Does Drinking More Alcohol Really Cure A Hangover?

When the headaches, nausea, and overwhelming sense of regret that accompany a hangover kick in, you might be tempted to reach for any remedy that promises some relief. Many people swear by the "hair of the dog" remedy — that is, drinking more alcohol the morning after to lessen unpleasant symptoms. But does it really work, or is it just an excuse to have a mimosa?

As it turns out, there's a scientific reason why having a drink the next morning can make you feel better. Alcohol affects the production and reabsorption of several chemicals in the brain. In particular, it inhibits glutamate, a major excitatory neurotransmitter, which leads to the relaxed feeling you get after a drink or two (via The Scripps Research Institute). However, according to WebMD, the excess glutamate in your brain after a night of drinking also may be at fault for the fatigue, headaches, irritability, and nausea of the morning after.

What's the best way to get rid of a hangover?

Even though having a drink the following morning will alleviate some hangover symptoms, it only staves off the inevitable. Worse yet, it encourages a potentially dangerous cycle (via Harvard Health Publishing). The National Health Service UK recommends waiting at least 48 hours after heavy drinking to indulge again so that your body has ample time to recover.

If you're still suffering though, don't worry — there are plenty of other hangover remedies that don't have long-term drawbacks. According to Healthline, dehydration can worsen a number of nasty hangover symptoms, like dizziness, headache, and exhaustion.

There are some supplements that have been tested for their effect on hangover symptoms. These include eleuthero (Siberian ginseng), prickly pear, ginger, red ginseng, and borage oil (via Healthline). It's also important to get a good night's sleep and a solid breakfast, which can help replenish nutrients that are depleted when drinking.

While these remedies may help, nothing really cures a hangover but time. Try to avoid feeling ill by limiting your alcohol consumption and alternating each beverage with a glass of water.