Source: Abigail Silverman

Mindful Drinking: 5 Reasons to Take a Break

For many, the beginning of a new year is a time to rethink how much they imbibe, whether they’re worried about heavy drinking or just looking for a reset.

According to market research firm Nielsen, 22 per cent of U.S. drinkers participated in Dry January in 2021 and were cutting back their drinking habits.

This Dry-January movement reflects a strong cultural shift in how consumers are re-evaluating their relationship with alcohol and how it aligns with other aspects of their lives and lifestyles.

In November last year, non-alcoholic beverage sales surged 33 per cent to $331 million with Neilsen’s Senior Vice President, Kim Cox saying suggesting people are opting for healthier options in their diet.

More people are simply losing interest in alcohol and want to lead healthier lifestyles, noting there’s been such a huge trend over the last several years towards lower sugar, lower carb, lower calorie in the beverages space.

Kim Cox

While some people have been cutting back on their drinking since the pandemic started – not specifically due to motive but more – a lack of occasions during which they would typically have a drink, it seems there hasn’t been a better time to reconsider your alcohol consumption and take a break.

So, if you’re thinking about giving up or taking some time out, here are some good reasons why.

Improved sleep

Say goodbye to hazy and anxiety-inducing morning hangovers. Eliminating alcohol from your diet will improve your quality of sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, high amounts of alcohol can decrease your sleep quality by 39.2 per cent.

Our sleep cycle every night consists of four different stages, the two most important being slow-wave deep sleep, and REM sleep. Slow-wave deep sleep is, by name, when we have the slowest brain waves and most relaxed muscle movement. REM sleep is when non-rapid eye movement picks up and is important for memory consolidation.

These two vital sleep stages are both highly disrupted by alcohol, meaning cutting out the booze could be the best thing for the length and quality of your sleep.

Source: Getty Images

Weight loss

One possible outcome of drinking less is weight loss. For one, there is the inevitable weight gain that is associated with drinking excessively, which Dana James, M.S., C.D.N., C.N.S., a triple-certified celebrity nutritionist, compared to eating too much cheesecake.

If you think about it, a glass of wine is about 150 calories. Let’s say you’re drinking three glasses of wine, which is easy for a New York woman to do, that’s 450 calories. That is equivalent to a slice of cheesecake. You would never [eat multiple slices of cheesecake] on a weekly basis, but people don’t think like that from an alcohol perspective.

Dana James

Alcohol is also known to decrease the rate of our body’s metabolism and therefore the rate at which our body is breaking down fats and sugars. As an added bonus, the calories from alcohol will be cut out of your diet, leaving room for foods with a higher nutritional value.

Source: Getty Images

Better skin

There’s a huge amount of damage that skin becomes vulnerable to with consistent drinking that can also lead to permanent damage. The dehydrating qualities in alcohol mean wrinkles and pores can become easily visible. Meanwhile, the dilation of the pores promotes inflammation and can also cause cystic acne.

Abstaining from drinking will begin the process of increased elasticity, hydrated skin and reducing any redness or yellow in the face.

Source: Real Simple

Improved mental health

Increases in blood alcohol content are consistently correlated with emotional instability, impatience, agitation and memory impairment. Even moderate drinkers can often experience mental fog or severe mood changes.

Although alcohol can often be used as a vice to deal with mental health issues, over time, it is seen to increase general anxiety levels found in individuals with excessive alcohol consumption.

Source: Getty Images

We have alternatives in 2022

The fun doesn’t stop there because alcohol has been eliminated. There is a plethora of non-alcoholic wines or non-alcoholic beers to take your fancy and not leave you with a pounding head. Brands like heaps normal beer offer alcohol-free beer with the same taste like any old craft brew.

If the temptation in venues is too much to handle when you go out, consider a venue like Brunswick Aces, Victoria, which is an alcohol-free cocktail bar, offering drag bingo and non-alcoholic cocktail masterclasses.

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