Taking a break from alcohol is always a good thing.
Whether it’s for your physical health, your mental health or indeed, your spiritual health, dropping the drink for a considerable amount of time is never a bad idea.
In an ideal world, none of us would drink.
We would simply move through life sipping water and kombucha, staying out until 3am just high on life, and toasting 7up flutes when any of our friends get engaged.
But we don’t live in an ideal world, people do drink, and sometimes, they drink a bit too much.
And while a lot of people are adamant that they’re never going to give up the drink for good, it’s nice to know that a little break every now and then is entirely possible.
And even nicer to know how your body reacts to the change.
Ahead of Sober October, Priory Group’s addictions expert Dr Niall Campbell has put together a handy list of all the positive things that happen to your body when you stop drinking alcohol.
The results are, as you’d expect, fairly decent.
One week off the drink:
Sleeping after drinking typically means that you miss out on crucial rapid eye movement (REM), so rather than getting six to seven cycles per night, you’ll only get one or two.
Stopping drinking will mean that you’ll sleep better and your productivity, as well as your emotions and behaviour, will generally be a lot better.
“When drinking alcohol, you lose around four times as much liquid as what you actually consumed,” says Dr Campbell.
“Giving up alcohol can help you stay hydrated, which is beneficial for your brain. Your mood and concentration will be more stable, and headaches are likely to decrease.”
Two weeks off the drink:
The sleep-based benefits of being off the drink for one week will still be in full swing as you enter week two, but so will the stomach lining-based benefits.
After two weeks, symptoms such as reflux where the stomach acid burns your throat will have reduced considerably. Dr Campbell says that you may also notice a slight loss in weight as you’re not drinking empty calories anymore.
“If you were to stop drinking six 175ml glasses of wine per week, you would have saved 1920 calories at this point, and 2160 if you’d stopped drinking around six pints of lager,” she says.
Three weeks off the drink:
After week three, chances are your blood pressure will start to lower. This can help to lessen the risk of health problems occurring in the future.
Four weeks of the drink:
One month off alcohol and your boosted hydration levels will have had a very positive effect on your skin.
“As more water will have been absorbed rather than wasted, you are likely to have more hydrated-looking skin, as well as reduced dandruff and eczema,” says Dr Campbell.
“Removing alcohol from your diet for four weeks can also help to improve your liver function, as your liver will start to shed excess fat.”
So essentially, taking a break from alcohol every now and again is always a good thing – and not drinking at all is even better.
And c’mon lads, at the end of the day, who among us don’t want stunning skin and a great night’s sleep?