When you go out for the night and drink, you probably give some thought to what will happen the next day. Maybe you have to work and you keep that in mind while you’re drinking. Or, you just want to make sure you get to bed early enough to sleep it off, thinking you won’t feel as horrible the next day if you do.
Sleeping it off is OK, as long as you don’t plan on sleeping and getting up to drive. A lot of people have done this and, much to their shock, they discover they’re still drunk the next morning. That’s because they didn’t allow their body enough time to process the alcohol.
Just to give you a rough idea, the average person takes approximately two hours to process one drink. That rule holds true whether you’re drinking hard alcohol, beer, or wine. It also takes the same amount of time to process that drink even if you eat a big meal to ‘soak up’ the alcohol or have a cold shower to ‘sober up.’
Imagine if you go out for dinner at 7pm and have 2 glasses of wine. You head over to the pub with friends and have 3 bottles of beer and one tequila shot, and your last drink was at one am. Your body would have started to metabolize the alcohol at dinner, but it would be 12 hours later by the time all of the alcohol leaves your system.
Even if you’ve metabolized a large portion of the alcohol by 8 am, you could still be register over .08 when you get behind the wheel to go to work or home. And if you’re stopped while driving drunk, even if you didn’t intend to, you’ll receive the same jail time, fines, and ignition interlock program as anyone who made the decision to get behind the wheel drunk.
If you plan on going out for the evening, do these two things: choose a designated driver or call a ride share company to get you home, and plan on what you’ll be doing if you’re still drunk the next morning. You need to give your body time to work its way through all of the alcohol you drank, so if your plans involve driving, you might want to find another way to get to where you’d like to go.