Archive | May, 2014

Aim for an extra ‘alcohol free day’?

5 May
Mocktail anyone?

Mocktail anyone?

‘Brief advice bullets’ are motivators or tips to offer to people contemplating cutting down their drinking, like improved sleep, switching to lower strength drinks or reduced hangovers. However one of the most achievable goals for many drinkers seems to be to aim for an extra alcohol free day or two within the week.

Adding an extra alcohol free day often works best for those who have got into a ‘regular’ drinking pattern, perhaps without realising it.  The biggest trend in alcohol consumption has been the rise in home drinking, often synonymous with ‘a glass of wine to relax at the end of the day’.

Many such drinkers may have assumed that because they are not ‘binge drinking’, there are not significant health risks. Yet someone drinking an average of 2 medium glasses of 13% wine each night is clocking up around 32 units a week. Adding just two alcohol free nights will bring that down to around 23 units, much closer to the weekly guideline of 21 for men.

However since the recommended guidelines were changed from a weekly to a daily guideline, one of the concerns is that the message of at least two alcohol free days has been lost. Do most people realise that ‘not regularly exceeding 2 to 3 units (women) or 3 to 4 units (men)’ means having at least two nights of a week off the sauce? Even drinking five nights of the week within the daily guidelines seems a little too close to a ‘habit’ for my comfort. Perhaps the forthcoming change to the alcohol consumption guideline will better account for alcohol free days.

Of course like all ‘ brief advice bullets’, aiming to add an extra alcohol free night or two won’t appeal to everyone. But over the course of a week, a month, a year.. those health, financial or functioning improvements could really add up.