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Drinking Habits

How To Deal With a New Year’s Day Hangover

April 29, 2024
25 min read
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Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
April 29, 2024
25 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
April 29, 2024
25 min read
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
April 29, 2024
25 min read
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Reframe Content Team
April 29, 2024
25 min read

We’ve all been there. Party hats with glitter fringe are scattered around the living room, the empty champagne bottles are littering the floor, the New Year is finally here and — you greet it with the worst hangover of your life. As you pick bits of confetti out of your hair, you might find yourself asking, what’s the best thing for hangover-related headaches, fatigue, and overall discomfort?

When it comes to curing a hangover, sometimes it’s simply a matter of giving it time and riding it out. However, there’s no need to suffer longer than you have to! There are many hangover fixes that have proven to be effective. Let’s explore them in more detail!

The Science of the Hangover

A lady sitting on a kitchen counter with alcohol and party cups

Scientifically, a hangover is the unpleasant result of the multipronged attack that alcohol perpetrates on our body. Our body perceives it as a poison and works hard to usher it out as quickly as possible. It’s a combination of dehydration, hormonal alterations, immune system responses, and metabolic changes caused by ingesting alcohol. 

One of the main reasons why hangovers are as nasty as they are has to do with acetaldehyde — a toxic byproduct produced in the liver as it breaks down alcohol into acetic acid.

The other culprit is dehydration. As a diuretic, alcohol causes our body to shed water — quickly. It sends us on all those bathroom trips throughout the evening, leading to headaches, dizziness, and dry mouth. Studies have shown that along with depleting hydration, hangovers cause people to lose glucose and electrolytes, both of which are crucial for overall well-being.

The typical symptoms? Headache, nausea, fatigue, and, sometimes, a side of regret. Here’s a breakdown:

Physical Symptoms

  • Nausea. The main culprit here is acetaldehyde — the toxic byproduct that builds up in our liver as it breaks down alcohol into nontoxic acetate.
  • Stomach discomfort. Alcohol irritates the stomach lining and increases acid production, leading to nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. If that leftover party flan in the fridge suddenly doesn’t look as appetizing as it did the night before, this is why.
  • Blood sugar fluctuations. While, over the long term, alcohol raises our blood sugar levels, they tend to drop right after we drink, making us feel tired, weak, and moody. Some people can even experience seizures as a result.

Psychological Effects

Most hangovers last up to 24 hours, but the timeline can vary based on factors such as the amount and rate of alcohol consumption, as well as individual genetics, age, weight, and overall health. Some folks may experience very mild symptoms, while others might find hangovers completely debilitating.

New Year’s Day Hangover Fixes

While sometimes it might seem like a hangover is going to last forever,  rest assured — it won’t! In the meantime, here are some hangover fixes that can make the first day of the New Year just a little more pleasant. We’ll also sprinkle in some bits of advice for what to do on New Year’s Eve to keep things going as smoothly as possible (with additional tips on hangover prevention at the end).

The Power of Water 

First and foremost — chug some good ol' H2O. Alcohol is dehydrating, and your cells need it — pronto.

Alcohol's diuretic effect means that for every drink we take, we’re not just losing fluid but also essential minerals and salts. This loss of electrolytes — sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium — tends to make our hangover symptoms more pronounced. Consider sipping on coconut water or sports drinks, or grab some Liquid IV at the pharmacy or grocery store.

On New Year’s Eve 

Chug a large glass of water before the clock strikes 12 (and 11, and 10 for an extra hydration boost). If possible, alternate between alcoholic beverages and water throughout the night to keep dehydration from setting in.

Hydration Tips for New Year’s Day

  • Start the day (and year!) with water. When you wake up, sip some water — but go easy and don’t chug. Let your body absorb it slowly to keep from getting nauseous. Keep a water bottle by your side throughout the day.
  • Try some herbal tea. Ginger or peppermint are both double-taskers that are great for hydration; they also help alleviate nausea. These are gentle on the system and can provide hydration with a bit of flavor, adding a spark of fun to the process.
  • Stay away from caffeine. It might be tempting to head straight for whatever coffee shop is open on New Year’s Day, but it’s wise to hold back — caffeine can make dehydration worse. Stick to water, herbal teas, and electrolyte-rich beverages until you're feeling better.

Nutrition to the Rescue

Alcohol can do a number on our metabolism and nutrient absorption, leading to fatigue and weakness. And while eating might be the last thing on your mind, your body needs energy to recover. That said, we’re not talking pizza and leftover cheesecake (though a bit won’t hurt, as long as it’s not the only thing on the menu). It’s all about choosing the right foods to use the power of nutrition to your advantage.

On New Year’s Eve

If you know a night of drinking is coming, plan a hangover-friendly meal for January 1st. Most restaurants are closed and — unless you can rely on leftovers — you could be left stranded and end up with whatever is in your pantry or local fast food joint, possibly making your hangover worse. Plan ahead for a solid recovery meal and set yourself up for success!

Nutrition Tips for New Year’s Day

  • Complex carbs. Complex carbohydrates — think whole-grain toast, oatmeal, or brown rice — will stabilize your blood sugar levels and serve as a steady source of energy. Moreover, they help move the digestive process along, helping your body detox faster.
  • Proteins. Proteins are vital for repairing and building bodily tissues. Eggs are a great choice — they contain cysteine, which breaks down acetaldehyde and has been shown to reduce hangover symptoms. Other good options? Greek yogurt, chicken, or tofu can all replenish amino acids lost on New Year’s Eve.
  • Fruits and veggies. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, these natural detoxifiers are great for clearing your system. Bananas are a great choice because of their potassium content, while berries, oranges, and leafy green vegetables can all help your body rehydrate as you replenish the vitamins and minerals lost the night before.
  • Healthy fats. While greasy, processed foods are definitely not the best choice, don’t shy away from healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, and salmon. These can provide long-lasting energy and help stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Supplements and vitamins. Taking a multivitamin is always a good idea, while specific supplements, such as B-vitamins and magnesium, can help replenish specific micronutrients lost through drinking. However, make sure to check with your doctor first!.

Sleep It Off

One of the great things about New Year’s Day is that many of us can take it easy and sleep in — and if we’re trying to cure a hangover, we need as much rest as we can get. It’s like a reset button — we might not wake up as superheroes, but we’ll certainly feel more human.

That said, alcohol tends to disrupt our sleep patterns and interferes with the most restorative rapid eye movement (REM) sleep phase. Knowing this can help explain why sometimes “sleeping it off” is easier said than done. Still, there are some things we can do to make whatever sleep we do get on January 1st the best it can be.

Restful Tips for New Year’s Day

  • Take naps. If all else fails, take naps during the day, if you can. Turn down the lights, get comfortable, and don’t feel guilty — you’ve got the whole year ahead of you!
  • Get into a sleep schedule. As soon as you’re able to, try to get into a regular sleep schedule to get the new year off to a good start. Going to bed and waking up at the same time helps regulate your body's clock and can improve sleep quality over time. In addition to going easy on the caffeine, try to steer clear of screens and other blue light sources before bedtime, as they can disrupt your sleep cycle.
  • Relaxation techniques. If you're struggling to fall asleep due to a hangover, try some deep breathing, meditation, or gentle stretching to soothe your body and mind.
New Year’s Day Hangover Fixes


Some over-the-counter meds can potentially save the day on January 1st, but tread carefully — many can be hard on the stomach, adding to the irritation caused by alcohol. 

  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin can help reduce headaches and muscle aches that sometimes come with hangovers. However, be careful, since they can irritate the stomach lining and increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, especially after drinking.
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol). While effective for pain relief and relatively gentle on the stomach, acetaminophen is metabolized by the liver and can spell trouble when combined with alcohol. If you've consumed a large amount of alcohol, it might be safer to avoid it.
  • Antacids. Over-the-counter antacids containing calcium carbonate or magnesium hydroxide can help neutralize stomach acid and provide relief from nausea and upset stomach that too much booze is known to cause. 
  • Herbal remedies. Some folks swear by ginger for nausea or milk thistle for liver support. While the jury is still out as far as the medical field is concerned, these remedies have been used for generations and can be gentler on the system than pharmaceuticals.

Fresh Air and Gentle Movement

If the weather permits, going outside can be one of the best hangover cures yet. Fresh air and gentle movement can do wonders when it comes to curing a hangover — even if it feels like a drag at first. Fresh air increases oxygen flow to the brain, helping to clear away the blues, lift fatigue, and restore mental clarity.

Tips for Moving Through New Year’s Day

  • Opt for walking. If you have plans to go somewhere on New Year’s Day and it’s within walking distance, walk instead of driving. You’ll arrive feeling refreshed!
  • Get some sunshine. Being outdoors, especially in natural sunlight, can boost your mood and energy levels due to the increased production of Vitamin D and serotonin.
  • Be in nature. Even if you’re in the city, spend some time at a local park, by the river, or in a small neighborhood garden. Being in nature calms the mind and can help ease the tension that often comes with a hangover.
  • Move (but gently). While exercise might be the last thing on your mind when you’re nursing a hangover, some gentle movement will help. Walking around the block, doing a few yoga poses, a low-impact cardio workout from YouTube or a fitness app — anything that gets your blood flowing will help your body eliminate alcohol faster and get back to feeling like yourself again.
  • Stay safe. Make sure that you take weather into consideration. Dress warmly if you’re heading outside in the cold. If it’s slippery, wear the right footwear and maybe bring a friend to hold on to if you’re unsteady (just make sure they’re feeling stable themselves!).

Avoid “Hair of the Dog”

This is a common myth, but science — and experience — show that it’s bound to make things worse. It only delays the inevitable and can only do more harm than good, setting off a cycle of drinking more to relieve the aftereffects of the previous night. 

So, instead of reaching for a mimosa, grab a smoothie. Your future self will thank you for not prolonging the hangover chapter of your life past New Year’s Day.

Mind Over Matter: Start the New Year in Good Spirits

Finally, hangovers are not just about the body — they tend to make us uneasy, anxious, and sometimes a bit sad. Here are some ways to lift your spirits and calm your nerves if you find yourself feeling a bit blue as you wake up on New Year’s Day.

  • Distract with light activities. Simple activities like watching a favorite TV show, reading a book, or doing a puzzle can distract your mind from discomfort.
  • Stay social. Chatting with a friend or family member can lift your spirits and help distract you from hangover symptoms.
  • Try progressive muscle relaxation. PMR is a great technique for relieving tension from your body and mind. It’s simple: just tense and then relax each muscle group in your body, starting from your toes and working your way up. 
  • Laugh it off. Laughter is the best medicine! It’s a cliche, but it’s true — laughter is a powerful tool for lifting spirits and can even have pain-relieving effects. Watch a comedy show or listen to a funny podcast to lighten the mood. Others might want to join in as well!

Tips for Hangover Prevention

As we all know, when it comes to anything going haywire in our bodies, prevention is the best cure. And hangovers are no exception! 

Throughout this article, we’ve given you some tips on what to do on December 31st if you think a hangover is likely to be heading your way. While the best prevention is swapping the Champagne for a glass of sparkling cider or festive mocktail, there are some additional steps you can take to make the first day of the year as painless as possible if you know you’ll end up drinking this New Year’s Eve. 

  • Know your limits. Understand how much alcohol you can handle without feeling ill the next day. Stick to this limit — or go lower, if possible. There’s also nothing wrong with taking a break, so if your body is telling you to back off for a bit, listen to it!
  • Pace yourself. Drink slowly and give your body time to metabolize alcohol. Try not to have more than one standard drink per hour.
  • Put out the cigarette. Smoking can intensify hangover symptoms. Try to avoid smoking when drinking, or cut down if possible (plus, it’s not just about the hangover anyway — your body will thank you).
  • Avoid congeners. Darker liquors like whiskey and red wine have higher levels of congeners, which can make hangovers worse.
  • Listen to your body. Pay attention to signs that you've had enough. Nausea, dizziness, or slurring words are all indicators to hit the breaks.
  • Plan for safe transportation. Make sure you have a way to get home safely without the need to drive.
  • Saying “no” is always an option. There can be a lot of pressure to keep up with others, especially

A Healthy New Year Awaits!

Whether or not you plan on drinking this New Year’s Eve, having a plan will help you get the new year off to a great start. While hangovers feel like the body's way of saying, "I told you so," they're also an opportunity to practice self-care and recovery. We've all been there, and with a little mindful planning, we'll all get through it. 

New Year’s Eve is also a great opportunity for making larger-scale plans for the upcoming year — or even for the month to come. As Melodie Beattie writes, “The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.”

If one of your goals is to cut back or stop drinking this year, check out the Dry January challenge at Reframe! Here's to a brighter, headache-free morning and a year of making healthy choices! 

Summary FAQs

1. What causes a hangover?

A hangover results from a combination of dehydration, toxin buildup, gastrointestinal disruption, and blood sugar fluctuations that happen as a result of excessive alcohol consumption. There are some factors (such as genetics, age, health, and type of alcohol and amount consumed) that will affect how strong a hangover might be.

2. Does drinking water help with hangover symptoms?

Yes! To quickly rehydrate, drink plenty of water or electrolyte solutions, avoid caffeine and alcohol, and go for hydrating foods such as fruits. It also helps to drink water before, during, and after alcohol consumption to stave off dehydration.

3. What should I eat to cure a hangover?

Foods rich in complex carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats can help stabilize blood sugar and provide essential nutrients. Eggs, toast, bananas, avocados, and nuts are all great choices. 

4. Should I sleep more or less to get rid of a hangover faster?

Giving your body a chance to rest can help you recover, repair, and restore energy levels. Take a nap if you need to!

5. Should I take pain medication for a hangover headache?

NSAIDs can help with headaches but can sometimes add to the stomach irritation caused by alcohol. Also, be careful with acetaminophen (Tylenol), especially if you've consumed a lot of alcohol as it can affect the liver. 

6. Does "hair of the dog" really work to cure hangovers?

Nope — the "hair of the dog" is a myth. All it does is mask hangover symptoms temporarily while delaying the recovery process, which will only lead to a worse hangover later on.

7. How can I prevent hangovers in the first place?

There are several things that can help prevent hangovers: moderate your alcohol intake, stay hydrated, eat before and while drinking, choose lighter-colored drinks with fewer congeners, and ensure you get plenty of rest. Also, listen to your body and always feel free to say no if you’ve had enough!

Ready To Change Your Relationship With Alcohol in the New Year? Reframe Can Help!

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol. 

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today! 

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