by Dr. Amy Shah
Maybe it was your birthday. Or your best friend’s birthday. Or a birthday at the table next to you at dinner. Whatever the reason—or no real reason…we’ve all been there—you overdid it. You ate too much. You drank too much. Or maybe both.
One thing’s for sure, hating yourself or your body is counterproductive. There’s no need. Save this post for a time like this so that you can maximize recovery over the next 24 hours. By the next morning, you’ll be feeling great again.
- Drink water upon waking.
Timing: 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Drink water immediately and consistently throughout the day.
Whether you drank too much or ate too much, water is your best friend today. Not only is water the best thing to flush toxins out of your system, one of the biggest factors of that hung-over feeling after overdoing is dehydration—the likely culprit behind nausea, headache, and bloat.
Dehydration isn’t just lack of water but loss of electrolytes. First thing in the morning, drink warm water with apple cider vinegar and a touch of sea salt. The warm water is easy on your digestion, the ACV will regulate your insulin levels, and the sea salt will replenish electrolytes better than a sugary sports drink.
Also note that I typically advise people to wake up within one or two hours of their normal wake time. Even if you didn’t get a ton of sleep the night before, this will set you up for a better night tonight of rest and provide replenished energy for tomorrow.
- Have your first meal, but wait 12 hours from when you last ate.
Timing: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Do an intermittent fast at least 12 hours from your last bite.
You want to do everything you can to help your gut recover, and giving it a period of rest and rejuvenation is crucial. Intermittent fasting also reduces inflammation and bloating.
When you do have your first meal, choose something broth-based if possible. It’s an age-old treatment, and I’ve noticed it helps my patients who see me for bloating issues. For example, a soup with sea vegetables like seaweed, kelp, and mushrooms is an excellent choice.
- Mind your vitamin Bs, Cs, and Ds.
Timing: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Vitamins B, C, and D are all effective hangover cures, aiding detoxification and restoring blood sugar stasis. They can be taken in the form of vitamins or individual foods, like leafy greens for vitamin B or mushrooms for vitamin D.
- Eat a cooked (non-raw) veggie-rich meal.
Timing: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
If you didn’t have a broth-based soup for breakfast, now’s an excellent time. Broth eases digestion and calms the body. Another great option? Cooked veggies are easy to digest and full of nutrients like potassium and other electrolytes. Avoid raw veggies today, as they can be hard to digest and can create even more bloat.
- Do yoga or take a nap.
Timing: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
No matter how you overdid it last night, your body is stressed and exhausted and desperately wants to get back to equilibrium.
If you have the energy, yoga calms the mind and central nervous system, and many postures aid with detoxifying organs and moving stuck energy. If you don’t have the wherewithal for yoga, lie down, even if it’s just for 20 minutes, and allow your body rejuvenate and heal.
- Sooth your digestion with spicy tea.
Timing: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Warming spices like cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, and ginger stimulate digestion, relax digestion, and ease nausea. Also, just the process of sitting with a warm cup of tea is mentally and emotionally pacifying.
- Finish off a light meal with berries.
Timing: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Have another light meal including protein, cooked veggies, or nuts. Finish off the meal with berries—especially dark berries like blueberries or acai. Berries are low in sugar but sweet and satisfying. Packed with antioxidants, they help restore a compromised immune system.
- Go to sleep! (Actually, though.)
Timing: 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
This doesn’t mean scroll through Instagram for a half-hour while you get ready for bed. Shut your phone down and actually hit the sheets. An early night and at least eight hours of sleep (if not nine or 10) may be the best medicine to help your body offset inflammation and a stressed digestion.
Tomorrow is a new day. If you follow my guide to recovery, you should feel good as new—waking up and energized for a new day!
Want to try a few more things? Here’s Dr. Shah’s 24-hour guide to busting bloat, plus her take on why summer is the best time to lose weight.