As we are well aware, the Christmas period can get a bit messy. Songs are belted, hearts are melted, dance moves become uncontrollable and alcohol seems to play a huge part in it. Rightly so, it does a good job bringing us together at Xmas, but with every devil on your shoulder there is an angel on the other, reminding you, in this instance, there will be consequences on your health.
Thankfully, someone had the genius idea of Dry January to pick you up this time around (I can only imagine the amount of times you face planted the floor) in hope to put the alcohol to one side. Considering we are reaching the end of the month, I wonder how many of you stuck to this plan? If not, here’s a few reasons why you should:
Liver recovery: Hopefully, your liver is thanking you right now. There are 300,000 hospital admissions in the UK every year due to liver damage caused by alcohol. A study at Harvard University showed that people who drank no alcohol for one month lost 20% of their liver fat. Pretty impressive, eh?
Lower glucose levels: Alcohol contains a ridiculous amount of sugar and abstaining from it has shown to improve insulin resistance and lower glucose levels, according to research scientists in the UK.
Reduce blood pressure: Hardened arteries are never a good thing. UCL professors stress that cutting out alcohol results in an anti-hypertensive effect, lowering the risk of blood clots and heart problems further down the line. Sounds like you might not be drinking anytime soon?
Am I right in thinking the only thing that rested this Xmas was the craft beer in the palm of your hand? Just because alcohol sends you off to sleep with a click of a finger, does not mean you get a quality night’s rest. In fact, you get the opposite.
Alcohol disrupts REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the phase where you dream of flying doughnuts and talking elephants, which is essential for you to feel restored the next day. Lack of REM is what makes us snappy in the morning, far away from the shiny happy people we can be.
Not only does alcohol-free sleep enable us to smile the next day, our concentration also improves dramatically, and we are 67% more productive (hello promotion!), according to a study at Sussex University. This burst of energy means more time at the gym with your flexible gym membership too, hooray!
Nothing makes me laugh more than comparing my well-composed, pre-drink photos to the more horrific, zombie apocalyptic ones towards the end. It is fair to say that no Facebook tags were approved in that hour. We can all get over looking hideous for one night only, but when these drinking habits start taking their toll on our skin long-term, then it’s time to re-evaluate.
Fair enough, red wine contains antioxidants and comes from grapes… but no, it is not one of your five a day. It also contains sulfites that triggers acne, enlarged pores and a very red face (leaving you looking embarrassed in more ways than one). Did I mention drinking champagne can also disturb proper functioning of the organs, according to scientists at the US National Library of Medicine – and what’s our biggest organ? Yup, the skin. That’s one thing you won’t be celebrating.
For those of you that wanted to glow this Jan, the absence of alcohol will have enabled your skin to keep on top of toxin removal, absorb more vitamins from food and ward off acne. Phew!
Better decision making
Let’s be honest, we have all fallen victim to the bad decisions made when we are intoxicated, and the Xmas season is no different. I think the night staff at A&E deserve a toast!
Although it’s good to let your hair down, I think this lack of control can lead to questionable decisions. We end up doing things we don’t actually want to do sober, so wondering “BUT WHY DID I DO THAT?” can’t be good for your mental health. No sir. A study at the University of Sydney demonstrated that alcohol abstinence improves mental health considerably – participants rated themselves as 75% calmer, more confident and happier just after one month.
If that wasn’t enough, abstinence has also shown to reduce associative behaviours like smoking too, (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto) – some would suggest smoking is not the wisest of decisions? You can see their point. Cheaper on your wallet too!
i gave up alcohol this month just to feel healthier and save money. That's amazing that any fatty liver would have recovered so well. SAying that, I really missed my evening glass of wine at first, but once I got into it the habit of drinking just fell away.
Although I didn't completely give up alcohol, I cut back a lot. And I did sleep better, and I did save money. But I didn't feel any less stressed unfortunately, nor did I get a promotion at work.