In physiological terms, the best time to drink is in the morning. That way, the alcohol will be out of your system by the time you go to bed. Then you can get a good night’s sleep and retain what you learned from previous days.
Sleep is critical for learning. If you drink the night before an exam you’ll forget up to 50% of the information you studied that day. Shockingly, you’ll forget 40% of the information you studied three days ago! (p. 274). Alcohol devastates the complex memory formation afforded by REM sleep.
You think alcohol helps you sleep better. It doesn’t. It just helps you become unconscious more quickly.
In social terms, we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place. It’s up to you to navigate that place.