Does coffee help with hangovers?

A few weekends ago we had a blast out at Sour Fest 2022 with our friends at Martin House Brewing. A lot of people came up to grab coffee to help with the inevitable hangover that might occur after having just a few too many of their new delicious Awesome Sauce Seltzers. That made me wonder: is coffee helpful when you have a hangover?

Do you ever feel like death the morning after a night of drinking? You're not alone. A hangover is one of the most uncomfortable feelings imaginable. One of the first things you might think of to do when you wake up with a hangover is to grab a cup of coffee, especially if you slept really poorly. But, before you do, it might be helpful to understand a bit about what's going on behind the scenes with your body.

So can coffee help with a hangover? Let's take a look at the research.


Woman in bed getting coffee poured for her magically

What causes a hangover?

Hangovers are caused by dehydration, changes in blood sugar levels and the toxic byproducts of alcohol metabolism. Generally, the more alcohol you drink, the more likely you're going to have a hangover the next day, and the more likely it's going to be painful.


What are the symptoms of a hangover?

If you've ever had a hangover, you can skip this section, but we figured it might be helpful if you somehow landed on this blog post after your first or second night of heavy drinking:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Headache
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Increased sensitivity light and sound

In addition, one of the worst parts of a hangover is the fact that you probably didn't sleep very well at all, which might contribute more to the symptoms above.


Guy working at desk looking hungover with a coffee mug in his hand

Can coffee help with a hangover?

The good news is that coffee can help with a hangover, but it's definitely not a cure-all. According to research by Thomas Jefferson University, the caffeine in coffee can block some effects of acetate, which is what your liver breaks alcohol down into. But, the study (done with rats as test subjects) suggests that you should start drinking coffee 4-6 hours after you start drinking because that's when the acetate really starts showing up. That doesn't really sound that feasible, but hey, if you're like me, you get up at 7am whether you want to or not, so maybe it's not a bad idea to drink coffee as soon as you wake up.

One very subtle reason that coffee might help with a hangover is that your body is already familiar with the caffeine you get each day from drinking coffee, so it's going to want a cup of coffee regardless. In that respect, drinking coffee will help so much, and you'll get all the benefits of drinking coffee in the first place, such as mood improvement.


What are some negatives affects of drinking coffee while hungover?

Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it makes you have to pee more. When you're already dehydrated from a night of drinking, any coffee you drink is going to need to be supplemented with lots of water and electrolytes. So remember that when consuming coffee while you have a hangover.

A cup of coffee might help you feel more alert, but it's not going to do much for your dehydration levels. In fact, coffee can actually make a hangover worse if you don't drink water alongside it.


In conclusion, coffee can help with a hangover, but be sure to be careful

When it comes to hangovers, there is no magic cure. But coffee might help a little bit, especially if you're struggling with a headache. Just remember to stay hydrated and listen to your body. If you're still feeling really awful, it's probably best to just stay in bed.