Coffee has long been a go-to for curing hangovers, but there’s little evidence that it actually does anything to combat the effects of alcohol. In fact, there’s no evidence. You may still want to have your morning cup of joe after a night of drinking, though. Here’s a look at the effects coffee has on people recovering from hangovers.
Coffee Won’t Sober You Up
Coffee will not sober you up. Whether you’re downing shots of espresso right after bottles of beer or having a cold-brew the next morning, the compounds in coffee won’t prevent or slow down the effects of alcohol. The molecules in coffee, adenosine, adrenaline and caffeine may increase your alertness but they don’t interact with the same receptors that alcohol affects. After enough coffee you’ll be more awake, but you won’t be any more ready to drive.
Caffeine May Avoid a Withdrawal Headache
If you’re a regular coffee drinker, you may have a mild caffeine addiction. Should you skip your morning coffee, withdrawal symptoms may make your hangover worse. The headache you already have from drinking could become more severe if you don’t have at least a little caffeine. The only way coffee helps a hangover is by preventing caffeine withdrawal from making it worse. In this situation, though, coffee’s not alleviating the hangover symptoms. It’s simply preventing other symptoms from developing that would compound the present ones.
Coffee Could Make Your Headache Worse
Drinking coffee could make your headache worse. The caffeine that you might need to prevent to stay a withdrawal headache would also intensify your hangover headache. Caffeine narrows blood vessels, which increases blood pressure. If your head is already pounding, this would make the pounding worse. Additionally, coffee is a diuretic, so it’s easy to become dehydrated. This further narrows your blood vessels, increasing your blood pressure even more. The consequence of these two factors could turn a mild hangover headache that’s like the tap-tap of a snare drum into deep booms from a base drum.