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. Still, 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 these healthy trends must continue.”

Still not convinced? Here are 10 of the best reasons to go teetotal.

10 Benefits When You Stop To Drink Alcohol

You’ll Sleep Better

Contrary to popular belief, the idea that alcohol aids in better sleep is a myth. Extensive research has revealed that, while alcohol may indeed expedite the onset of sleep, its overall impact on sleep quality is significantly detrimental. This effect is particularly pronounced in individuals who engage in frequent alcohol consumption or excessive drinking. During the latter half of the sleep cycle, these individuals are more likely to experience sleep disturbances. Additionally, alcohol consumption notably reduces the amount of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, a critical phase for mental restoration and memory consolidation.

The implications of reduced REM sleep are far-reaching, especially concerning mental health. REM sleep is crucial for cognitive functions like learning, memory, and emotional processing. When this sleep stage is shortened or disrupted, it can lead to poor concentration, mood swings, and an overall sense of mental fog. This disruption in sleep architecture means that the quality is compromised even after achieving the recommended eight hours of sleep. The result is a feeling of grogginess and exhaustion the following day, which can impact mental clarity and overall well-being.

Thus, while the immediate sedative effects of alcohol might seem beneficial for falling asleep, the long-term consequences on sleep quality and mental health are significant. Reducing or eliminating frequent alcohol consumption can lead to more restful and restorative sleep, which is essential for both physical and mental health.

Feel More Energetic

Alcohol consumption demands significant energy from the body, especially in detoxifying and processing the toxins which strain the liver. This strain impairs the liver’s ability to effectively manage blood sugar levels, leading to fluctuating energy levels. Additionally, alcohol’s diuretic properties cause the loss of crucial energy-producing nutrients like magnesium and vitamin B1.

Quitting alcohol or choosing to stop drinking can remarkably boost your energy levels. Without alcohol’s burden, your liver can better regulate glucose, stabilizing your energy. Also, retaining essential vitamins and minerals enhances overall vitality. Many who quit alcohol report increased alertness and improved physical and mental well-being, underscoring the benefits of this lifestyle change.

Feel Happier

The belief that alcohol brings happiness is misleading. Alcohol’s initial mood-boosting effects are temporary and, in the long run, it disrupts serotonin production, the neurotransmitter associated with happiness. This can lead to depression and anxiety, creating a cycle where more alcohol is consumed to regain temporary happiness, only to worsen mood further.

Abstaining from alcohol helps maintain a natural serotonin balance, improving mental health and leading to more consistent happiness, showing that avoiding alcohol is beneficial for long-term emotional well-being.

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.

Enjoy sex more

While alcohol can make you feel more playful, it can 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.

Reach a healthy weight

Have you ever thought 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 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.

Improve heart health and blood pressure

Alcohol use is linked to high blood pressure, which can cause heart attacks and stroke. Therefore, cutting your intake to 14 units a week or going teetotal will lower your blood pressure and improve your heart health.

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 and a dry texture and may deplete your skin with the necessary vitamins and minerals. It can also impact your hormone balance, which can lead to breakouts. Reducing your alcohol intake will improve skin tone and texture for glowing, plumper-looking skin.

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 sticking to a consistent exercise routine much more challenging. Think about it: if you’ve had a few drinks the night before, it’s more challenging to get out of bed for an early morning workout. You’re much more likely to hit snooze and roll over.

Enjoy your weekend

A big Friday or Saturday night inevitably means 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; think about what you could do with all that time instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

When you adopt a teetotal lifestyle and stop drinking alcohol, your body undergoes several positive changes. Initially, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, especially if you had heavy drinking habits. However, these soon give way to health benefits like improved liver function, reduced risk of liver disease and heart disease, better sleep quality, and potentially a healthier weight. The absence of alcohol allows your body to recover and function more effectively.

Yes, leading an alcohol-free life can have numerous health benefits. It reduces the risk of alcohol-related diseases, including liver disease and certain types of heart disease. It also contributes to better overall health, including skin health and a healthier weight.

Studies suggest that non-drinkers, especially those who avoid heavy drinking habits or binge drinking, may have a longer lifespan. This is due to the lower risk of alcohol-related health issues like liver disease, heart disease, and certain cancers.

A teetotal lifestyle can positively impact skin health, often resulting in a more youthful appearance. Alcohol can dehydrate the skin and impede its natural healing processes, so avoiding alcoholic drinks can help maintain healthier, more radiant skin.

Teetotalers often report improved mental health and overall happiness. Stopping alcohol consumption can reduce the risk of mental health issues linked to alcohol use disorder and can lead to a more stable and positive mood.

Many non-drinkers experience a greater sense of well-being and happiness. This can be attributed to the absence of alcohol-related health and mental health issues, as well as the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.

Quitting alcohol can lead to a significant boost in mental health and overall happiness. This is due to improved sleep quality, reduced risk of mental health issues, and the elimination of the depressive effects of alcohol on the brain.

Life without alcohol does not have to be boring. Many find that they save money, engage in healthier activities, and form more meaningful connections without the influence of alcohol. It can also open up new hobbies and interests that were overshadowed by the time spent drinking alcohol.