5 things that will happen when you stop drinking alcohol

Are you considering quitting drinking alcohol? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people make the decision to stop drinking every year and for good reason. There are many health benefits to be gained from quitting alcohol, including improved mental and physical health, better sleep quality, and more money in your pocket.

In this article, we will explore five things that happen when you stop drinking alcohol that might encourage you to give it a go.

1: You’ll sleep better.

Alcohol is a known disruptor of sleep which can lead to poor quality sleep and frequent waking through the night. This is due to the way alcohol affects the body’s sleep stages.

There are four sleep stages, one of which is the rapid eye movement (REM) stage, where we dream. It stimulates the areas of your brain that are essential in learning and making and retaining memories. When this is disrupted it decreases your overall sleep quality, which can result in shorter sleep duration and waking more frequently.

Research has shown that the time of day that you drink affects the way the body metabolises alcohol so if you are to have an occasional drink, keeping it within early to mid-evening will disrupt your sleep the least with your body best prepared to process it.

When you stop drinking, you’ll likely find that your sleep quality improves dramatically. If you have been relying on alcohol’s sedative effect to get you off to sleep quickly, try some alternative bedtime routines to help the body and mind relax and prepare for sleep.

2: You’ll have more energy.

Once you stop drinking, you’ll quickly start to feel more energetic as your body begins to eliminate the toxins that were building up in your system due to alcohol consumption, your liver can function more efficiently and you reap the benefits of better sleep.

For more on how alcohol can impact energy levels, visit our related post:
Five ways alcohol affects your energy levels

3: You’ll save money.

Maybe an obvious one but if you are drinking regularly, quitting alcohol will save you a lot of money on drinks with dinner, glasses of wine at home and potentially transport costs if you can drive to your destination as the designated driver.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a “big drinker”, it’s an interesting experiment to add up how much money you could be saving and imagine what you could spend it on that would support your health rather than hinder it.

4: Your mood will improve

Alcohol is a known depressant, and can often lead to mood swings and feelings of anxiety or depression as it disrupts the balance of neurotransmitters in your brain.

Although alcohol can temporarily increase the body’s production of dopamine and serotonin, two of the body’s ‘happy hormones’, the long-term effect is to lower these as well as have a negative impact on blood sugar levels and hydration levels which all contribute to low energy and mood.

When you quit drinking, your mood will likely improve significantly as your dopamine levels normalise and your energy levels increase. You may find that this renews your motivation towards other healthy habits that start to have a ripple effect beyond your drinking habits.

5:  You’ll be less likely to develop alcohol-related health problems.

Alcohol consumption over time can take its toll on our internal organs and lead to a variety of health problems, including liver disease, heart disease, and pancreatitis.

Heavy drinking can also increase your blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, both of which are major risk factors for heart attacks and strokes (Source: NHS).

By quitting alcohol, you’ll reduce your risk of developing these and other serious health conditions and feel more energised and motivated to add habits that support your wellbeing further.