If you have a few drinks and you know you are too impaired to drive, you probably figure that you can just sleep off the alcohol and be fine to drive once you wake up. However, rushing back to driving might not be a wise decision. You may not be as alert as you should be after waking up.
Since consuming alcohol can make you drowsy, going to sleep should be easy. According to WebMD, the problem is that alcohol impacts the quality of your sleep.
A lack of REM sleep
Alcohol can disrupt your sleep cycle and prevent you from spending a lot of time in REM sleep, which is what your body requires to feel rejuvenated. Instead, your sleep is lighter than you need to restore your energy. You could also experience tossing and turning. As a result, you will still feel fatigued and worn out when you wake up.
Consuming alcohol before sleeping can also impact your dreams. Because alcohol interferes with your REM sleep, you might have very strange or disturbing dreams. They may trouble you enough that you wake up. Going back to sleep may be difficult, or you might not want to go back to sleep for fear of having another nightmare.
The problem with having alcoholic drinks before bed is that you might wake up during the night to go to the bathroom. You could require multiple restroom trips. The lack of continuous sleep will likely leave you in an exhausted state when you wake up.
Consider a longer wait before driving
Driving after a poor sleep period could put you at risk of getting into an accident. You might even get an arrest for DUI because your blood alcohol content is still high despite your efforts to sleep it off. Waiting for your body to fully dispose of the alcoholic drinks you had the night before may help you avoid drawing the attention of the police when you decide to drive again.