Reasons for cutting down on alcohol
Cutting back on alcohol? You could be in for some pleasant surprises.
A sound night’s sleep. Brighter skin. More time and energy. Cutting back on alcohol can have positive effects on the way you look and feel – often within just a few days. And at the same time, you’ll be reducing your longer term risk of serious illnesses such as cancer and liver and heart disease.
If you’ve decided to cut back, here are some benefits to look out for.
Alcohol affects your sleep. When you drink you spend less time in the deep, restorative stages of sleep. You’re also more likely to wake early and find it hard to drop off again. By cutting back on alcohol, the quality of your sleep should improve, which can also benefit your mood and help your ability to concentrate.1,2
Alcohol can make stress and anxiety worse. This is because drinking too much interferes with the neurotransmitters in our brains, so alcohol can affect your mental health. Drinking less can mean that you feel happier, more of the time. Try keeping a mood diary to see if you notice the difference.2
With its negative effects on your sleep and mood, drinking too much can make you feel tired, sluggish and generally a bit under the weather. Drink less and it shouldn’t take too long before you notice that you have more energy.2
You don’t have to have a hangover for alcohol to start affecting you at work. Regularly drinking above the UK Chief Medical Officers' (CMO) low risk drinking guidelines (no more than 14 units per week for men and women) affects your concentration and ability to work. Cutting down on alcohol can help you feel less stressed and enjoy more of a work-life balance.2
Alcohol dehydrates your skin making it appear dull and grey. However, after just a couple of days of drinking less you might already notice your skin starting to look better.2
Alcoholic drinks are high in calories. Cutting down on drinking is a great way to cut back on empty calories. And by reducing the amount of calories you’re consuming, you should start to notice that you’re losing weight.2
Did you know 2 glasses of wine (175ml) is the equivalent of 318 calories? Use our Unit and Calorie Calculator to find out what's in your drink.
Alcohol can cause lots of problems for your stomach and digestive system including heartburn, IBS and gastritis. By cutting back you should notice a positive effect on your digestive system.3,4,5
If you tend to drink in the same place, or at the same time, or with the same people, cutting back may mean you change your routine. By doing something different with your time you could discover new interests and meet new people. You might even save some money too.
Drink-free days are a great way to find new activities and reduce how much you drink.
Cutting down on alcohol will reduce your risk of developing seven types of cancer, as well as reducing your risk of liver or heart disease. It could even lower your blood pressure.6 You may not be able to see the difference you’re making, but by drinking within the UK Chief Medical Officers' (CMO) low risk drinking guidelines, you can be confident you’re helping your long term health.
Arming yourself with strategies and tips can help you or a loved one take small steps towards big results.
 Ebrahim, I. O., Shapiro, C. M., Williams, A. J., & Fenwick, P. B. (2013). Alcohol and sleep I: effects on normal sleep. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 37(4), 539-549.