The surprising health benefits of the 10pm curfew

A 10pm curfew, you say? Why, those of us over 35 have been curfewing ourselves for some time now.

Welcome on board, young people! You too are soon to discover the pleasures of being in bed before midnight; waking up without much of a hangover; and remembering the details of what happened after 11pm – we brushed our teeth and read a whole chapter of our book, that’s what.

The Government has unveiled the latest weapon in its armoury of measures designed to limit the spread of coronavirus in England: pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues must close at 10pm sharp. Yes, even if you’re in the middle of watching a football match. And yes, even if you’re halfway through a pint/ conversation/ better-than-expected first date. Especially then. 

Will it work? Who on earth knows? It sounds pointless to many, not to mention harmful to the fragile hospitality sector and a blow to a night time economy already facing armageddon.

This, like all such measures, will be argued over and ultimately changed, only to be reimposed in a slightly different way, and then cancelled, and then reimposed. Such is the nature of the coronacoaster on which we’re all trapped. 

But since these are the rules by which we’ll be playing, at least for the next week or so (until they’re changed once again), it’s worth considering the unexpected upsides for our health:

You can get your eight hours of sleep

If the pubs are closed from 10pm, what excuse do you have to not get to bed in good time? There will be no lingering around after last orders. It’s drink up, get out and get to bed. No, this may not sound like the stuff of which fun is made, but there’s a different, more wholesome sort of fun in feeling like you’ve had enough sleep. Honest.

You might just drink less

With a smaller window between finishing work and finishing your night out, there is every chance you will fit in fewer alcoholic drinks. Which, don’t forget, is a good thing for your body, if not for those who make money from you drinking too much. Of course, this being Britain, there is every chance you will instead work hard to squeeze the same volume of drink into a shorter time window. Remember when Labour’s 24-hour drinking law was going to usher in a European-style culture where no-one speed-drunk their way to 11pm and then burst out on the streets to have a fight? Yes, exactly. The rules change but our drinking habits seem to have a habit of sticking. Still, maybe this time will be different. 

No late night kebabs

Because where are you going to buy them from? And you won’t even be out on the street late at night anyway, looking for kebabs. You’ll be at home, brewing a healthy mug of chamomile tea. Perhaps the pandemic hasn’t been kind to your waistline so far, but this could be the excuse you need to cut out that late-night bingeing. On the other hand, there is no curfew on your visits to the fridge, so you may need some actual discipline to make this rule really work for you.

No ordering a pudding to string out the meal

You know that thing you do when you’re out for dinner at a restaurant and can’t be bothered to stand up and leave, so order dessert to string things out a little longer? Well, sorry, my friend, but the clock will be ticking on your sticky-toffee-pudding-for-the-road habit. There may be no time for a leisurely Eton mess either, unless you count the one over which the Prime Minister presides. At this rate, you’ll have your dream figure just in time for the cancelled Christmas party season.

No regrettable sex

Let’s face it, there’s a big difference between the kind of decision you’ll make at 10pm after, say, three drinks, and the decisions you’ll make at 2am after many more drinks. At 2am, Steve from the office will seem like a great prospect. At 10pm he definitely won’t. At 10pm you will still be aware that he has bad breath and a wife. How will not sleeping with Steve be good for your health? Well, Steve may have coronavirus too. 

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