Can Coffee Help Cure a Hangover?

On a typical morning, you may instinctively reach for a cup of coffee to provide a caffeine boost. However, after a night of… well, let’s just say overindulging in a few adult beverages… you’re likely to feel the need for that cup of coffee.

However, here’s the deal: That java juice may not be as effective as you believe at alleviating the effects of a hangover — in fact, it may exacerbate some of your symptoms.

James Roach, DO, an emergency medicine physician, explains.

Hangover etiquette
Alcohol has a tendency to leave toxic imprints on your body following a wild evening. Whether you prefer beer, wine, or a variety of spirits, your internal system will alert you if you have overindulged.

A headache, nausea, dry mouth, and fatigue — all of these symptoms are associated with alcohol’s morning-after residue.

There are several possible causes of the icky sensation, but the primary culprit is dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it causes you to pee more frequently. Each time you visit the restroom, the fluid you lose pushes your body’s tank towards empty.

To compound the problem, alcohol consumption inhibits the release of an antidiuretic hormone (vasopressin), which is responsible for maintaining your body’s hydration levels in balance.

Is coffee beneficial for hangovers?
Therefore, if you are dehydrated, drinking coffee should assist you, correct? Not precisely.

Additionally, coffee is a diuretic, causing you to urinate more frequently — which means it will be ineffective at replenishing your depleted reserves. “Drinking coffee may actually retard the process of rehydration,” Dr. Roach notes.

Caffeine in coffee may also aggravate your hangover headache. Caffeine constricts blood vessels and elevates blood pressure, which may exacerbate the painful pounding inside your skull.

Of course, if you’re accustomed to a morning coffee fix and skip it, you risk suffering from caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, if coffee is a part of your daily routine, you may want to have a small cup — but not too much, Dr. Roach advises.

Can coffee serve as an aphrodisiac?
Forget what you’ve seen in movies about quickly regaining your composure with a strong cup of coffee. It cannot undo the effects of a night of inebriation. “The beverage is made with coffee beans, not magic beans,” Dr. Roach explains.

While caffeine’s pick-me-up effect may provide a temporary boost in energy and alertness, coffee has no ability to make you less inebriated.

What should you drink if you’re suffering from a hangover?
To begin, let us be clear: There is no guaranteed cure for a hangover. “There are numerous claims of miracle cures,” Dr. Roach notes, “but they are about as real as a leprechaun riding a unicorn.”

So, what are your options? The most obvious way to avoid a hangover is to simply limit your alcohol consumption.

However, if you’re reading this article, it’s possible that you’ve reached the point where closing your bar tab early is no longer a viable option. Dr. Roach recommends keeping it simple with water in this case.

“Drink a glass before bed and another when you wake up,” he advises.

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