There’s a significant shift away from drinking worldwide, with more people wanting to live healthier, cleaner, more conscious lives. Following this trend, a new study has shown that, in the UK, the nation’s youth are definitely drinking less on average. Among young adults between the ages of 16 and 24, only 44% had drunk in the last week, compared to nearly 70% in 2002.
Drinking is still a big part of British culture, but the amount of alcohol consumed per person has been declining since its peak in the mid-2000s and there are signs that the decrease in alcohol consumption is being accelerated, in part, by COVID.
Britons’ relationship with alcohol is changing, as many are drinking less and some have stopped entirely. One survey showed that one in three adults (14 million people) are taking steps to reduce or stop their consumption. Interestingly, 6% of adults said they had stopped drinking entirely.
Prof Sir Ian Gilmore, chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK, has hailed the news as a breakthrough, as people are starting to take their health seriously, “cutting down on alcohol will not only improve our own health, but it will help to protect the NHS long term, and so it is important that these healthy trends continue.”
Still not convinced? Here are 10 of the best reasons to go teetotal (and switch to CBD instead):
1. You’ll Sleep Better
It’s a common myth that alcohol makes you sleep better. But research shows that, while it can make you fall asleep more quickly, it has a dramatic negative impact on your sleep quality. You’re much more likely to experience disrupted sleep during the second half of your sleep, and the amount of REM sleep that you get goes down too. The result of this is that, even if you get your eight hours of sleep, you’re still going to feel foggy and exhausted the following day.
2. Feel more energetic
Alcohol does more than just interrupt your sleep; it also causes your body to have to redirect extra resources to processing and getting rid of the toxins from your body. It puts strain on your liver which means that it’s not able to store and release glucose as effectively, and its diuretic effects cause you to lose important vitamins and minerals that your body needs for producing energy (such as magnesium and vitamin B1).
3. Feel happier
This is a confusing one; after all, most people drink to feel happy. Unfortunately, studies show that alcohol has a long-term negative impact on your happiness because it disrupts the production of serotonin, the body’s happiness hormone. And when that happy, you’re more prone to feeling depressed and anxious. This can turn into a self-perpetuating cycle as you then want a drink to feel happier again, which then makes you feel even more depressed. Abstaining, as it turns out, is better for your mental health and, consequently, your happiness.
4. Work smarter
When your energy and focus are good, you’ll be more productive. Cutting out alcohol has been shown to decrease concentration, and because it makes you more tired, you’re performance will decrease.
5. Enjoy sex more
While alcohol can definitely make you feel more playful, it can actually have a significant negative impact on your sexual performance. For men, frequent alcohol use makes it difficult to achieve and maintain an erection, and for women, it is more difficult to orgasm. Also, whether you’re male or female, alcohol can decrease libido.
6. Reach a healthy weight
Have you ever stopped to think about how many calories you consume when you drink? A glass of wine can easily have 200 calories, while beer is even more. Think about it: 200 calories is around half a bowl of pasta. So, by the time you’ve had two glasses of wine, you’ve had the equivalent of a big bowl of pasta which is why you might be struggling with weight gain despite being conscious of eating a healthy diet.
This is not about the need to lose or gain weight in order to fit in with societal pressure; this is about feeling comfortable and healthy in your own skin. Alcohol complicates things further because it is a depressant that can exacerbate body dysmorphia and food addictions.
7. Improve heart health and blood pressure
Alcohol use is linked to high blood pressure, which can cause heart attacks and stroke. Therefore, cutting down your intake to the recommended 14 units a week or going teetotal will lower your blood pressure and improve your heart health.
8. Younger-looking skin
Because alcohol is a diuretic (it dehydrates you), this can have a dramatic impact on your skin. It can lead to puffiness, a dry texture and may deplete your skin of necessary vitamins and minerals. It can also impact your hormone balance which leads to breakouts. Reducing your alcohol intake will therefore improve skin tone and texture for glowing, plumper-looking skin.
9. Recover Faster
If you’re an athlete or enjoy working out, you may need to cut out alcohol altogether. It slows post-exercise recovery and makes it much more challenging to stick to a consistent exercise routine. Think about it, if you’ve had a few drinks the night before, it’s more difficult to get out of bed for an early morning workout. You’re much more likely to hit snooze and rollover.
10. Enjoy your weekends
A big Friday or Saturday night inevitably means that you’ll wake up with a hangover and spend the rest of the day between your bed, the couch and the fridge. But that means you’ve already lost half the weekend, just think about what you could be doing with all that time instead.
With summer just around the corner, now’s the perfect time to make a change. We’ve covered the top 10 benefits, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Why not cut back on the alcohol and see how things go?