you. Wanna see me get really uncute? Hand me a glass of champagne.

Oh, and speaking of Coke (a-cola…) diet soda gets you drunker faster, so be careful. And no, that’s not just a college bar myth. The artificial sweeteners in diet soda accelerate the absorption of alcohol, and in studies, men and women who drank vodka and with diet soda had a BAC that was 18% higher than those that drank regular soda. That’s like, a lot higher, if you ask me.

I know I sound like your friend’s weird mom when I say this, but don’t forget to drink water. Drinking water is such a drag, especially when you’ve got an actual drink in your hand, but if you keep yourself hydrated, you’re going to feel way better at the end of the night, as well as the next morning. Balance out every boozy beverage you have with a glass of water. And don’t be an asshole, tip your bartender for pouring you water. Tip for everything. Tip like Rihanna.

Um, hmm, what else? Oh yea.

Shots: Don’t do them.

Just kidding, do them. Just realize that now you’re playing with fire. Alcohol is nothing to mess with, man.

Especially bomb shots, or a liquor paired with an energy drink. Giiiiiirl. They don’t actually get you drunker faster, as many people will tell you, but the caffeine from the energy drink masks the sedative effect of alcohol, making you think and feel that you can drink more for longer. Also, you’re mixing an upper with a downer. Let’s not.

Smoking makes hangovers worse. I’ve said it before -- I am an impressionable tween so yes, I do think smoking looks cool, but probably just don’t do it.

So, you got through your night. You made it home safe, and now you’re ready to crash. Before you do, chug a glass of water (or two). You'll be thanking yourself in the morning.

Drunk food is the way that we know that there is a God and that she is smiling down upon us. I’ve heard and read that eating before you pass out doesn’t have anything to do with curbing your hangover, but whoever told you that lied. With drunk food, the answer is always yes. Order the pizza. Demolish that burrito.

It’s such a magical feeling when you open your fridge and see that the Pizza Fairy paid you a visit the night before. On such occasions, I always feel top notch, because eating part of (all of) an extra-large pizza at night is the best way to ensure you feel your best the following morning.

So you wake up and you’re feeling wobbly. What do you do?

This is when a choir of all my friends sings out in unison: “Drink more!”

And they have a point. But, if you’re looking to actually feel better instead of just masking your hangover with a little hair of the dog, keep reading.

First, drink more water. Just keep drinking water.

I know your first instinct is to reach for the coffee, but hold that thought. Caffeine is a diuretic, and so is alcohol, so it’s going do dehydrate you more, making you feel worse.

Instead, grab a coconut water. Coconut water is a great way to rehydrate and replenish your electrolytes, making you feel better quicker. Gatorade only contains two electrolytes, but coconut water contains five, the same five found in human blood! I’ll admit I’m not that fond of it. Coconut water tastes like bees, but it really does work wonders. And Rihanna was the face of Vita Coco, which is the key takeaway from this article.

Finally, eat something. Getting anything in your stomach is a great start, but if you’re looking for a real hangover hack, have a banana. Drinking robs your body of potassium like a thief in the night, leading to fatigue, headaches, weakness, and body aches. Bananas are obviously high in potassium, so eat one of those on your road to recovery. I personally rarely eat bananas when I’m hungover because why would I do that when I have the rest of that large pizza? I’m just saying.

Anyway, remember: Alcohol can literally kill you so like, drink responsibly. No one has ever regretted passing on that last drink. And don't ever drink and drive. I have done literally EVERY STUPID THING YOU CAN DO while drinking, but I've never gotten behind the wheel and you shouldn't either.

Let's tell fun drunk stories in the comments.

Tynan is drunk on Twitter @TynanBuck.