5 science-backed ways to reduce anxiety 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, so can the booze – which could mean that post-morning anxiety session is on its merry way. You know, that horrible anxious and depressed feeling the morning after Daring drunker? The panic is very real, and health experts agree.

But what can make you feel so good (at least for a while), why does it make you feel that way? so Bad immediately after that? According to Uma Naidu, MD, a Harvard-trained nutritional psychiatrist and author of a forthcoming book, calm your mind with food, it’s simple: Alcohol acts as a central nervous system depressant which can have both long-term and short-term effects. Next, Dr. Naidu discusses the short-term effects of hangxiety and ways to reduce its symptoms in the morning after a long night.

Expert in this article

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

What is Hangxity?

According to Dr. Naidu, hangover anxiety is the phenomenon of feeling increased anxiety after heavy drinking, which is often accompanied by other hangover symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, and irritability. “Alcohol works to depress the central nervous system in the brain. That is, it works by slowing down our brain activity, which is why it’s common for some people to turn to alcohol when they’re feeling anxious or need help falling asleep,” she says. However, on the other hand, when the sedative effect wears off, feelings of calmness and relaxation also diminish, which can also increase feelings of anxiety.

In addition to the psychological effects, binge drinking can also come with feelings of nervousness, heart palpitations, excessive sweating, and dehydration, which are physical reactions to alcohol consumption. Keep in mind, the more alcohol consumed, the greater the anxiety and associated side effects.

“Alcohol works to depress the central nervous system in the brain. That is, it works by slowing down our brain activity, which is why it is common for some people to turn to alcohol when they feel anxious or need help falling asleep.”
-Uma Naidu, MD, nutritional psychiatrist

5 ways to reduce fatigue before it takes over

Although the only true surefire way to prevent hangover is to abstain from drinking alcohol, Dr. Naidu says there are ways to help reduce symptoms. Without Going cold turkey. “It’s comforting to keep in mind that the anxiety associated with alcohol withdrawal is temporary [in most cases]But there are tools you can use to reduce symptoms,” she says.

1. Rehydrate as soon as possible

First and foremost, Dr. Naidoo says that since alcohol is highly dehydrating — and dehydration is one of the major players in feelings of anxiety — it’s important to rehydrate as soon as possible after drinking alcohol. “It’s very important to make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, electrolytes, and eating hydrating fruits and vegetables the day after drinking, to ward off any anxious thoughts,” she says.

looking for something soothing And Hydrating? Dr. Naidu recommends relaxing herbal teas like chamomile, lavender, or passionflower. Or, coffee — if you can stomach drinking it — is loaded with polyphenols, which act as antioxidants.

2. Sip a drink containing L-theanine

In addition to adequately hydrating, Dr. Naidu says there are several foods and drinks that can help ease hangover symptoms. From a beverage standpoint, her favorites include green or black tea due to its L-theanine content, an amino acid that has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety levels. Additionally, she says the caffeine content in these teas can also help maintain energy levels the day after drinking.

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

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

Although a late-night food delivery service may seem like a good idea at the time, fried or overly sugary foods may not be as beneficial for reducing fatigue. “These foods may initially seem satisfying but are inflammatory factors in the gut and brain that can further aggravate symptoms,” says the nutritional psychiatrist. Better hangover brain food from Dr. Naidu’s range includes: A batch of air fryer zucchini fries or homemade burgers (beef, turkey, salmon, tofu, or veggie).

In addition to fermented foods, Dr. Naidu suggests fiber-rich plant foods rich in vitamins and minerals that help reduce inflammation. Dr. Naidu says, “B vitamins, in particular, are important for hangover recovery because alcohol consumption is linked to vitamin B deficiency as well as increased stress and poor mood, and some B vitamins help detoxify alcohol faster. “Helps digest.” Foods rich in vitamin B include eggs, nuts and seeds, whole grains, leafy vegetables and dairy products.

Pro Tip: Dr. Naidu suggests preparing your “drunchies” ahead of time and leaving them in your fridge so they’re ready to go, saving you from picking up an expensive order and potentially choosing a less healthy option. Can go. Or “pregaming” with a meal filled with lots of fiber-rich vegetables and protein that can potentially reduce the effects of alcohol (and subsequent fatigue). “Research has found that fiber and protein also help keep you full and reduce the body’s ability to absorb alcohol,” says Dr. Naidu.

4. Get sunlight for at least 10 minutes

Dr. Naidu says doing breathing exercises, practicing some mindfulness, and spending at least 10 minutes outside in daylight are three simple ways that can help manage your hangover symptoms. “All of these habits help reduce stress and calm your body and mind,” she says.

5. Sleep it off

When in doubt, Dr. Naidu says sleep on it. “If you are able to relax, it may be beneficial to sleep it off completely. After a night out drinking, it can help your brain return to a healthy state most efficiently and help reduce the inflammation that causes anxiety.

An RD settles the wine vs. Champagne debate:

Good+Good articles reference scientific, credible, recent, robust studies to support the information we share. You can count on us throughout your health journey.

  1. Williams, Jackson L et al. Effect of intake of green tea amino acid L-theanine on the ability to manage stress and anxiety levels: a systematic review.Plant Foods for Human Nutrition (Dordrecht, Netherlands)Section. 75,1 (2020): 12-23. doi:10.1007/s11130-019-00771-5

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

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