Health & Beauty

5 Positive Health Benefits To Expect After Cutting Back On Booze

By Morgan Reardon
22nd Mar 2023

Person standing in front of the ocean wearing active wear

Whether it’s a few glasses of wine with your mates after work, or a couple of beers at a weekend BBQ, sometimes a few drinks can turn into a few too many. And while we don’t want to be a buzzkill, if you did a quick survey of your friends, how many would know the recommended weekly alcohol intake?

FYI it’s no more than 10 standard drinks in a week, and no more than four standard drinks on any one day. Real talk: Queensland adults have the highest average number of drinks consumed per week compared to the rest of Australia. While we might like to have a cheeky tipple here and there, boozing too much on the regular can lead to some pretty serious health issues.

Because we all want to be living our best lives, we’ve rounded up five health benefits you can expect after cutting back on the booze—take note. 

Better Sleep

One of the quickest health benefits you can expect to see from ditching your nightly glass of booze? A much better snooze. Because booze is a central nervous system depressant that causes brain activity to slow down, a few tipples can leave you feeling relaxed and make it feel like it’s easier to fall asleep. However, as the night progresses and your liver enzymes metabolise alcohol, you’re much more likely to wake up at night, stopping you from getting REM sleep aka the good stuff that leaves you feeling energised and clear-headed the next day. According to the Sleep Foundation, just two standard drinks for women and three for men, can decrease your sleep quality by up to 39%. So instead of pouring a glass of red to unwind after a long day, opt for herbal tea instead. 

Improve Your Immunity

Real talk: you don't have to be a heavy drinker for alcohol to affect your immune system. In fact, according to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, consuming just five drinks in a single session can suppress your white blood cell production (the cells that help fight bacteria and germs), for up to 24 hours. Drinking alcohol can also affect the immune cells that protect your lungs, with heavy boozing resulting in lung tissue damage leading to things like pneumonia and respiratory tract infections. By simply saying no to booze, you’re supporting your body’s natural defence system and nothing is more important than that. 

Up Your Memory Game

Ever woke up the morning after a couple of drinks with a case of brain fog? It turns out alcohol consumption affects brain function because booze—even moderate amounts—can cause shrinkage to your hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls memory and learning. By cutting out your alcohol intake, you can improve your memory and have better focus and attention in just six weeks. You've just got to remember to stick to it. Want to learn more about this? The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology talks about this and more.

Increase Your Energy Levels

With reduced alcohol intake resulting in better sleep, it stands to reason that you’ll also increase your energy levels throughout the day. But another thing you might not be aware of is that booze is a diuretic, which means it removes fluid from your body leading to dehydration. And a dehydrated body is a fatigued one. This leads to headaches, lack of strength and inability to focus, which all result in low energy levels. So next time you’re celebrating with a glass of champers, opt for soda water instead to keep your energy levels high. Or even better, space your drinks out and alternate the boozy ones with water. 

Improve Mental Wellbeing

We’ve all experienced a bit of 'hangxiety' after a night on the sauce. The cringe-inducing flashbacks, fringed with panic as you remember how you overshared about your love life to your boss at after-work drinks or the drunken text message you sent to your ex that seemed like a really good idea at the time. Reducing your alcohol intake will not only mean these lapses of judgement are less likely to happen but it’s also shown to improve levels of depression and anxiety. Why? Well, according to the National Library of Medicine, when the brain releases dopamine and serotonin (the feel-good chemicals), it takes time to replenish those stores. It takes time to replenish those stores. And the flat feeling you have after drinking is your body’s way of saying you’ve had too much.

That second cocktail doesn’t sound as tempting when you realise the negative effects it’s having on your body, right? Need help reducing your alcohol intake? Visit the Your Drinking site or ADIS for support and information. 

Editor’s note: this article was produced in partnership with Queensland Health. Thank you for supporting the partners who make Urban List possible. To read our editorial policy, click here.

Image: Urban List.

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.