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Drinking Less

How To Stop Throwing Up After Drinking

January 19, 2024
14 min read
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Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
January 19, 2024
14 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
January 19, 2024
14 min read
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
January 19, 2024
14 min read
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Reframe Content Team
January 19, 2024
14 min read

Waking up after a fun night out with friends can sometimes mean facing a not-so-fun morning. You remember the laughs, the music, and the dancing, but now you're dealing with a churning stomach and feeling sick. It's an experience many of us are familiar with.

Today we're explaining why drinking alcohol can make you feel sick and what you can do about it. We'll also discuss how to drink responsibly, reduce the aftereffects of a night out, and take care of yourself the next day.

Why Does Alcohol Make You Throw Up?

Ever wonder why drinking too much can lead to feeling nauseated the next day? It's more than just an annoying side effect; it's your body's complex reaction to alcohol. The way alcohol irritates your stomach lining and affects your brain and balance is key to understanding this reaction.

Drinking alcohol inflames your stomach lining and increases acid, causing discomfort. As your liver breaks down alcohol into acetaldehyde, a toxic compound, it can make you feel queasy. This effect is made worse by how alcohol affects your brain, especially the part that controls vomiting, making you feel even sicker. 

Additionally, alcohol is a diuretic, so you lose more fluids and can become dehydrated and/or suffer an imbalance of electrolytes, adding to the feeling of nausea. Drinking in moderation helps us avoid these unpleasant effects.

Does Throwing Up Cure Your Hangover? 

Vomiting after drinking too much can sometimes remove alcohol that hasn't yet been absorbed, possibly reducing the load on your body to process it. This could lessen the severity of alcohol poisoning and its symptoms, including harsh hangovers.

By getting rid of alcohol, vomiting might lower the amount of acetaldehyde (a harmful compound produced when alcohol is metabolized) in your body, easing many hangover symptoms.

Risks of Throwing Up After Drinking

One immediate concern after vomiting is dehydration and loss of vital electrolytes, which can cause weakness, dizziness, and, in serious cases, affect crucial body functions. There's also the danger of accidentally inhaling vomit, which can lead to choking or lung infections

Frequent vomiting can harm your esophagus and teeth due to stomach acid. Plus, if vomiting is due to heavy drinking, there's a significant risk of alcohol poisoning, a serious condition needing urgent care. On a mental level, often vomiting after drinking may signal an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, leading to increased anxiety and health worries.

How To Cure Hangover Nausea

Waking up with a hangover can be a rough start to your day. Luckily, there are some simple and effective ways to feel better and kickstart your recovery.

  • Hydration. Alcohol is dehydrating, and dehydration often worsens hangover symptoms. The best way to fight this is by drinking plenty of water. Sports drinks and oral rehydration solutions are also good options as they replace fluids and electrolytes you might have lost. Take it slow, allowing your body to rebalance itself gradually.
  • The “BRAT” diet. When it comes to food during a hangover, the BRAT diet — bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast — is your friend. These foods are gentle on your stomach and easy to digest. Bananas are great for replenishing potassium, while toast (or crackers) can soak up stomach acid. Rice and applesauce provide a mild energy boost without overworking your digestive system.
  • Over-the-counter remedies. Antacids can provide relief by neutralizing stomach acid. Antiemetics can also control nausea. Be careful with these medications, especially if alcohol is still in your system, and consider any interactions. It's always wise to talk to a healthcare provider before taking any medication, especially if you have other health conditions or are on different medications.
  • Rest and relaxation. Your body needs time to process and eliminate the alcohol, so getting enough rest is key to recovering from a hangover. Find a comfortable, quiet place to rest. Avoid bright lights and loud noises. Extra sleep is ideal, but if you can't sleep, just lying down and relaxing can be helpful. Remember, your body heals better when you're well-rested, so make sure to give yourself time to recover.

Preventing Future Discomfort: How To Stop Throwing Up After Drinking

To avoid the unpleasantness of hangover nausea, it's best to prevent it before it starts. Smart drinking habits, staying hydrated, and eating wisely can let you enjoy your time out without the nasty next-day consequences. Here’s how to drink smart and avoid discomfort later.

  • Moderate drinking. Knowing and sticking to safe alcohol limits — no more than 4-5 drinks in a two-hour period — is key to avoiding nausea. It's not just about how much you drink but also how quickly you drink it. Spread out your drinks and set a personal limit to reduce the chances of feeling sick. Remember, "moderation" varies for each person, depending on things like body size, age, and gender.
  • Hydrate. Begin hydrating before you start drinking and keep it up throughout the night. Alternate alcoholic drinks with water, and drink plenty of water before going to sleep. This helps keep you hydrated, dilutes the alcohol in your blood, and lessens the severity of hangovers.
  • Eat before drinking. Avoid drinking on an empty stomach. A good meal with proteins, fats, and carbs before you start drinking can slow alcohol's absorption into your blood. This not only protects your stomach lining but also helps prevent getting too drunk too quickly, which can lead to nausea.
  • Choose drinks wisely. Different alcoholic drinks have different physical effects. High-alcohol drinks or mixing different types of alcohol can increase the chance of feeling sick. It’s better to choose drinks with lower alcohol content and consider mixing in some non-alcoholic beverages. Also, be wary of drinks with a lot of sugar or ingredients you're not used to as these can also upset your stomach and make hangover symptoms worse.

Beyond the Bottle: Building Healthier Habits

Our relationship with alcohol doesn't exist in isolation; it's intertwined with our overall lifestyle. From nurturing your mental health to embracing balanced nutrition and regular exercise, let’s explore how to create a life that balances alcohol consumption with mental well-being, healthy eating, and staying active. This holistic approach can help you make smarter choices and lead a more fulfilling life.

  1. Morning hydration ritual. Hydration is key. Begin each day with a glass of water to get a head start on staying hydrated. Keep a water bottle handy throughout the day to remind yourself to drink water regularly. Morning hydration helps keep your body balanced, boosts metabolism, and supports overall health.
  2. Balance your beverage choices. When you're out socializing, try alternating alcoholic drinks with water. Mindful drinking isn’t just good for pacing your drinking — it also helps prevent dehydration, a major factor in hangovers. It's a smart, simple way to enjoy yourself without going overboard.
  3. Make nutritionally conscious choices. Your diet affects how your body processes alcohol. Aim for foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants — like vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grains. Eating well, especially before drinking, can slow alcohol absorption and lessen its effects.
  4. Exercise regularly. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. It doesn't matter if it's a quick walk, a yoga class, or a session at the gym — regular exercise helps your body handle alcohol better, boosts your immune system, and lifts your mood.
  5. Get quality sleep. Try to get 7-9 hours of good sleep each night. Good sleep is crucial for your body's recovery and repair. Exercise reduces stress, improves brain function, and boosts overall health. Create a peaceful sleep environment and a calming bedtime routine to help you sleep better.
  6. Take a tech timeout. Set aside screen-free time each day. This "tech timeout" can lessen stress, sharpen your focus, and increase mindfulness. Use this time for relaxing activities like reading, meditating, or enjoying nature.

Embracing a Balanced Approach to Drinking

Improving your health and well-being is a step-by-step process, and every little change helps. By learning how alcohol affects your body and choosing healthier habits, you can turn your social gatherings into fun, memorable experiences without regrets. Here's to making healthier choices and enjoying the brighter mornings that follow.

If you want to cut back on your alcohol consumption but don’t know where to start, consider trying Reframe. We’re a neuroscience-backed app that has helped millions of people reduce their alcohol consumption and develop healthier lifestyle habits.

Summary FAQs

1. Why does a night of drinking often lead to nausea the following day?

Alcohol can cause nausea for several reasons. It irritates your stomach lining, increases stomach acid, disrupts your brain's area that controls vomiting, and leads to dehydration and loss of electrolytes. All these factors combined can make you feel nauseous after drinking.

2. What can be done to mitigate the effects of alcohol and avoid nausea?

The best way to avoid feeling sick from alcohol is to drink in moderation. Make sure you're well-hydrated, eat before you start drinking, stick to drinks with lower alcohol content, and avoid mixing different types of alcohol. Habits like these can greatly reduce your risk of nausea and help you stay healthier.

3. How can hydration help with hangover nausea?

Since alcohol causes dehydration, rehydrating is vital for easing hangover symptoms. Drinking water, sports drinks, or oral rehydration solutions can replace lost fluids and electrolytes, helping your body regain balance and reduce nausea. It’s also important to remember that hydration is a process, which means that the water you drink won’t impact your dehydration until much later.

4. What are effective dietary strategies for managing hangover nausea?

The BRAT diet – bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast – is ideal for a hangover. These foods are gentle on your stomach and easy to digest. They can soak up excess stomach acid, while bananas provide potassium, an essential electrolyte often lost after drinking.

5. What lifestyle changes can support a healthier approach to alcohol consumption?

Eating well, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and taking breaks from technology can all support healthier drinking habits. These changes improve your body's ability to process alcohol, boost your immune system, lower stress levels, and enhance your mental clarity, leading to smarter decisions about alcohol.

Take Control of Your Drinking With Reframe

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol. 

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

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