Lots of people indulge in daytime drinking on weekends. Whether at barbeques, parties, concerts and events or when just letting loose at home on a lazy afternoon.
This is a habit that’s becoming increasingly problematic, especially among women, says Harris Stratyner, Ph.D, regional clinical vice president of Caron Treatment Center’s New York Recovery Services. Alcohol at any time of day carries its own set of risks, but day drinking especially can lead to some surprising and serious consequences. Here, five reasons to avoid that mid-afternoon bender:
#1 It Can Become a Habit
It is easy for alcohol to become a mainstay at your weekend activities. For many women, “day drinking is the new bridge club or coffee gathering,” says Stratyner. “I am seeing it more and more in women and younger moms, who will drink ‘acceptable drinks,’ starting with blood mary’s and mimosas.” It may seem harmless and almost normal, but don’t forget that you’re still drinking, and you might even be knocking back more than you would on a night out. We get it—sometimes it feels impossible to plan an outing with friends that doesn’t require a designated driver.
#2 You Can Get Dehydrated—Fast
Between BBQs, pool parties, and beach vacations, the daytime weekends are packed with opportunities to drink al fresco. But sipping in the heat can quickly make you dehydrated—your potassium levels will drop, your magnesium levels will shift, and it can put you at risk for heart problems and other serious health issues, says Stratyner.
So if you know you’re going to have a drink out in the sun, make sure to chase it with water. “I always suggest alternating a glass of alcohol with a glass of water, day or night, to slow consumption. If you are drinking outside, I would really limit or avoid hard liquor, since it is 45 percent alcohol and more dehydrating
#3 You’ll Probably Drink Way More than You Expect
Day drinking means you’ll likely be sipping for a much longer period of time than you would if you just had a few drinks at a bar after dinner. That’s definitely the case if you’re at an outdoor party or festival all day long and it’s easier to grab a beer than a water bottle. “If it’s hot, too, and you are drinking to satisfy thirst, you are likely to drink even more and possibly faster,” says Jampolis. “Especially if you are just drinking and not eating a meal to slow yourself down.” So no matter when you start, set a limit for yourself and stick to it. (As a general guideline, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines moderate drinking as no more than three drinks per day for women.)
#4 It Can Lead to a Sunburn
A study in the British Journal of Dermatology showed that consuming just one drink a day raised a person’s risk of melanoma by 20 percent. This might be because alcohol metabolizes into the compound acetaldehyde, which may cause the body to be even more susceptible to UV rays. Another reason? Alcohol might simply lower a person’s conscientiousness about staying safe in the sun, putting you at risk for a sunburn in the short-term and potentially cancer in the long run.
#5 You’ll Be More Prone to Accidents
Beyond day drinking’s direct effects on the body, you also have to watch out for the indirect effects. “Emergency rooms are actually seeing more accidents involving women as a result of drinking,” says Stratyner. “Drinking rises in the summer with BBQs and parties, and accidents are also increasing. The incidents include burns from the grill, cuts from dropping knives, or lifting objects you may not perceive as too heavy.” Plus, alcohol messes with your mindfulness, which can be especially dangerous if you’re outdoors. The bottom line: Lay off the poolside piña coladas this summer—or at least limit your consumption to just one or two.