Day drinking: Does it affect you differently than drinking at night?

Have you ever wondered whether drinking alcohol during the day affects you differently to at night? Here we find out.

As summer approaches, so do backyard barbecues, pool parties, and picnics in the park. Which means there's an increased likelihood that you might be drinking alcohol throughout the day. People often feel like drinking through the day affects them differently than at night. But is this true? What is the difference?

You may not feel the effects of alcohol as much

Whether it’s at a barbecue or a picnic, when we drink during the day there’s more likely to be food around. As Dr Alicia Shelly, an internal medicine doctor, told HuffPost:

When people drink during the day, it’s usually with food. Food slows down the absorption of alcohol and the effects of alcohol are decreased.

However, not feeling the effects of alcohol can lead to us drinking more, a point we'll come back to later.

You risk dehydration

Drinking during the day can increase the risk of dehydration. Dr Shelly says:

We know that alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the body and during the day this dehydration can be amplified by being in the sun, which can be dangerous.

Harris Stratyner, regional clinical vice president of Caron Treatment Center's New York Recovery Services, told Women's Health that dehydration can cause your potassium levels to decrease, your magnesium levels to change, and increase the risk for heart problems and other serious health issues.

How does drinking alcohol during the day affect you differently than at night? Nicole Herrero / Unsplash

You consume more sugar

Whether it’s a mimosa with brunch or an Aperol spritz, on a warm summer’s day you’re more likely to drink sugary drinks like cocktails or mixed drinks. And we all know that too much sugar isn't good for you. Family medicine doctor Dr. Sandra Luyindula told HuffPost:

If you’re drinking something sugary, like a margarita or daiquiri, the sugar slows down the absorption of alcohol in the bloodstream, so a lot of people end up drinking more to feel the effects of the alcohol. Also, not tasting the alcohol as much [in a sugary drink] can make people drink more.

Which brings us to our next point…

You drink more

Drinking during the day means that you’re likely drinking over a longer period of time than you would at night. Combined with potential dehydration, that means you’re likely to drink more. Physician nutrition specialist and coauthor of The Calendar Diet, Melina Jampolis, told Women's Health:

If it's hot, too, and you are drinking to satisfy thirst, you are likely to drink even more and possibly faster.

Read more:

3 types of medicines you should never mix with alcohol

Drinking: This is what alcohol does to your skin

Drinking alcohol can have this surprising benefit, study shows

Drinking hot water may be good for your health, here's how Drinking hot water may be good for your health, here's how