Understanding and Managing Sensory Hangovers

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Have you ever felt completely drained after spending just a few hours in a bustling shopping centre? The bright lights, loud noises, and constant movement can leave you feeling overwhelmed. This is what I call a sensory hangover, and I'm here to help you understand and manage it.

Recognising a Sensory Hangover

A sensory hangover is characterised by an overwhelming sense of fatigue and irritability that comes after prolonged exposure to intense sensory experiences. It’s as though your mind and body have been through a marathon without your consent, and now they’re pleading for rest.

Strategies for Managing Sensory Hangovers

Rest and Recovery: I always emphasise the importance of quiet time. Sometimes, this means being in a dimly lit room to allow your nervous system to recuperate. Other times, it might involve engaging in activities like resistance muscle work or linear swinging to help your body recalibrate.


Hydration and Nutrition: Just as you would refuel after a long journey, drinking plenty of water and eating a balanced meal can aid in your recovery from a sensory hangover.


Calming Techniques: I often recommend regulating techniques as a way to bring an overstimulated mind back to a state of peace. This can be a gentle method to re-establish tranquillity.


Limiting Sensory Input: Imagine stepping out of a noisy party into a peaceful garden. That’s the kind of environment you should aim for after a day filled with sensory overload.

Supporting Someone with a Sensory Hangover

Understanding and Empathy: It’s crucial to show compassion and acknowledge their discomfort. Just as physical exhaustion is real after a marathon, the fatigue from a sensory hangover is just as legitimate.

Creating a Calm Environment: I always strive to help those experiencing a sensory hangover find or create a tranquil space. Think of it as preparing a cosy, comfortable recovery room for them.


Balancing Encouragement and Respect: While I gently suggest activities like a short walk in nature to aid in recovery, I also emphasise the importance of respecting their need for solitude. It’s about finding that delicate balance between encouraging engagement and honouring their need to withdraw.




Navigating a sensory hangover requires a thoughtful, understanding approach. By recognising the signs and implementing these coping strategies, you can find relief and return to your daily routine feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Schedule a Zoom Consultation

If you’re seeking further guidance on managing sensory hangovers, I’m here to help. You can book a free 15-minute Zoom consultation with me. Together, we’ll explore strategies tailored specifically to your needs. Click here to schedule your call.


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