Whether you’re raising funds for cancer in Dry July or are doing it purely for yourself, taking a break from drinking can have some seriously good health benefits. If you have a beverage with dinner most nights to wind down, or you get a bit loose on the weekends, then jumping on the Dry July bandwagon could be for you! Here’s why…
Accomplishing things on non-hungover Sundays
On non-hungover Sunday’s the skies are bluer, the grass is greener and you actually get things done! Instead of trying to quench the never-ending thirst and becoming a human burrito wrapped in blankets, you could go for a hike, go for brunch, you could even hit the gym for a morning sesh and experience the Heaven that is the gym on a Sunday morning. Even if you watch movies all Sunday anyway, you’ll feel 110% better while doing it.
Think of the money you’d save if you didn’t buy that $20 box of beer or bottle of wine over a week, a month or even longer.
With all this extra moolah, you have two options. You could be responsible and save. Or you could think outside of the box and organise a fun night with your friends which doesn’t revolve around drinking. Ice-skating, bowling, a movie night… the world is your oyster!
While in Kiwi culture it’s often praised when you can ‘hold your liquor’, it’s not a good thing in the long term. Studies have shown that after chronic drinking, people can develop a tolerance to some of alcohols effects1.
A higher tolerance to alcohol can lead to drinking in excess, which can lead to weight gain, liver issues and dependency. Not to mention, it’s more expensive!
Having a month free from alcohol can lower your tolerance again. It’s a win-win situation. Only pay for one or two drinks, keep your liver happy and feel much better for it the next day (even if the mates give you a bit of grief).
Your liver gets a break
This brings me to the next point, your liver gets a break! You’ve probably heard this before and that’s because it’s got some validity! Alcohol is a factor in many diseases, including liver cirrhosis2.
Our livers’ roles include detoxification, protein synthesis and the production of chemicals necessary for digestion. So, it’s no wonder drinking and livers don’t mix well. The saying “pick your poison” comes to mind and it all makes sense.
Cutting alcohol out will give your liver a much needed break.
Although it may seem that having a glass or wine when you get home from work helps you to relax and unwind, it’s not doing you any favours when you hit the hay. It might help you to fall asleep quicker, but it reduces REM sleep (the deepest sleep stage in which most dreams occur and when memories are stored and learning occurs)3. This can lead to a restless and wakeful night.
While it could be down to the lack of beauty sleep, dehydration is also a big player! Consuming alcohol can reduce the body’s production of anti-diuretic hormones which helps with water retention4. Worse yet, dehydrated skin is more likely to wrinkle!
What better reason to go alcohol-free than waking up with glowing skin?
Knowing you didn’t do something stupid last night
We do stupid things on a good day, but when alcohol is thrown in the mix, we all know what happens. Studies suggest that alcohol can impair decision making and the ability to make favourable decisions in social drinkers5. No embarrassing photos to un-tag yourself from – tick.
It’s another one that sounds contradicting. Drinking might make you feel like you’re able to loosen up and have more fun, but it’s actually a depressant, so it can make you more susceptible to feeling down. Who wouldn’t like to wake up more refreshed and happy in the morning?