There are many reasons to give up drinking, even if it’s for a short time. As well as saving yourself money you can use the opportunity to raise funds for a good cause by going dry for charity. Plus, getting others to sponsor your sobriety may be the boost you need to stick to your promise.
But charity begins at home, and all health professionals agree a month-long ride on the wagon presents many health benefits to those able to go the distance. Our five favourites are below and hopefully they’ll inspire you to take water instead of wine for the next 30 days, or maybe more…
1. Sleep Deeper, sleep better
Just a couple of drinks in the evening messes up the normal, healthy sleep pattern.
Instead of enjoying the first stage of sleep during which you experience REM (rapid eye movement) alcohol takes you straight into a deep sleep.
Then instead of staying in a deep sleep, the REM phase follows, and you’re more likely to wake up at this time.
A good night’s sleep includes six to seven REM phases, which is the refreshing stage of sleep, a bad night’s sleep after drinking typically only allows you one or two of these. So, even if you do sleep as long, you don’t sleep as well.
2. Higher energy levels
Alcohol is full of sugar which means drinking affects your blood sugar level giving you the highs of a hyperactive toddler followed by the lows of an OAP. For consistent energy levels, you need a regular glycemic index (GI) which is the level of sugars in the body. Binging on booze of an evening achieves the opposite of this.
Add to this the lack of quality sleep when you drink and the raging hangover when you wake, and the idea of doing anything remotely energetic is far from appealing.
Those that do give up alcohol report a renewed appetite for life, higher energy levels and more motivation to move so they generally lose weight because they consume less and move more.
3. Gives your liver a healing holiday
Drinking even a small amount regularly puts the liver under incredible strain. However, the liver is an incredible organ, one that is able to renew and regenerate after even just a few days’ rest.
Every time your liver filters alcohol, cells in the liver die. The liver is able to generate replacement cells, but it needs a break from booze to do so. Doctors recommend two to three days per week free of alcohol every week for this reason. And taking a full month off alcohol not only enables a fuller repair of the organ, it has also been found to lower cholesterol and blood pressure too.
4. Fewer calories – from drink and food
Alcohol is high in calories and low in nutrients so the only goodness you’re likely to get is a smidge of vitamin C from the slice of lime in your G&T on a night out drinking. One small glass of white wine has 85 calories, a single gin and tonic has 110 calories and a pint of lager has a whopping 140 calories.
So even a relatively tame night out can cost well over half your daily calories allowance. Added to this the post-booze munchies take hold for so many at the end of the evening, tipping you over the top if you indulge in a kebab from the van or a toast fest at home.
5. Long-term legacy
Various research has found those that are able to stay dry for a month or more generally drink less than they did before.
As well as enjoying all the benefits listed above, taking more turns as the nominated driver exposes us to the changes our friends undergo when drinking, which puts us off drink. It also builds our own esteem as we enjoy more nights out as our true selves rather than our drunken alter egos.
Added to this, the money saved not buying booze and not needing taxis can comfortably pay for a holiday within a year for most moderate drinkers, which is another reason to cut down for the long term.
So give dry a try, we think you can do it!