The Benefits of Drinking Less Alcohol

While there’s so much joy in catching up with friends over drinks or pairing a glass of wine with a special meal, alcohol can certainly have its downsides. From hangovers to trouble sleeping, some nights might leave you wishing you’d asked for a mocktail instead. Plus, with the rise of the sober curious movement, you wouldn’t be alone: many are taking the time to rethink their relationship with alcohol, and pausing to truly consider whether a drink is what they want. 

If cutting back your alcohol intake is something you’re considering, you might be wondering what the benefits are. We’re glad you asked!

1. Better Sleep
We’ll start with one of the benefits you’ll notice early: drinking less alcohol = much better sleep. You may not have a problem falling asleep after having a drink, but alcohol actually affects overall sleep quality, reducing REM sleep, which is known as one of the most restorative stages. Disrupted REM sleep can really affect everything, making you feel more tired and sluggish throughout the day. With this knowledge in mind, decreasing your alcohol intake has the opposite effect, allowing you to get the rest you need to feel your best.

If you typically enjoy alcohol with dinner or in the evenings, consider swapping for a sparkling beverage like this one from Vybes. And if you’re looking for more of a cocktail vibe, Aplós is a wonderful option. It’s infused with CBD, which gives you the calming effect a glass of wine might, without disrupting your sleep. 

2. More Energy (& Improved Concentration)
Hand in hand with better sleep comes more energy and a boost in concentration. This is partially due to REM sleep like we mentioned above, but too much alcohol during the week can also affect your concentration levels. When it comes to that big work presentation or a personal project you’ve been chugging away on, cutting back can certainly have an impact. You’ll likely have more energy to spend with friends and family as well as doing the things you love the most. 

3. Healthier Skin 
There’s a reason drinking water alongside alcohol is recommended: that margarita or glass of wine can dehydrate you. It can also inflame your skin, leading to bloat or puffiness. By cutting down your intake or even designating a few “alcohol-free” days, you’ll likely notice your skin start to look brighter and healthier. 

4. A Brighter Mood
If you’ve been feeling stressed or anxious lately, drinking may have been making it worse. Too much alcohol interferes with the neurotransmitters in the brain, which can lead to feelings of depression or anxiety. With less alcohol, your mood will likely improve, and you might even want to consider swapping your favorite bev for a non-alcoholic drink with mood-boosting ingredients. The Recess Mood Sampler is a great place to start!

5. A Happier Immune System
No one likes to be sick, and, you guessed it, consistent drinking can weaken your immune system. We’d happily trade an evening drink or two if it meant staying away from colds, flus, and other illnesses!

While there’s nothing wrong with choosing to enjoy a drink every now and then, cutting down on how much alcohol you consume on a weekly basis can have its benefits. Give it a try and see how you feel, you might find swapping cocktails for mocktails a change that’s more than worth it. 

A note from Standard Dose: If you’re concerned you may be experiencing alcohol dependence, we encourage you to seek medical advice. The sober curious movement is not designed to address serious alcohol issues, and we recommend using this navigator from the NIAAA to help you find an approach that’s right for you.

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