While celebrating New Year’s Eve with drink or a toast, it doesn’t need to lead to feeling terrible. So get ready to learn about and observe National Hangover Day!
History of National Hangover Day
First described around 3000 years ago in an Indian book on surgery and medicine, the Susrata Samhita, hangovers go very far back. Called “paramada” in this book, the hangover was described as a condition that came on after drinking with symptoms like head pain, joint pain, thirst and a heaviness in the body.
Hangover cures have been around for thousands of years throughout a variety of cultures. Ancient Assyrians had hangover cures for the aftereffects of merriment that were made of a mixture of myrrh and ground bird’s beak. The Chinese would drink green tea, while Mongolians were a bit more extreme by consuming pickled sheep’s eyes.
Even though the idea of having a hangover has been around for quite some time, the word “hangover” is a fairly new one. It originally made its appearance in the early 19th century and was used to mean something along the lines of an unfinished business meeting. The word continues to be used in relation to economic situations after a stock crashes.
It wasn’t until the year 1904 that the first references to a hangover as the result of drinking too much entered into regular use.
Beginning in 2015, National Hangover Day got its start as a suggestion from Keegan Calligar and Marlo Anderson, of Bentonville, Arkansas. They thought that January 1 was in need of more holidays to observe and so they came up with the idea for National Hangover Day.
National Hangover Day Timeline
Hangovers first described in writing
The idea of a hangover appears in the Susruta Samhita, an Indian medical textbook.
The word “hangover” begins use
The word “hangover” originally described someone who was a survivor, but eventually came into its current use.
Johnny Cash releases Sunday Morning Comin’ Down
The Man in Black sings this quintessential hangover song about the pain in his head and coming down from a high.
Dawn 808 hangover cure is marketed
A South Korean company releases a canned drink that claims to accelerate the breakdown of alcohol, containing tea and alder leaves.
Hangover, the film, is released
An irreverent look at the bachelor party culture, this film stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis.
How to Celebrate National Hangover Day
Looking for ways to observe and pay heed to National Hangover Day? Consider honoring the day with some of these interesting ideas:
Try Some Hangover Cures
Those who had a little bit too much to drink on New Year’s Eve and are experiencing a hangover might want to observe National Hangover Day by using some cures that are often used for hangovers. Though many medical practitioners might say that hydration and time are the only real cures for a hangover, many people swear by some of these:
- Eat Some Breakfast. Although a person with a hangover might feel a bit nauseated and may not want to eat, drinking alcohol can lower the blood sugar. This means that it’s a good idea to eat some fast-digesting carbs in the morning, whether it’s a piece of toast or even just a few crackers.
- “Hair of the Dog”. The idea of applying the “hair of the dog that bit you” to hangovers means that a person has a drink in the morning to stave off the hangover. (However, some medical professionals might say that it’s better not to drink more alcohol as it just perpetuates the cycle.)
- Drink Some Caffeine. Though it’s important to make sure to drink plenty of water and get rehydrated, it’s possible that some coffee, tea or other caffeinated drinks might be helpful in reducing grogginess and minimizing a headache.
- Pain Relievers. Headaches with a hangover can be brutal, so taking some ibuprofen or aspirin might help, however be sure to eat something to keep it from irritating the stomach. Acetaminophen should be avoided as it can make the effects on the liver worse.
Watch The Hangover Movies
This series of three movies is rather ridiculous but also an ideal activity to celebrate National Hangover Day! Watch just one or binge watch all three of them:
- The Hangover (2009). Starring Bradley Cooper, Zack Galifianakis and Ed Helms, this all-star cast brings the fun to this comedy. When three friends wake up in Las Vegas after a bachelor party, they realize that the groom is missing and chaos ensues.
- The Hangover Part II (2011). Following up from the last film, this time a different buddy from the Wolfpack is getting married – in Thailand. Even though the groom tries to avoid it, a hangover happens anyway.
- The Hangover Part III (2013). The third installment in this trilogy, this time the group has to help their friend Alan who is struggling with a personal crisis. And, of course, they end up in Las Vegas, where the entire hangover situation began.
Avoid a Hangover
This might sound like a ridiculous way to celebrate, but some people may need to be reminded that having a hangover isn’t actually necessary! Perhaps, volunteering to be the designated driver and helping other people get home safely could be the best way to enjoy the evening. Let everyone else suffer through the hangover for once!
If this is the case and you are the person who has avoided the struggle of having to be miserable on National Hangover Day, perhaps have some compassion on a friend and take them a little hangover cure to help out!
Learn More About Safe Alcohol Consumption
National Hangover Day can certainly be observed by those who only indulge every once in a while (like on New Year’s Eve). But it is important to remember to practice caution and safety.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage adults of legal drinking age to either abstain from drinking altogether or to drink in moderation. Moderate drinking, for most people, means no more than two alcoholic drinks per day for a man, or no more than one drink each day for a woman (because women are typically smaller in stature).
Drinking with care is important. Acute intoxication can be dangerous because it impairs judgment, can cause an increase in violence, may cause a rapid loss of body heat, and can increase the rise of certain cancers or other diseases. And, of course, those who choose to drink alcohol should never drive.
National Hangover Day FAQs
How to get rid of a hangover?
There’s no quick fix, but some things that help with a hangover are hydration, caffeine, multi-vitamins, ibuprofen, and carbs or sugar.
How long do hangovers last?
Hangover symptoms usually get better within 24 hours after the alcohol level returns to zero. 
Are hangovers withdrawal?
A hangover can happen with just one incident of drinking too much all at once. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome happens when someone who is addicted to alcohol stops drinking.
Can hangovers make you shaky?
Many people experience shaking and tremors with a hangover.
Do hangovers get worse with age?
As the body ages, it often has a higher blood alcohol concentration which makes hangovers more difficult.