22 Jan 2020

The health benefits of going off the booze before or after Christmas

A new year, and indeed a new decade, are upon us. Many of us are feeling the bloat after a hectic month of work do’s, mates parties and family gatherings, and the feeling that the new year can’t come quickly enough is a familiar one. For those of us looking for a bit of a reset after the overindulgence of the festive period, Dry January is a tried and tested solution to feeling, looking and behaving better. Let’s take a look at the health benefits for men of taking a month, or even more, off the booze. 

 

Dry January

 

 

Liver recovery and reboot

While the liver is actually one of the body’s strongest organs, it can take a serious battering around the holiday season. Binge drinking in particular takes a heavy toll on the liver, and with numerous bouts of heavy consumption par for the course over Christmas, it’s no wonder we feel like our liver is crying out for a break afterwards. Giving up alcohol for the month of January not only gives your liver a chance to recover and regenerate, but it also allows the liver to shed any excess fat gained from drinking alcohol, which also helps to improve liver function. 

 

Improved sleep

Although it may seem like after a heavy night of boozing that we fall straight into bed and are dead to the world until the next day, this type of sleep is not actually the most beneficial. Going straight from being awake into the kind of deep sleep that alcohol induces means that we miss out on a vital stage of the sleep cycle, the R.E.M. (rapid eye movement) phase, meaning our sleep is disrupted. It has been proven how important a good night’s sleep is to our wellbeing as humans, and so a month of alcohol-free sleeps could be just what the doctor ordered to get you back on track in the new year. 

 

How to sleep better

 

Goodbye hangovers

Younger drinkers will bounce back far more easily from a night on the sauce than older drinkers, but regardless of age, few of us would contest that we cannot operate at full capacity on a hangover. As much as it takes a will of steel to resist the urges to hit the pub throughout the month, a huge motivator to steer clear of pints is the knowledge that you won’t wake up hungover for a full 31 days over the course of the month. Think how much you could achieve if you were operating at 100% every day for a whole month!

 

How to cure a hangover

 

Sensible consumption patterns

It can be hard for those of use who like our routine to enjoy the constant social events over the Christmas holidays, and all the extra consumption that goes with them. Instead of drinking and eating in moderation, Christmas often means that all good habits go out the window, and we eat and drink with abandon. Of course that also means that we make less sensible food choices when we’re hungover, or think nothing of knocking back some hair of the dog just to take the edge off. Dry January provides an opportunity to reset our routine, to focus on eating correctly and to not be swayed by the lure of a hungover takeaway instead of cooking ourselves. If you're worried about high cholesterol, take a look at our high cholesterol treatment options. 

 

Sticking to resolutions

If you’re the type of person that makes New Year’s Resolutions but doesn’t stick to them, maybe that’s because you’re starting off on the wrong foot in January. Following through on resolutions, whether it’s going to the gym more, starting a new hobby, eating better or saving money, is much more achievable when you have a clear head. And cutting alcohol out of your life will not only save you money, but give you much more free time, so try and plan out your spare time and you’ll have a much better chance of sticking to your resolutions and achieving your goals. 

 

New Years Resolutions

 

Physical improvements

The physical benefits of not drinking alcohol cannot be overstated. Clearer skin, less facial puffiness, brighter eyes, a leaner physique, better hydration levels...the list is endless. It almost makes you wonder why we drink alcohol at all, given the amount of negative side effects it has! If you want to know more about the physical effects of alcohol, and how to kick the habit, even if it’s only for a month, visit drinkaware.ie or speak to an experienced doctor online using MyClinic, which offers hassle free services for a range of medical issues. The cost is substantially less than visiting your family doctor, and patients can talk to an experienced GP for just €35 seven days a week. Booking is available online, after which you have your consultation. 

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