The effects of a heavy drinking session can impair driving ability for longer than people think, according to a study by psychologists at the University of Bath.

Published in the journal, Addiction, the research highlights that cognitive impairment seen when individuals are drunk is still present the day after, even when there is little to no alcohol left in the bloodstream.

Hungover individuals have poorer attention, memory and psychomotor skills such as coordination and speed when compared to when sober, the researchers found. And they highlight the important implications on activities performed when hungover, including driving.

For example, after drinking, individuals might typically wait until they believe there is no alcohol in the system before driving. This new research suggests that drivers could still be impaired in terms of the cognitive processes required, even after alcohol has left the bloodstream.

“In our review of 19 studies we found that hangover impaired psychomotor speed, short and long term memory and sustained attention,” said leader author Craig Gunn from the Department of Psychology at the University of Bath. “Impaired performance in these abilities reflects poorer concentration and focus, decreased memory and reduced reaction times the day after an evening of heavy drinking.”

The full study, A Systematic Review of the Effects of Alcohol Hangover on Cognitive Performance is published in the journal, Addiction.