Managing your alcohol intake

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While alcohol may feel like it can ‘take the edge off’ and help us feel a little more relaxed in the moment, too much, too often has some damaging consequences.

Feedback from our Evergreen Life community shows that people who drink more alcohol also consume more processed meats, sugary drinks and have a lower quality of sleep. That’s a quadruple whammy.‍

🍷 🥱 Did you know that people who drink more alcohol tend to have a lower quality of sleep because alcohol can disrupt your levels of a chemical in the brain called adenosine? Adenosine influences your sleepiness; it's increased with alcohol but then quickly subsides after a few hours, which is why you might fall asleep quickly and then wake up in the night.

Drinking too much alcohol:

  • Can interfere with your sleep
  • Can make anxiety and depression worse
  • May make you put on weight
  • Makes existing conditions worse, like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure
  • Can damage your body and reduce your resistance to diseases
  • Makes you more prone to accidents and risky behaviour

So, it may be a good time to really think about your drinking and how you might reduce it. Here are our tips on how to do that.

If you feel that alcohol is having a bad effect on your life, do contact your GP. There is lots of help available.

8 ACTIONS TO HELP REDUCE YOUR ALCOHOL INTAKE  

1. Make a plan. Before you start drinking, set a limit on how much you're going to drink. You can find a link to a unit calculator at the end of this article.

Person writing in a diary or journal next to a laptop.

2. Set a budget. Write down how much you’re spending on alcohol each week. The results may surprise you. Ask yourself if you want to be spending this much on alcohol.

A person doing sums on a calculating. Setting a budget.

3. Let friends and family know. Let your friends and family know you're cutting down and that it's important to you. Ask them to support you, to reduce offers of alcohol.

Hands joined together.

4. Cut back on alcohol a little each time you drink. That way, you’re always taking a positive step forward. If you slip up along the way don't worry, you can start afresh the moment you decide that's what you want to do.

A person walking along stepping stones.

5. Make it a smaller one. You can still enjoy a drink but go for smaller sizes. Try bottled beer instead of cans or pints, or a small glass of wine instead of a large one.

Two small glasses of alcohol.

6. Have a lower-strength drink. Cut down the alcohol by swapping strong beers or wines for ones with a lower strength (ABV in %). You'll find this information on the bottle. Alternatively, you could go for a non-alcoholic beer or drink instead.  

A glass of low alcohol beer with a zero and percentage sign.

7. Stay hydrated. Have a glass of water before you have alcohol and alternate alcoholic drinks with water or other non-alcoholic drinks.

A glass of water.

8. Take a break. Have several drink-free days each week. That, of course, doesn’t mean binge drinking to ‘catch up’ on all the alcohol free days you missed! But why not take a moment to get curious about why you drink - it may be to relax or socialise, it’ll vary between people - are there other healthier ways to achieve the same outcomes?

Numbers on a calendar.

The maximum number of units of alcohol suggested per week is 14 for men and women, but of course that doesn’t mean you have to drink that much!

The image below shows how many units there are in different types of alcohol.  

Number of alcohol units in different drinks.

Taking control of your health and wellbeing doesn’t always feel easy but cutting down on alcohol can have many benefits, and we’d love to support you if you decide you want to make any changes.

The Evergreen Life can help you notice areas of your wellbeing where you could improve, with questionnaires on alcohol consumption, sleep, fitness, and more. If you’d like more support with taking control of your health, you can download the app by clicking below:

References
Written by
Anna Keeble BA MA

Meet Anna Keeble, Head of Content and Wellbeing Expert at Evergreen Life.

Article updated:
June 14, 2022
Reviewed by: