5 Science-Backed Ways to Beat the Hangxiety and Rebuild Your Mental Energy After a Night of Drinking

POV: The gang is finally back together, and before you know it you’re one margarita, two margaritas, three margaritas deep. When the good times are rolling, boozing—which can mean a morning-after hangxiety session—can also be on the merry way. You know, that dreaded anxious and depressed feeling the morning after a lively bender? Hangxiety is all too real, and health experts agree.

But why something that makes you happy (even for a little while), makes you feel bad so bad after that? According to Uma Naidoo, MD, a Harvard-trained nutritional psychiatrist and the author of a forthcoming book, Calm Your Mind With Food, it’s simple: alcohol works as a central nervous system depressant that can have both long-term and short-term effects. First, Dr. investigates. The short-term effects of hangxiety, and ways to reduce its symptoms in the morning after a long night, are discussed.


Experts In This Article

  • Uma Naidoo, MD, Harvard-trained nutritional psychiatrist, professional chef, and nutritional biologist

What is hangxiety?

According to Dr. Naidoo, hangxiety is the phenomenon of feeling increased anxiety after heavy drinking, often accompanied by other hangover symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, and irritability. “Alcohol works on the brain as a central nervous system depressant. That is, it works by slowing down our brain activity, so it’s common for some people to reach for alcohol when feeling anxious or needy. a sleep aid,” he says. On the other hand, however, when the sedative effect wears off, so do these feelings of calm and relaxation, which can also increase feelings of anxiety.

In addition to the psychological effect, hangxiety can also have feelings of anxiety, heart palpitations, excessive sweating, and dehydration, which are physiological reactions to drinking alcohol. Remember, the more alcohol consumed, the more intense the hangxiety and accompanying effects are likely to be.

“Alcohol works on the brain as a central nervous system depressant. That is, it works by slowing down the activity of our brain, which is why it is common for some people to reach for alcohol when they feel anxious or need help with falling asleep,”
—Uma Naidoo, MD, nutritional psychiatrist

5 ways to relieve hangxiety before it fully creeps up

Although the only truly foolproof way to prevent hangxiety is to avoid drinking alcohol, Dr. Naidoo has ways to help reduce symptoms nothing cold turkey. “It’s comforting to note that the anxiety associated with alcohol withdrawal is temporary [in most cases]but there are tools you can use to ease the symptoms,” he says.

1. Rehydrate ASAP

First and foremost, said Dr. It turns out that because alcohol is so dehydrating—and dehydration is one of the major players in feelings of anxiety—it’s extremely important to rehydrate as soon as possible after a drinking event. “It’s very important to make sure you’re hydrating with plenty of water, electrolytes, and hydrating fruits and vegetables the day after drinking alcohol to help clear up any anxious thoughts,” she says.

Looking for something to calm down and hydrating? Dr. recommends Sip relaxing herbal teas, such as chamomile, lavender, or passionflower. Or, coffee—if you can stomach it after drinking—which is full of polyphenols, which act as antioxidants.

2. Sip drinks rich in L-theanine

In addition to adequate hydrating, Dr. There are certain foods and drinks that can help ease the symptoms of hangxiety. From a beverage perspective, her go-tos include green or black tea because of their L-theanine content, an amino acid that has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety levels. Additionally, he says that the caffeine content in these teas can also help maintain energy levels during the day after drinking alcohol.

3. Eat gut-friendly, fermented foods and fiber-rich foods

From a food perspective, Dr. Naidoo fermented foods like plain, unsweetened whole-milk Greek yogurt (topped with berries and a sprinkle of cinnamon for some sweetness and an extra antioxidant boost) are a great choice.

While a late-night dinner delivery service may seem like a good idea at the time, fried or overly sugary foods may not be as helpful for easing hangxiety. “These foods may initially feel palatable but are drivers of inflammation in the gut and brain that can further exacerbate symptoms,” says the nutritional psychiatrist. The best hangover brain food from the range of Dr. Naidoo includes: a batch of air fryer zucchini fries or a homemade burger (beef, turkey, salmon, tofu, or veggie).

In addition to fermented foods, Dr. Packed with fiber-rich plant foods that help reduce inflammation, packed with vitamins and minerals. “B vitamins, in particular, are important for making it through a hangover because drinking alcohol is associated with B vitamin deficiency as well as increased stress and low mood, and some B vitamins helps to metabolize alcohol more quickly,” says Dr. Naidoo Foods rich in B vitamins include eggs, nuts and seeds, whole grains, leafy greens, and dairy products.

Pro tip: Dr. suggests It’s a good idea to prepare your “drunks” ahead of time and leave them in your fridge, so they’re ready to go, saving you from buying a more expensive take out order and potentially a less healthy option. Or “pregaming” with a meal full of lots of vegetables and fiber-rich protein that can reduce the effects of alcohol (and subsequent hangxiety). “Research has found that fiber and protein also help keep the stomach full and reduce the body’s ability to absorb alcohol,” says Dr. Naidoo

4. Get at least 10 minutes of sunlight

Having a breathing exercise, practicing mindfulness, and spending at least 10 minutes in the sunlight are three easy ways Dr. Naidoo may help manage your hangxiety symptoms. “All of these habits help to lower stress on your body and brain and help calm the mind,” he says.

5. Put it to sleep

When in doubt, Dr. Naidoo go to sleep. “If you’re well-rested, simply taking it to sleep can be beneficial. After a night of drinking, it will allow your mind to return to its healthier state most effectively and help reduce the inflammation that comes from anxiety.”

An RD settles the wine vs. champagne debate:

The


Well+Good articles refer to scientific, reliable, recent, solid studies to back up the information we share. You can trust us on your health journey.

  1. Williams, Jackson L et al. The Effects of Green Tea Amino Acid L-Theanine Consumption on the Ability to Manage Stress and Anxiety Levels: a Systematic Review.Plant foods for human nutrition (Dordrecht, Netherlands)vol. 75,1 (2020): 12-23. doi:10.1007/s11130-019-00771-5

  2. Patton, Alex. Alcohol in the body.BMJ (Clinical research ed.)vol. 330,7482 (2005): 85-7. doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7482.85


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