Does drinking in the sun actually get you drunk faster?

With the sun comes the temptation to drink—but does it put our bodies at risk?

Two best friends having fun on the beach - stock photo
(Image credit: Getty Images / Westend61)

With summer on the horizon, we’re all searching for the best summer dresses, and stocking up on the best sunscreen for our faces. But with the sunshine also comes the temptation for icy cold beers and G&Ts—but can drinking in the sun actually make you drunker, faster?

There’s no better way to celebrate the summer months than by sharing fruity cocktails and cans of beer outside with friends. But something that seems very normal and innocent may be putting us more at risk. Medical experts at SwitchBack Travel explain what drinking in the sun actually does to our bodies.

Three women making a celebratory toast - stock photo

(Image credit: Getty Images / Dulin)

Does drinking in the sun get you drunk faster?

Technically, drinking in the sunshine does not make you drunker, faster—but it can increase the effects of alcohol. SwitchBack say: “Drinking in the heat will increase your body temperature to dangerous levels, which will result in issues down the line.”

One of these issues is dehydration. As the experts explain, alcohol on its own is severely dehydrating: “Alcohol is a diuretic, which is a substance that increases urine production. This is where the term ‘breaking the seal’ comes from, as we find ourselves using the bathroom more when we drink alcohol.”

So when you then add sun to the equation, you put yourself at even more risk of dehydration. Heat makes you sweat, so you lose more water and when you’re then drinking alcohol the loss of water in your system is even greater.

Happy Young Woman Holding Juice While Sitting Outdoors - stock photo

(Image credit: Getty Images / Credit: Davide Angelini / EyeEm)

A simple way to combat this is to drink a glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have, and opting for a shaded spot to sit will help keep your body cool.

Heat exhaustion is another issue that can come from drinking in the sun. The experts say: “Heat exhaustion occurs when you’re in a hot environment and your body is unable to regulate the temperature and cool yourself down.”

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, confusion, headaches, and aching in the arms, legs, and stomach. If you start to feel unwell it’s best to move inside and drink plenty of water.

Heat exhaustion can lead to more serious problems like heatstroke. Heatstroke is caused by your body retaining heat. 

Experts warn that alcohol alone affects the body's natural ability to regulate temperature: “When you start to heat up in the sun, your body will simply retain all the heat, rather than sweat and cool down that way.”

Symptoms of heatstroke include not sweating even though you’re hot; shortness of breath; and in serious cases, loss of consciousness. Seek medical advice if you experience any of these symptoms.

Another main issue with alcohol is that it affects your overall awareness: you can easily lose track of time and forget how long you’ve been in the sun, and forget to reapply your SPF. Remember to always reapply every two hours to avoid burns, and drink some water... Don't say we didn't warn you!

Naomi Jamieson
Naomi Jamieson

Naomi is trainee news writer who writes for My Imperfect life, Woman & Home and Goodto. Naomi writes articles from fashion trends and skincare to entertainment news.