The Benefits of Embracing A Sober Curious Lifestyle

In partnership with The Health Improvement Commission

There’s a shift happening around alcohol, and it goes beyond campaigns like Dry January and Sober October. It’s a year round trend that’s seeing more and more people step back and make conscious choices around what they drink, whether that’s on a night out or unwinding at home after a stressful day. Sober curiosity is on the rise, challenging the notion that enjoying yourself or relaxing has to include alcohol. 

Now don’t get us wrong, there’s nothing wrong with having the odd glass of wine. Sober curiosity is not an all or nothing approach, it's about choice. And that includes making alcohol free nights out an acceptable lifestyle choice, without having to justify or make excuses about why you don’t want to drink alcohol.

If you’re one of the many who are rethinking your relationship with alcohol, here are just some of the benefits you’ll enjoy by embracing a sober curious lifestyle.



'Being sober curious doesn’t mean giving up alcohol entirely. Its about exploring how alcohol impacts you and making informed choices on your experiences. Whether you drink occasionally or embrace a completely sober lifestyle, this journey can lead to positive health outcomes.'
Andrea Nightingale, HIC Substance Use Lead


1.  The Health Benefits.

There are so many health benefits when you choose to drink less, or not at all. An obvious immediate win is that you can say goodbye to hangovers. The headache, nausea and lethargy that follow a big night out are a thing of the past. Longer term, reducing your alcohol intake can reduce your risk of developing many physical health problems. Alcohol is linked to numerous types of cancer, including bowel and breast cancer, and the less you drink, the lower your risk. Stopping drinking also lowers your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and gut problems. And you’ll be helping your mental health too because if you experience anxiety or low mood, alcohol can make this worse. 


2.  The Emotional Benefits.

Lots of people experience feelings of anxiety when they wake up after a night out drinking. And it’s not necessarily brought on by excess, sometimes it can hit after just a couple of drinks. It’s known as ‘hanxiety’, a combination of feeling hungover and anxious, and it’s not a good way to start your day. Worrying about what you did the night before, replaying conversations in your head, anxiously scrolling on social media... the list goes on. You can replace those feelings of guilt and worry with improved self esteem by embracing a sober curious lifestyle.


3.  The Beauty Benefits.

News presenter Susanna Reid made the choice to stop drinking alcohol several years ago, sharing recently that she ‘enjoys a few bubbles on very special occasions’  but is ‘99.9% alcohol free’. Looking after her skin was one of the motivating factors that led to her decision. She was prone to spots, breakouts and rosacea and a visit to her GP confirmed that this was linked to alcohol, which dilates the blood vessels and can result in inflammation, redness, puffiness and flushing of the skin. Wrinkles and dull skin are other unwanted skin side effects, resulting from the dehydration damage that alcohol causes. But the good news is that your skin has a great capacity to regenerate itself, so it’s never too late to make ‘being alcohol free’ a key part of your skincare routine.



4.  The Financial Benefits.

Cocktails, wine with dinner, shots at the bar - none of these drinks are cheap. Switching to alcohol free alternatives is generally less expensive - or totally free if you’re opting for tap water. So you could find yourself financially better off by having less alcohol or alcohol free nights out. And of course, there’s the added bonus that you can drive there and back home, saving a considerable amount on taxi fares.


5.  The Relationship Benefits.

The people you care about will also reap the benefits if you choose not to drink. For one thing, you’ll have more energy so you can spend more quality time doing things you enjoy together. Also, the chances are that there will be fewer arguments and less tension if alcohol is out of the mix, so communication will be better. Another added bonus is that your sex life may improve. Yes, a few drinks can lower inhibitions and may help get you in the mood, but habitual drinking can harm your sex life, resulting in problems with sexual performance and ultimately a loss of libido.


6.  The Sleep Benefits.

You’ll sleep better if you don't drink so much. Alcohol reduces both the quality and the quantity of sleep, disrupting your natural sleep rhythm. Research shows that although alcohol may help you to drop off, you’ll spend less time in deep sleep so won’t feel as rested when you wake up, regardless of how long you spend in bed. You’re likely to wake up to use the bathroom, as alcohol is a diuretic, and you’ll sweat more, making you even more dehydrated. Avoid the alcohol and you’ll avoid the headache and tiredness.


7.  The Lifestyle Benefits.

Overall you will notice an improvement in your energy and productivity levels, waking up without the ‘morning after’ feeling and starting your day feeling fresh and more optimistic. Your mood and motivation will improve too and you will be more likely to make better choices for a healthier lifestyle. How many times have you worked hard to stick with healthy habits throughout the week, only to find that a night out drinking at the weekend sets you back? Choosing to drink less, or not at all, can help you stick with your goals and live the life you want to the full.


Joining the sober curious movement can be a good way to hit the reset button on your drinking habits. But if you find yourself struggling with the concept or you're looking for information and guidance to help you make an informed decision, take a look at How To Recognise If You're Drinking Too Much... And What You Can Do About It.

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