Short term benefits of drinking less
Deeper sleep. While some people say it helps them get to sleep, in actual fact, alcohol reduces sleep by interfering with the deep, restorative stages of sleep. Cutting back can help you feel less tired when you wake up and throughout the day, which can also benefit your mood and concentration.
Brighter skin. Alcohol dehydrates your skin making it appear dull and grey, however a couple days of no drinking or drinking less can bring the colour back to your face.
Increased energy and better concentration. With the effects alcohol has on sleep and mood, drinking too much can make you feel sluggish, fatigued and generally a little ‘off’ your best form, as well as reducing your ability to concentrate. Cutting down can help revive that energy and improve focus.
Weight management. Alcoholic beverages are high in calories. Reducing alcohol intake is a great way to cut down, and by reducing the amount of calories you’re drinking, you should notice the weight drop off.
Long term effects of drinking
Mood. There’s a strong link between excessive drinking and depression, and hangxiety is a thing! If you already have an anxious nature or find yourself often feeling low, drinking may worsen this and so reducing your intake may help to lift your mood.
Heart health. Drinking too much over a long period of time can lead to your heart becoming larger than it should be. The toxicity of alcohol damages and weakens the heart muscle, making it difficult for your heart to efficiently pump blood around your body. When it can’t pump enough blood, it starts to expand to hold the extra blood, resulting in the heart becoming thinned and enlarged.
Immune system. The immune system is also impaired by regular alcohol consumption and can affect your body’s ability to fight infection and disease. It affects all cells of the immune system, for example, alcohol can trigger inflammation in the gut and destroy microorganisms that live in the intestine and help to maintain immune system health. In recent decades, excessive alcohol consumption has been associated with a greater likelihood of acute respiratory stress syndrome, sepsis, alcohol liver disease and certain cancers as well as slower recovery from infection and physical trauma.
How to reduce alcohol intake?
If you think you’re drinking more than 14 units (typically 6 pints of beer or 10 small glasses of wine) of alcohol per week, here are some quick tips to help you cut down:
Create an action plan. Before you start drinking, set a limit on how much you’re going to drink to keep yourself accountable.
Tell someone. Let your friends and family in on your plan and let them know that you want to do this for you - they’ll support you no matter what.
Give yourself a budget. If you’re going out for drinks, only take enough cash for a drink or two.
One day at a time. If you’ve been drinking excessively, don’t go cold turkey. Cut back a little more each day and your success will spur you on further.
Change your glass. Opt for a smaller sized glass to drink from. Switch from pints to bottled beer or swap a large wine glass to a small one.
Reduce the strength. Choose a lower % ABV alcohol - look at the bottle and compare it to others to find one that works for you.
Drink water. Stay hydrated with a glass of water before drinking alcohol and alternate between non-alcoholic drinks and alcohol through the night. There are so many great alcohol alternatives out there these days, our favourite is of course TRIP CBD drinks.
Time off. Have a few days of not drinking each week. If you like to go out on the weekends, commit to alcohol-free Mondays to Thursdays.
What is a substitute for alcohol?
As we’ve seen, cutting alcohol intake has a wide range of health benefits both mentally and physically. But once you’ve removed or reduced alcoholic beverages from your evenings in or out, you may find that you’re struggling to replace the void left behind.
There are many alcohol-free alternatives you can choose from; alcohol-free beers and spirits are widely available and many find these drinks particularly helpful when reducing alcohol intake because they taste similar to the real deal.
Other alternatives could be delicious fruity mocktails, sophisticated soft drinks, herbal teas, coconut water, kombucha or CBD drinks.
At TRIP, we’re all about alcohol-free good times and our low calorie, low sugar CBD infused sparkling drinks could be just what you need - not to mention it may help you feel less anxious about not drinking. How? Our drinks, including Elderflower & Mint, Peach Ginger and Lemon Basil are full of adaptogens (natural botanicals) that can help the body adapt to the stress our bodies have to deal with on a daily basis. They can help the body adapt to these stressors, restoring and resetting your optimal balance. Click here to find out more about our CBD drinks.