Washington: A hangover is the most commonly-reported negative consequence of alcohol consumption, and its effects on our thoughts and performance may last longer than we think, according to a new study.
A research conducted by psychologists at the University of Bath highlights that impairments in cognition seen when individuals are drunk are still present the day after when there is little to no alcohol left in the bloodstream.
Across the board, they highlight how hungover individuals have poorer attention, memory and psychomotor skills such as coordination and speed when compared to when sober.
The researchers suggest that their findings have important implications when it comes to activities performed when hungover, including driving.
For example, while hungover, individuals might typically wait until they believe there is no alcohol in the system before driving. These new results suggest that we could still be impaired in terms of the cognitive processes required, even after alcohol has left the bloodstream.
In addition, the researchers warn that although many workplaces have clear policies in place regarding alcohol intoxication at work, few cover the next day effects of alcohol.
For certain jobs, they suggest, employees should be aware of the real effects that hangovers can have, and employers might do well to consider revising guidelines on safety grounds.
Leader author Craig Gunn said, "In our review of 19 studies we found that hangover impaired psychomotor speed, short and long-term memory and sustained attention. Impaired performance in these abilities reflects poorer concentration and focus, decreased memory and reduced reaction times the day after an evening of heavy drinking."
Senior author Dr. Sally Adams added that the findings demonstrate how a hangover can have serious consequences for the performance of everyday activities such as driving and workplace skills like concentration and memory.
The researchers are now developing this work to further examine the true health and economic costs of a hangover and associated risks with the next day effects of heavy drinking.
The full findings are present in the journal Addiction.