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Listening to Music Can Help a Hangover - If You Pick The Right Tunes

DAVID NIELD
24 OCT 2015

The research is in: music is one of the best cures we have for a hangover. There are some caveats to bear in mind, though - you stand the best chance of finding relief through song if you're already a fan of music in the first place, for one, and if you're listening to tunes you're already grown to like and have become accustomed to.

 

It appears that your favourite records can be most effective when used alongside traditional remedies like paracetamol - so don't think you can rely on music alone to make it through to midday.

Experts from the New York Headache Centre in the US certainly believe the right tunes can ease your booze-induced suffering. "We have good proof that music works for pain of any kind," director and founder Alexander Mauskop told Tom Barnes at Mic. "There is no reason to think that hangovers would be any different. It's not as powerful as morphine, but it might be as good as Tylenol."

One of the ways music can help is by distracting us from pain: you might want to think about queueing up songs that put you in a happy mood or remind you of better times. Several studies have shown that music is also capable of reducing feelings of nausea - another of the unfortunate side effects of having too much alcohol the night before.

"I would think of a hangover as similar to migraines in the sense that you don't want anything too sharp, too loud," Lynn Webster, past president of American Academy of Pain Medicine and now at PRA Health Sciences, told Mic. "But if it can distract you, it theoretically is going to offer you some relief."

What's more, it's well-known that music can help lift the spirits, improve motivation, or send us off to sleep, and those biological prompts can be used to stave off the effects of a hangover.

Over at Mental Floss, Roma Panganiban points to a recent study of migraine sufferers, which found that many types of music, including heavy metal and dubstep, could be effective at reducing pain. It seems there's something about the vibrations created by these genres of music that help sooth severe headaches. At the other end of the musical spectrum, classical music has also been shown to reduce migraines.

None of these studies looked at hangovers specifically, but painful headaches and feelings of nausea are likely to be some of the problems you find yourself suffering through after one (or one dozen) too many.

The next time you're in this unfortunate situation, try reaching for your headphones as well as a glass of water, and see if there's any improvement in how you feel. Music might even help you escape those crippling feelings of regret, too.