A Hangover’s Effect On Work Performance


It is likely that if you drink alcohol you have experienced a hangover before. The morning following a night out with friends or night in after a breakup can involve symptoms like nausea, headache and light sensitivity, which are all fine if you have the weekend to recharge. What happens when you get drunk during the workweek?

What Hangovers Do to Your Brain

Much like a cold, your mood is down and your brain is cognitively functioning much slower which can result in forgetfulness and a slow work pace. A hangover affects your “working memory,” which you need for storing information, performing mental tasks and focusing. A study at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands found that hung over people drove just as badly as those who were drunk. If you work in a field that requires machinery, your impaired state risks injury to yourself or a co-worker.

Picking Up the Slack

If you are coming to work with a hangover on a fairly regular basis your fellow workers are going to have to pick up your slack. While they might be happy to do it once in a while it isn’t likely they will be so happy or willing to continually cover for you. You don’t want to lower the office’s morale or have to constantly apologize for not doing your work. This will lead to alienating co-workers or unemployment.

Bust Your Hangover

When it comes to breakfast you might think just a coffee or the greasiest thing you can find are what you need. A few ways to soothe your hangover include:

What to Eat:

  • Cook up an egg, the amino acids will flush out toxins.
  • Grab a banana, the potassium will fight fatigue.
  • Toast up a bagel or bread, this will restore blood sugar.

What to Drink:

  • Skip the coffee, it may be your morning eye-opener but your body is dehydrated and it will only dehydrate you further.
  • Gulp plenty of water.
  • Brew up ginger and peppermint teas to soothe stomach upset.
  • Fuel up with a sports drink, this will replenish your electrolytes and boost your potassium levels.

You don’t have to completely cut out your two beers or wine with dinner, just be aware of how much and how often you are imbibing. The more you drink and the later you drink the more likely you are to have a hangover in the morning.

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