The AnOther Guide to the Morning After

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Photography by Lucy Sparks

Celebrate with a little too much enthusiasm last night? With the aid of photographer Lucy Sparks, we're here to help you through

TextMaisie SkidmorePhotographyLucy SparksPhotographic EditorHolly Hay

Is a noteworthy occasion – a birthday, the eve of a new year, or an otherwise ordinary Thursday evening – really noteworthy at all until a party has been held in its name? We’d argue not, and yet the ruination which so often accompanies such revelry can sometimes be so difficult to navigate that it leaves you determined never to celebrate anything with alcohol ever again.

And so, onto the hangover cure, the miracle means of restoring your former vivacity in preparation for another day. While the finest methods are preventative – drinking a glass of water to every one of champagne, or avoiding drinking to excess at all – they aren’t always the most entertaining. Here, then, we present five means of overcoming morning-after misery, with accompanying visual instruction for those struggling with words.

1. Stock up

Something like the process which accompanies grief, there are many stages to a hangover, and at some point – how early or late in the day varies from person to person – hunger will be one of them. The curative capacity of a nourishing breakfast are proven; replacing lost vitamins and minerals will help to impede damage and fortify depleted reserves, even as the effects of alcohol are still kicking in. Revellers would be well-advised, therefore, to stock up on groceries before the night’s activities begin, from the essential ingredients for the favoured full English, to more niche preferences (see above image). Among medicine’s best-recommended cures: fruit juice, chicken noodle soup, bananas and leafy greens – anything, in fact, that’s low in artificial sugars and rich in vitamins, or simply of comfort for the soul.

2. Rehydrate

Rehydration is of paramount importance to the recovery process, and while water is the key ingredient in this, herbal teas, soft drinks, juices and broths work equally well. Coconut water or electrolyte-rich drinks are especially effective for restoring hydration levels, and in times of need can be mixed at home by dissolving a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water. Sip slowly throughout the day.

3. Apply a mask

The therapeutic qualities of a face mask are unparalleled as far as beauty remedies go, and never more necessary than when the skin is crying out for purification. We recommend Dr Sebagh’s Rose de Vie Hydrating Mask, which might have been tailor-made for the morning after. If your cosmetic cupboards are bare, then organic materials work just as well; in a pinch, try the archetypal slices of cucumber rested on the eyes, and marvel in the rich history which precedes you.

4. Hit the gym

If ever you’ve watched the gym sequence in Flashdance – a inspirational morning-after-medley of writhing, pumping, jumping and lifting, soundtracked by I Love Rock ’n’ Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – you’ll know exactly what we’re referring to when we call upon the incredible capacity of exercise to clear your head. Not only does getting up and moving your body stimulate the production of endorphins, whose feel-good effects are dulled by the presence of alcohol in the bloodstream, it also reminds you that there’s a world outside of your bedroom. Scientists recommend yoga and light aerobics rather than a high-intensity run. Don’t forget point #2.

5. If all else fails, turn to the small screen

When circumstances are particularly dire, neither exercise, beauty regimes nor feasting are an option. If the room around you is spinning, it’s wise to minimise movement; the flickering of pixels across a screen might be all you can handle. This is not unusual.

Cinematic solutions to the hangover are many and diverse, and while there’s no scientific evidence to prove the medicinal value of watching somebody else’s dramas unfurl and then resolve – many times over, if need be – much of the modern world swears by it nonetheless. We gently suggest something vaguely romantic and cheery rather than a gruesome murder, but to each their own.

This final point presents another potential aid, and it comes with its own time-honoured idiom: “the hair of the dog”. While drinking on a hangover won’t technically make its symptoms any easier to handle, it will help you to forget about them for a minute, which, from time to time, is all you need. Proceed with caution.