7 Reasons to Quit Drinking for a month
Was Christmas a little too merry? Did New Year pass in a blur? Did you over-indulge over the holidays?
Increasingly, alcohol experts and liver specialists believe that breaks from alcohol are one of the best things you can do for your health. February is the shortest month of the year and just after the season of overindulgence -so it’s a perfect time to take a break.
Re-set the body.
If you drink regularly, your body starts to build up a tolerance to alcohol so you need to consume more alcohol to get the same effects. This can mean you end up drinking to levels that are harmful to your health, putting you at risk a range of problems from heart disease to cancer. The more you consume, the more your body gets used to it as alcohol stimulates the liver to produce enzymes to metabolize the drug. This is one of the main reasons it’s important to consider taking a break from drinking. The good news is when you stop drinking completely; the enzyme level goes back to normal.
You may be surprised to learn that drinking never results in a deep, restful sleep. Sure, it might help make you drowsy faster, but the effect is short-lived. The body metabolizes alcohol as you sleep, resulting in symptoms that cause sleep interruption. Alcohol may also cause sleep disorders because it affects sleep-regulating brain chemicals. Studies show it can influence the time it takes to fall asleep, total sleep time and even your ability to get into a deep-stage REM sleep (the state in which dreams and healing occur) in the latter half of the night.
One of the main problems associated with drinking is that people may feel much worse when the effects have worn off. Alcohol is thought to use up and reduce the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain, but the brain needs a certain level of neurotransmitters needs to ward off anxiety and depression. This can lead some people to drink more, in an attempt to manage difficult feelings, resulting in a dangerous cycle. Regular drinking lowers the levels of serotonin in your brain – a chemical that helps to regulate your mood. Alcohol also hijacks dopamine levels in your brain; it tricks you into thinking that it’s actually making your feel great. The effect is that you keep drinking to get more dopamine release, but at the same time you’re altering other brain chemicals that are enhancing feelings of depression. Evidence shows that people who consume high amounts of alcohol are vulnerable to higher levels of mental ill health and it can be a contributory factor in some mental illnesses, such as depression. Warning signs that alcohol is affecting your mood include:
feeling lethargic and tired all the time
4. Improve Physical Health
Regular drinking, particularly when above the government guidelines (no more than 2 units per day, 9 units per week for women and 14 for men) , can cause an upset stomach, indigestion and headaches. You may well find these symptoms disappear on drinking days off. Alcohol can disrupt your sleep too, so without it you’re likely to wake up more refreshed. You may also feel better in yourself, more alert and generally brighter without alcohol in your system. In the long term, cutting back on alcohol will lower your risk of serious diseases such as cancer, liver disease and stroke.
When people overdo it on booze, they eat an average of 6,300 extra calories in the following 24 hours, according to a recent survey. Not to mention the calories in drinking itself, approx calorie value per unit wine 120-165, beer 150, spirits 100. The body burns alcohol first rather than burning carbohydrates, protein, or fat as a fuel. It completely stops burning anything else. Suddenly, we have a surplus of carbs, protein, and fat circulating in the body with nowhere to go. So where does it all end up? You guessed it…it’s converted to fat and deposited on the waistline.
How much do you currently spend on booze per week? Bottles of wine, keeping the fridge topped up with your favourite tipple, special occasions, going out to dinner.
Stop Depending on Drink
The term ‘alcohol dependence’ might conjure up images of someone who’s putting away whole bottles of whisky or getting the shakes. But there are varying degrees of physical and psychological dependence. If you drink every day, you don’t have to be drinking to extreme levels to develop dependence where you find it increasingly difficult to go without. You may find you ‘need a wine’ in the evenings, when cooking dinner or can’t settle at night without a drink. It is important to regularly take a couple of nights off – that way you lower your risk of becoming psychologically – or physically – dependent on it.
Warning: If you find that you can’t go a day without alcohol, then you could be psychologically dependent. If you feel sweaty or shaky after a big night you could be withdrawing. To tackle such dependency, it’s important to seek medical assistance BEFORE quitting. For heavy drinkers it is important to cut down with medical assistance before stopping.
Join us for Febfast Join our facebook group for inspiration, group support, tips and recipes.
If you need support Heather can help you with Hypnosis
Find different ways to relax and manage stress
Identify your drinking triggers and eliminate them
How to manage social situations sober
Stay motivated, committed and positive
Learn to moderate drinking when / if you resume
Special offer (save $136) Hypnosis three sessions (1 x 90 mins, 2 x 75 mins ) $499 To find out more about Hypnosis. Focus less on what you’re giving up and more on what you’re gaining: hangover-free mornings, more energy and vitality, clearer skin, skipping extra sugar and empty calories, better sleep, more mental clarity, greater productivity, lots of money saved… the list of benefits is well worth it! Heather is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Mindfulness-based Psychotherapist specializing in changing habits. Call 0405 821 880 for an obligation-free 20 minute consultation.