Seven benefits of reducing your alcohol intake 

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Health Assured team

05 January 2022

With a new year comes fresh energy. And for some, that energy grants a chance to reset, restart and refocus on personal goals. But making these changes isn’t always easy. It takes time, energy and consistency to commit to new goals. On good days these commitments can come easy. But on difficult days when things don’t seem to go to plan? That’s when we need to remember our why. Why we started in the first place and how life will improve if we continue on this path.

This January, many people across the UK will join Dry January, a campaign encouraging people to ditch the drink. It offers a chance to wipe the slate clean and learn more about your drinking habits. You'll also be able to experience the seven benefits of reducing your alcohol intake below.

Better sleep 

Drinking alcohol plays havoc with your bodies natural sleep cycle. It reduces the amount of deep, restorative sleep we get. This kind of sleep re-energises us and helps us feel rested the next day. Sleep is the foundation for many other aspects of healthy living too. And Alcohol Change found that 70% of people taking part in Dry January experience better sleep¹. 

Improved mental health 

Because alcohol is a depressant, it can interfere with the delicate balance of chemicals in your brain. This interference can influence your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. In the short term it gives a confidence boost and numbs painful emotions. But when these effects wear off, negative feelings like depression and anxiety can soon take over. This cycle can be harmful to overall mental health. So when it's broken, many people find their mood is greatly improved. 

Weight loss

Two glasses of wine are equal to 318 calories, and two pints are equal to 364 calories. There's no denying that alcohol has a high-calorie intake. So it can be a big aid to weight loss when we cut back on our tipple of choice. Weight loss might not be your priority. But with weight loss comes better health, more energy and reduced risk of several health conditions. 

Financial wellbeing

Whether it’s from a bar or your fridge, drinking alcohol is an expensive hobby. So it’s hardly surprising that over 86% of people found they saved money when participating in Dry January¹. When we cut out this big expense, we free up room to invest in ourselves. Whether it’s saving for a rainy day, holiday or a new home—this financial freedom can lead to greater wellbeing. 

Long-term health boost

Drinking over the recommended alcohol consumption (14 units per week) increases your risk of serious health conditions including; liver disease, heart disease and bowel, mouth and breast cancer. It seems easy to dismiss these long-term illnesses as the future you’s problem. But the risk of these life-changing conditions is greatly reduced when we make our health a priority. 

Clearer skin 

Because alcohol dehydrates the body, it can give the skin a dull, grey twinge to it. When you cut back on your alcohol consumption, your skin will look brighter and clearer in just a couple of days. You’ll look and feel healthier, which can have a big impact on how you interact with the world around you. 

Time for new hobbies 

With your renewed sense of energy, improved mental health and extra pennies—you can make time for new, different hobbies. Try out new things you’ve always wanted to try and find joy in a new routine. You’re more likely to meet new people, learn new things and be open to new perspectives along the way. 

For guidance on reducing your alcohol intake, see our blog: 4 simple ways to reduce your alcohol intake

References 

¹ Alcohol Change. 2021: https://alcoholchange.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/dry-january/why-do-dry-january-1/why-do-dry-january

 

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