(CNN)Usually a holiday hangover comes after a night of good intentions that were overwhelmed by great company and even greater temptations.
When that happens, it can feel awful … but it doesn’t have to feel as bad, or last as long, as you might expect.
When you understand the science behind that hungover feeling, you have the power to counter its effects. In fact, some of the same physiological systems that are taxed by too many visits to the open bar are the same ones that get depleted during extreme athletic performance.
Consequently, a few key strategies pro athletes use to recover from a big game or championship fight can actually help you recover from overdoing it during a festive night out.
1. Hydrate at a higher level
Ever notice you use the restroom more when you drink alcohol? That’s because alcohol suppresses the natural production of an antidiuretic hormone called vasopressin that ordinarily keeps us from urinating too much. Without that hormone, we find ourselves giving in to the urge to “go” and quickly become dehydrated.
Sit or stand with knees slightly bent and hinge from your hips to let your head hang between your legs and arms. Inverting your head below your heart enables freshly oxygenated blood to go to your brain first, which can help relieve all that pressure in your head that causes the pounding headache. Try to remain inverted for about five deep breaths.
Warning: The pounding may increase initially as the blood rushes to your head, but it usually turns to a feeling of relief in less than a minute. That said, this pose doesn’t work for everyone, so don’t force it if it doesn’t feel right, and avoid it completely if you have untreated high blood pressure.
In addition to restorative yoga and compression clothing, there are other science-based ways professional athletes boost circulation for enhanced recovery, such as compression-and-massage boots and hot/cold immersion therapy, also known as contrast baths. However, with the $1,000-plus price tag of recovery boots, such as Norma Tec, and the extreme nature and logistics of contrast baths, yoga is a better option for most of us trying to recover from a little overindulgence at the bar.
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