Skip to main content

Warning notification:Warning

Unfortunately, you are using an outdated browser. Please, upgrade your browser to improve your experience with HSE. The list of supported browsers:

  1. Chrome
  2. Edge
  3. FireFox
  4. Opera
  5. Safari

Benefits of cutting down or giving up alcohol

A better relationship with alcohol can mean better relationships with the people you care about.

This can mean:

  • more quality time together
  • fewer arguments
  • the chance to bond over different activities
  • less tension

No more hangovers

You may spend your weekends nursing a hangover or suffering from ‘the fear’. This is the low mood that often follows a night’s drinking.

To wake up with a clear head and feeling energetic can be a welcome break. This will help you to make the most of your free time.

Taking the focus off alcohol can give you new experiences that do not involve drinking.

Hangovers and feeling down

More money

1 in 3 Irish people spend between €30 to €75 a week on alcohol. Depending on how much you drink, you could save a lot by cutting back.

An extra €150 a month could give you:

  • a family holiday every year
  • around 8 years and €50,000 off a 30-year mortgage worth €300,000
  • dinners out, sports or theatre tickets every month
  • a monthly treat - some new clothes, fancy gadgets or something special

Taking a break from alcohol or cutting down is one of the best things you can do for your health.


Use our drinks calculator to find out how your drinking affects your health, finances and weight.

Benefits of taking a break or cutting down

The less you drink, the lower the risk to your health.

Short-term benefits of taking a break or cutting down can include:

  • lower blood sugar
  • lower blood pressure
  • fewer alcohol-related symptoms, like headaches, heartburn, indigestion and stomach upsets
  • less fatty build-up around the liver
  • improving existing conditions - depression, high blood pressure or skin conditions such as rosacea
  • better sleep
  • more energy
  • weight loss
  • better absorption of nutrients like vitamins B1 and B12, folic acid and zinc
  • fewer injuries

Weekly low-risk alcohol guidelines

Drinking within the recommended weekly low-risk alcohol guidelines has long-term benefits.

The benefits include greatly reducing your risk of:

  • high blood pressure and strokes
  • depression and anxiety
  • 7 kinds of cancer
  • liver disease
  • many other alcohol-related conditions

Alcohol and cancer

Effects of alcohol on blood pressure and the heart

Weight loss

Alcohol has almost the same calories per gram as pure fat. If you’re trying to lose weight, cutting back on alcohol will help.

Late-night snacking after drinks and junk food binges when you're hungover can also lead to weight gain.

Alcohol and weight gain

Better sleep

Alcohol can reduce the amount of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep you get. This can make you feel drowsy and affect your concentration during the day.

You might need to give your body time to adjust to falling asleep without alcohol. Once you do, you should find yourself more rested and full of energy.

Problems sleeping

Non-urgent advice: Get help with problem alcohol use

Freephone 1800 459 459 for confidential advice

Page last reviewed: 23 September 2022
Next review due: 23 September 2025