New study finds tis the season for peak drinking and hangovers

Date Published

5th December 2019




New research out today reveals that almost two thirds (61%) of drinkers in the UK over-indulge with alcohol over the festive season more than they usually do, while one in five (18%) say they typically suffer more hangovers during this period.

A poll by independent alcohol charity Drinkaware finds drinkers who work are also more likely to feel pressured to drink at their festive work party (33%) than other times of year, such as New Year’s Eve (where 29% say they feel more pressure to drink) and Christmas Day (20%)*. And more than a quarter (29%) feel extra pressure to drink over the festive period with their work colleagues.

One in six UK drinkers (16%) admit to having done something they regret at a New Year’s Eve party because of alcohol. The same percent admit the same at a work party. This figure rises to almost a quarter (22%) when it comes to adults with children living at home. These respondents are also more likely to feel the pressure to drink on special seasonal occasions.

Drinkaware CEO Elaine Hindal says: “Bosses take note. This new research shows just how much drinking is ingrained within our work culture during the festive period, with many people feeling more pressure to drink.”

More than one in ten (13%) UK drinkers admit they avoid social occasions this festive season because of the pressure to drink alcohol.

Elaine adds: “The festive season can be a jolly time for some, and a stressful time for others. Whether you face juggling families, work and friends with festive celebrations or whether this time of year is particularly tough for you, there can be a number of triggers that make you feel pressured to drink more than you usually do.

“But drinking more than you’re used to can lead to mistakes, regrets and hangovers. In the long run, it can significantly increase your risk of developing a range of diseases if you’re regularly drinking over the recommended weekly 14 units a week.

“Keeping track of your drinks and staying in control will help you to enjoy everything December has to offer.”

The research from Drinkaware found that on average, men admit to consuming six drinks on Christmas Day. Using a common strength pint of beer or medium glass of wine as a measure, this is the equivalent of 14 units of alcohol. Women admit to having on average four and a half drinks on Christmas Day.

Elaine comments: “Interestingly, studies have shown people in the UK tend to significantly underestimate how much they drink. The amount of alcohol that people say they drink, for example, actually only represents about two thirds of all the alcohol sold.”**

Drinkaware recommends that you keep an eye on how much you are drinking and stay within the Chief Medical Officers’ low risk drinking guidelines of not exceeding 14 units of alcohol per week and spreading these over three or more days.

You are also urged to take at least three Drink Free Days every week and intersperse alcoholic drinks with water or soft drinks, eating food while drinking and avoiding drinking in rounds.

Learn more about Drink Free Days


About the research:

By the 'festive period', we mean the dates between 1st of December and 1st of January (i.e. New Year's Day). All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,402 adults of which 2,093 drink alcohol. Fieldwork was undertaken between 29th - 30th October 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).


* 29% of drinkers say they feel more pressure to drink on New Year’s Eve; 20% of drinkers say they feel more pressure to drink on Christmas Day