Forget eggs and bacon. Music is the hangover remedy, according to headache experts.
Most people have their own way of dealing with a bad hangover — some of the more common routines are chugging water and filling up on greasy breakfast foods, going on a run to sweat it out, or laying in bed and feeling sorry for yourself. Most people wouldn’t think to put on a pair of headphones and tune out their glaring headache with some tunes, but researchers say that listening to the right music can help lift you out of those hangover blues.
It’s best to jam to songs and artists that you already like, but nothing too sharp or loud, Lynn Webster, past president of American Academy of Pain Medicine, told Mic. "But if it can distract you, it theoretically is going to offer you some relief,” she says.
It’s well-known that music has a number of other psychological benefits. It can elevate our moods in times of sadness, motivate and inspire us, and calm us enough to fall asleep — all of which can help with a nasty hangover. But perhaps its most important hangover-relieving feature is music’s ability to relieve pain, even chronic pain. Several studies have explored the effects of music as a medicine, concluding that the melodies and vibrations indeed act as a pain-reliever.
Researchers studying music at McGill University found that both listening to and playing music can increase the body’s production of the antibody immunoglobulin A and natural killer cells, which can kill various tumor and virus-infected cells as well as increase the effectiveness of the body’s immune system. According to the American Psychological Association, music also reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
While the research on music’s ability to relieve pain didn’t zero in specifically on hangovers, Dr. Alexander Mauskop, director and founder of the New York Headache Center told Mic that “We have good proof that music works for pain of any kind. There’s no reason to think that hangovers would be any different.” In addition to its painkilling effects, research has also shown that music can reduce feelings of nausea, one of the standard consequences of having a few too many the night before.
Music has the power to distract us and take our minds elsewhere, so perhaps in addition to its physical effects on our bodies, it also provides somewhat of a psychological paradise — diverting our attention just enough to forget about our hungover feelings. There’s something about musical vibrations that helps soothe our negative emotions and physical ailments. Studies have even shown that musical genres ranging from classical to dubstep and heavy metal, have the ability to relieve migraine headaches, according to ScienceAlert.
So next time you wake up in hungover shambles, grab a pair of headphones and rehydrate with some of your favorite tunes. As Mauskop said, music is “not as powerful as morphine, but it might be as good as Tylenol."