When do most people show up to work with a hangover – or not show up at all because of one? Surprisingly it’s not the Monday after the St. Patrick’s Day parade. By analysing tweets for mentions of ‘hangover,’ our friends at Mashable have put together a spreadsheet of when most people mention having a hangover.

It turns out that most people are feeling the effects of drinking on Thursdays and Fridays in November and on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in January. Mondays in May are also high hangover-mention days.

(Using the same methodology, the folks at Mashable found out that people are most often late for work – or at least the tweet about it the most- on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in July.)

Canadians do our share of drinking. A report from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) found that Canadians drink more than 50% above the global average amount of alcohol, and show more harmful binge drinking behaviour than most countries. That adds up to a lot of hangovers.

The team over at Human Resources Magazine estimates that employee hangovers are costing Canadian businesses up to $24 billion a year. Most of this (72%) is due to lost productivity. People just don’t get as much work done when they’re hungover. HR Magazine reports that healthcare costs (11%), crime (9%) and motor vehicle accidents (6%) also add to the financial burden hangovers place on businesses.

Since it is St. Patrick’s Day weekend, we’ve decided to try and save Canadian employers some of that cost by sharing our top tips for avoiding a hangover.

  • Drink moderately: Have no more than two or three drinks, spaced out over time.
  • Drink plenty of water: Most of the pain of hangovers comes from being dehydrated. Drinking water along with your alcohol can prevent this.
  • Eat before you drink: Having food in your system slows down your body’s absorption of the alcohol making it take longer to reach your blood stream.
  • Sleep in: If you have a big party planned, use a vacation day to take the following day off rather than trying to make it through the workday while nursing a hangover.
  • Be young: A recent study found that hangovers are much worse on people between 40 and 50 than on those in their 20’s and 30’s. (And this writer who recently turned 40 can attest to that – I used to be able to close down bars and be at work in the morning like nothing happened. I can no longer do that, and it’s been years since I’ve heard the words, “last call.”)

Oh, and back to the Twitter study. People should stop tweeting about their hangovers and being late for work. As we reported earlier, 47% of employers say that they are turned off by candidates mentioning their excessive consumption of alcohol on social media. (And almost all employers surveyed said that they will be looking up candidates social media profiles before hiring them.

So please, drink responsibly – and share smartly. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

CAMH’s Guidelines for low-risk alcohol drinking



Peter Harris
Peter Harris on Twitter