Minimal Risk: according to UK guidelines*, this level of alcohol consumption should pose a minimal health risk for adults, provided consumption is spread out and does not exceed 3-4 units per day for men or 2-3 units per day for women.
Low Risk: according to UK guidelines, this level of alcohol consumption poses a low health risk for adults, provided consumption is spread out and does not exceed 3 - 4 units per day for men or 2-3 units per day for women. Be aware that even in low quantities, alcohol consumed close to bedtime can affect your sleep quality. Research shows that later sleep stages are more likely to be disrupted, causing early wakening and reducing overall sleep quality.
according to UK guidelines, adults consuming this amount of alcohol each week face a moderate progressive health risk. There is also an increased probability of fatigue-related impairment - while alcohol may make you drowsy, your sleep quality is reduced, resulting in daytime tiredness.
High Risk: this level of alcohol consumption presents a significant health risk with increased probability of liver, kidney and brain damage as well as cancer and stroke. Sleep disruption is also highly likely, leading to extreme and ongoing fatigue problems. Moreover, excess alcohol is linked to an elevated risk of accident-involvement and alcohol-related violence. In the UK, around 70 percent of weekend hospital accident and emergency admissions between midnight and 5am are alcohol-related.**
* Guidance will vary between nations
**'Hospital admissions for alcohol-related harm', North West Public Health Observatory, July 2008
What can I do to reduce my alcohol intake?
UK Government guidelines propose the following limits on alcohol consumption:
Men: no more than 21 units of alcohol per week (and no more than 4 units per day)
Women: no more than 14 units of alcohol per week (and no more than 3 units per day)
Below are some ideas to consider if you wish to reduce your alcohol intake:
- Choose low-alcohol or mixed drinks: low-alcohol varieties are available for most common drinks. Mixers can also help to reduce the relative volume of alcohol you consume.
- Space your drinks: having a glass of water or a soft drink between alcoholic drinks will help to reduce your rate and overall level of alcohol intake. Alcohol causes dehydration, which is central to many of the unpleasant physical after-effects of drinking, so matching an alcoholic drink with something non-alcoholic will also help keep hydration levels up and speed recovery time.
- Drink smaller measures: choosing smaller measures over larger ones can be a simple way to reduce your alcohol consumption.
- Don't drink at home: buying alcohol for home only when you have an event planned rather than keeping a ready supply on a day-to-day basis can be an easy way to reduce the likelihood that you will choose an alcoholic drink over a non-alcoholic one.