Sticking to a New Year’s resolution is a great way to start off the year happier. One of the most popular resolutions is to lead a healthier lifestyle. To achieve this goal people may promise to begin exercising, start dieting and quit smoking and/or drinking. But you don’t need the start of a new year as a reason to detox. If you can break the habit of alcohol for just one month, the results may surprise you. Here are 6 great benefits of a sober month.
You’ll Sleep Better
For the first few nights, restful sleep may be difficult. While many people believe that alcohol makes falling asleep easier, the biologic truth is that it disrupts the sleep cycle. Alcohol lets you spend more time in the less restful REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep causing tiredness in the morning regardless of how much time you slept. Abstinence from drinking will increase the duration spent in deep sleep, thereby allowing you to wake up rested, energized and better prepared for the day ahead.
Your Skin Will Improve
Your skin will begin to look healthier and glow. Drinking is known to lower the skin’s antioxidant defenses, leaving it vulnerable to toxicities such as sun damage, byproducts from chemicals, pollution and cigarette smoke. Also, alcohol is a diuretic - meaning it increases your urination - which weakens your body’s ability to absorb water and that can lead to dehydration. Once alcohol is removed from the equation, skin conditions such as dandruff and dermatitis can improve as your body’s hydration process begins to return to normal.
You’ll Smell Better
Since alcohol is toxic, the body quickly tries to break it down and excrete it. If you are drinking too much, the liver cannot deal with the surplus of alcohol so the body reacts by releasing it through your breath, pores and sweat. The smell is unpleasant. The good news is that abstaining from alcohol will have bodily functions return to normal. You will no longer emanate the odor of alcohol and your sweat and body smell will improve as well. Your friends and loved ones will secretly thank you.
You’ll Be More Productive
You will be sharper and more productive without a hangover. If you are only a weekend drinker preferring to binge on Fridays and Saturdays, you’ll find yourself being more productive on your “recovery” days of Saturday and Sunday. The lingering effects of a bender can melt away your free time as you wait for symptoms to subside. Instead of waking up “on death’s doorstep”, you’ll awaken refreshed and ready to go. Just imagine what you can accomplish with an energetic free day or two in a row to do all the things that had been put off for so long.
Your Liver Will Thank You
Perhaps the most important benefit of going alcohol-free is the effect on the liver. The liver is the powerhouse organ of the body. It’s vital to our health and responsible for many functions including breaking down alcohol and filtering out toxins. If that process is hindered by the damaging effects of alcohol, it leads to a build-up of fat, which causes “ fatty liver ”, an indicator of liver disease. Hepatitis , fibrosis and cirrhosis are caused by a fatty liver . The good news is that the liver is a regenerative organ and, given time, can repair itself. Just 30 days of abstaining from alcohol is enough to decrease liver fat by 15%.
You’ll Save Money
Drinking is an expensive hobby and depending upon your drink of choice, the amount spent can accumulate quickly. Even if you spend little and only go out once a week, the money saved over the course of a month could be as much as THB 4,000. Multiply that by 12 and you will have saved more than THB 40,000 just from not drinking. With that much money saved, why not treat yourself to a nice vacation.
Giving up alcohol for just 30 days can have many positive effects on your body and your wallet too. If you are concerned about the health of your liver, make an appointment at Bumrungrad International Hospital’s Liver Center for the appropriate diagnosis and care today. The Liver Center is located on the 3rd floor of the Bumrungrad Hospital Building and can be reached by calling +66 2011 2351.
By Dr. Orapin Tanapanpanit ,Digestive Disease (GI) Center ,Bumrungrad International Hospital