Health experts say ‘Know your limits’ this Christmas

Health experts are urging local people to be aware of their recommended alcohol limits, now that the Christmas party season is upon us.

Christmas and New Year are a great time for Nottingham residents to have fun with friends and family, with lots going on in the city for visitors of all ages – but alcohol consumption can often increase and can have serious implications.

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It is estimated that over a quarter of people living in Nottingham drink above recommended weekly limits and nationally, alcohol consumption increases at this time of year by 40%.

Local stakeholders including Nottingham City Council, Nottingham Recovery Network, and Nottingham City CCG have come together to share some tips to help everyone enjoy the festive period safely. The key messages are:

  • Be aware of safer drinking levels – Men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week. It’s important not to drink large amounts of units in one go and to spread these out over a week. There are three units in a large glass of wine (250ml) and three units in a pint of higher strength beer (ABV 5.2%).
  • Keep a check on how much you are drinking – The OneYou drinks tracker app can help you keep track of how much you are drinking and spending on alcohol. https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/apps
  • Don’t go hungry – When you drink on an empty stomach you’ll have no food to slow the absorption of alcohol. Make sure you’ve eaten a meal before you drink.
  • Have a lower-strength drink – No one will even know if you order a lower strength alcohol or a smaller measure, but it’ll reduce your alcohol intake.
  • Try pacing and spacing – Having a soft drink or some water before and in-between alcoholic drinks slows the rate of your drinking and will help you to feel better the next day.
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Alcohol misuse has a real impact on people’s lives. If anyone is worried about drinking too much over Christmas, or at any time, there is support available. Nottingham Recovery Network provide free support, advice and treatment. Visit www.nottinghamrecoverynetwork.com or phone 0800 066 5362 or 0115 9709590.

It’s not surprising that after the festive season many people feel ready to take a break from alcohol. Taking a break from alcohol for a while could help encourage less harmful drinking habits in the long term as well as help people feel healthier and happier with better sleep, weight loss, more money in their pocket and a heathier body.

Dry January, the annual movement run by the charity Alcohol Concern, will this year partner with six national charities working on issues related to alcohol harm. Evidence shows that more than two thirds of participants are still drinking less, even six months later. Anyone wishing to sign up for Dry January and register for tips and tools to make the most of the month, should visit www.dryjanuary.org.uk.

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Portfolio Holder for Adults and Health, Councillor Nick McDonald, who will be taking part in Dry January, said: “Most people enjoy alcohol safely and sociably, but sometimes there can be a pressure to drink more over the festive period. Following these safer drinking messages can reduce the harm caused by drinking whilst ensuring everyone enjoys a happy and safe Christmas.”

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