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Updated on May 19, 2023
8 min read

How to Sober Up Fast

Alyssa Hill
Dr P. E. Pancoast, MD
Written by 
9 Sources Cited
Alyssa Hill
Written by 
9 Sources Cited

Is it Possible to Sober Up Fast?

It is impossible to sober up fast, despite people's claims about knowing how to do it. These ideas are usually not backed by science.

The only way to get sober faster is if you’re attached to a dialysis unit. This will remove the alcohol directly from your bloodstream.

How is Alcohol Absorbed?

Alcohol can enter your bloodstream quickly via the stomach lining and small intestine. Some alcoholic beverages are absorbed more rapidly than others. Typically, drinks with a higher concentration of alcohol are absorbed much faster.

Hard liquor is approximately 45 percent alcohol, while beer is only 5 percent alcohol. A shot will increase your blood alcohol content (BAC) faster than a standard drink of beer.

Other factors also affect your body's alcohol absorption rate, including:

  • Your weight
  • Whether or not you're drinking on an empty stomach
  • If you're drinking a carbonated alcoholic beverage

How Fast Does the Liver Process Alcohol?

Once alcohol enters the bloodstream, the liver is responsible for breaking it down. It takes roughly 1 hour for a normally-functioning liver to break down 1 ounce of liquor or 1 standard drink. 

If you consume alcohol faster than your liver can process, your BAC increases, and you will start feeling drunk. You can't do anything to quicken how fast your liver breaks down the alcohol in your bloodstream, which is why forcing yourself to sober up quickly is impossible.


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8 Ways to "Sober Up" in the Morning

While you can't force yourself to sober up faster, there are a few things you can do to make the process easier on yourself during the morning after:

1. Get Some Sleep

Sleeping is one of the most effective ways to sober up. Sleep enables the body to rest and recover.  It also helps the body get rid of the alcohol from its system.

While even a short nap can help, the more sleep you get, the soberer you’ll feel when you wake up. Sleeping gives the liver the chance to metabolize the alcohol.

2. Eat Healthy Foods and Fruit Juices

Healthy foods and fruit juices can help you handle the effects of intoxication in the morning.

Eating healthy foods and drinking fruit juices can help the liver flush out alcohol more effectively. Juices with fructose, vitamin B, and vitamin C can help sober you up. 

3. Keep Drinking Water

Drinking plenty of water can help with hydration and flush toxins from the body after consuming alcohol.

Water can also help fight the dehydrating effects of alcohol, which can be helpful before you go to bed.

4. Drinking Coffee

Coffee won’t help you sober up after drinking. However, it can help you deal with hangovers the morning after.

Caffeine helps battle the fatigue you typically get during a hangover.

5. Throw Up

Throwing up won’t lower your blood alcohol level. Since alcohol enters your bloodstream quickly, you can’t just vomit it out. 

However, throwing up can help alleviate nausea and make you feel better the next morning.

6. Exercise

People recommend exercise to help you feel more alert and awake after drinking. Some say it can also help the body metabolize alcohol faster. However, the scientific evidence of this is inconclusive.

7. Get Some Fresh Air

Getting some fresh air can help you sober up faster. It doesn’t necessarily remove the alcohol from your system, but it can help you feel better.

The fresh air helps to reduce the effects of intoxication and can help you feel more alert.

8. Take Your Vitamins

Taking vitamins won’t magically sober you up, but they can help with the hangover. However, since your body loses a lot of vitamins and minerals while drinking, it’s important to replenish them. These vitamins help reduce fatigue, headaches, and nausea.

How Long Does it Take to Sober Up Naturally?

How long it takes to sober up completely can take at least 12 hours after the last drink. However, this can take longer depending on the person and how much alcohol they consumed.

The liver breaks down one standard drink every hour. A standard drink is:

  • 12 fl oz of beer with 5 percent alcohol
  • 5 fl oz of wine with 12 percent alcohol
  • 8 fl oz of malt liquor with 8 percent of alcohol
  • 1.5 fl oz of distilled spirit with 40 percent alcohol

Alcohol will remain longer in the body if you drink more.


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Myths About Sobering up Fast

Some of the most common myths regarding alcohol and sobering up can be misleading. It's important to know the real effects of these things on your body because alcohol intoxication can lead to bigger issues if not handled properly.

Here are a few common myths about what you should do to sober up:

Taking a Cold Shower

People often say taking a cold shower is an effective way to sober up. However, it can’t reverse the effects of alcohol. It can even be counterproductive.

The shock of a cold shower can cause some intoxicated people to lose consciousness. If a person is suffering from alcohol poisoning, a cold shower can even lower their body temperature to hypothermia.

Drinking Coffee

Drinking coffee can help you feel more alert after consuming alcohol. However, it doesn’t break down alcohol levels in your body. Just because you feel aware and alert doesn’t mean you’re not intoxicated.

Like alcohol, caffeine can cause dehydration. It can worsen the alcohol's effects and further dehydrate you. The better option is to drink water or get some sleep.

Eating Fatty Food

Alcohol is absorbed through the stomach lining. A stomach full of food can slow the absorption rate of alcohol into your bloodstream. 

However, once the alcohol is already in your blood, no amount of food eaten after drinking can help you sober up. 

Hangover Cures

Everyone has a hangover cure that works for them. Typically, people say certain foods, medicines, or drinks can magically cure a hangover.

There is currently no cure for a hangover. But there are ways to help relieve symptoms.

Staying hydrated and eating healthy food can help with a hangover. But nothing’s better than getting plenty of rest.

Carbon or Charcoal Capsules

Carbon and charcoal capsules can be purchased from health food stores. Reports have shown that these supplements can help people sober up, but no scientific evidence backs this up.


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How to Avoid Getting Too Drunk

If you don’t want to deal with an unpleasant hangover, there are a few ways to ease the symptoms. 

Here are several steps you can take to prevent a hangover:

  • Drink in moderation or consume no more than one drink per hour
  • Drink a glass of water after every drink or two
  • Do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach
  • Avoid drinking games or attending events where there is pressure to drink a lot
  • Count how many drinks you are consuming
  • Avoid drinking hard liquor
  • Do not combine alcohol with other substances, including prescribed medicines

Sobering Up vs Sobriety

Sobering up differs from sobriety in that the latter refers to a process people with alcohol addiction go through.

People sober up after a night out of heavy drinking. They don't usually have a dependence on the substance.

On the other hand, people entering sobriety do it because they want to recover from alcohol abuse or addiction. Fortunately, there are many treatment options to help people stop drinking.

Treatment Options for People Entering Sobriety

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to sobriety. What may work for one person may not for somebody else.

Understanding the various options can be an excellent first step in reaching sobriety. Here are some of the options for alcohol addiction treatment:

Behavioral Treatments

Behavioral treatments for alcohol addiction aim to change drinking behavior through counseling. Health professionals lead sessions.

Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT)

Three medications are currently approved in the United States for MAT. These medications are prescribed by a primary care physician or behavioral health professional. 

They may be used alone or in combination with other treatments such as counseling or rehabilitation. These medications may or may not help people stop drinking.

Support Groups

Mutual support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step programs give peer support to people quitting or reducing their drinking.

Support groups can be highly effective when combined with other addiction treatments led by health professionals. 

Since support groups are typically anonymous, it’s challenging for researchers to determine their success rates compared with health professionals' treatments.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient programs provide a safe, substance-free environment for recovery. You'll be given housing and 24/7 access to professional medical care.

They provide medically supervised detox, behavioral therapy, and other services. Most programs will set up your aftercare program once you complete inpatient treatment.

This type of treatment is best for people who don't have control over their addiction. The supervision provided by an inpatient program helps people stay sober and manage withdrawal. Most inpatient programs last 30, 60, or 90 days, while some last longer.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment provides therapy, education, and other support services on-site. The difference between inpatient and outpatient treatment is that you return to your home afterward.

Outpatient programs can work on their own as a comprehensive treatment plan or be a part of an aftercare plan.

They are best for people with a high motivation level to become sober. They are also a good option for people who cannot leave responsibilities, such as family, work, or school obligations.


There is no way to instantly sober up after drinking. However, you can there are are different ways to help you feel better. While these methods won't remove the alcohol from your system, they can help you feel more alert and reduce hangover symptoms.

Updated on May 19, 2023
9 sources cited
Updated on May 19, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Alcohol and Caffeine.”, 2020.
  2. Zellner, T., et al. “The Use of Activated Charcoal to Treat Intoxications.” Deutsches Arzteblatt international, 2019.
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines” 2020.
  4. Irwin, C., et al. “The effects of dehydration, moderate alcohol consumption, and rehydration on cognitive functions.” Alcohol (Fayetteville, N.Y.), 2013.
  5. College Drinking “Facts About Alcohol Overdose (or Alcohol Poisoning).”
  6. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism “Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help.” NIH, 2014. 
  7. Mackus, M., et al. “The Role of Alcohol Metabolism in the Pathology of Alcohol Hangover.” Journal of clinical medicine, 2020.
  8. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism "Understanding the Dangers of Alcohol Overdose." NIH, May 2021
  9. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism "Hangovers." NIH, Mar. 2021
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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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