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Maybe your nightly glass of wine has turned into two or three. Or you're overdoing it on the beer and have the paunch to prove it.
Whether you want to clean up your diet or you're trying to nip a potential issue in the bud, giving up alcohol can be tough—but the benefits make it worth the effort!
Taking a break from drinking alcohol—even if it's just for a couple of weeks—is a good idea, especially if you're regularly consuming more than the recommended daily limit. That limit is generally defined as a drink a day for women, and two for men. Keep in mind though, never attempt to detox from alcohol on your own. Always consult your Psychiatrist before abruptly stopping alcohol.
Here's what you can expect to happen, both short- and long-term, if you give up alcohol:
1. You'll sleep more soundly. Drinking before bed increases alpha wave patterns in the brain—a kind of cerebral activity that usually occurs when you're awake but resting. The result? Disrupted sleep. A review of 27 studies found, that while alcohol may help people fall asleep more quickly and deeply at first, it seriously meddles with sleep quality after the initial restful period. You may toss and turn a bit at first, but give up alcohol and the sleep you get will likely leave you feeling more refreshed and sharp the next day. The byproducts of better sleep: improved mood, concentration, and mental performance.
2. You'll consume less at dinner. Alcohol is one of the biggest drivers of excess food intake. Alcohol is frequently paired with mostly fried and other junk food, which is extremely unhealthy.
3. You may feel new sugar cravings. Sugar boosts levels of the "reward" chemical dopamine, which fuels feelings of pleasure. Alcohol does the same thing. So it's very possible that when you give up one substance that causes happy-making chemicals to float around your brain, you'll be more likely to reach for the other. Don't be surprised if you try to get that same enjoyment or rush you used to get after a drink from something sweet.
4. Pounds will start to fall off. Alcohol has a sneaky way of increasing your daily calorie intake without you realizing it. One study found men consume an additional 433 calories on those days they drink a "moderate" amount of alcohol. For women, it's 300 calories. Cut those from your diet—and don't replace them with desserts—and you'll start to lost weight without much effort.
5. Hello, clear complexion. Within a few days, you'll notice your skin looking and feeling more hydrated. That's because alcohol is a diuretic, causing you to urinate more. Alcohol also decreases the body's production of antidiuretic hormone, which helps the body reabsorb water. (Less water in the body equals parched-looking skin.) Ruddiness in your cheeks and around your nose may also start to fade, and other skin conditions—such as dandruff, eczema, or rosacea—may also improve.
6. You'll have more money. Drinking—especially a fine wine or scotch habit—is an expensive undertaking. Take a moment to crunch the numbers, adding up what you spend for drinks both at home and out on the town (factoring in tax and tip). It can be an eye-opening—and motivating—exercise.
7. You'll have amazing sex. Alcohol and sex have always had an uneasy relationship with one another. On the one hand, they certainly seem to hook up more often in each other’s presence. On the other hand, those hook-ups aren’t always totally satisfying.
Alcohol can sometimes enhance your libido, but it simultaneously tends to reduce your ability to act on said libido. As a result, men are frequently unable to ‘get it up.’ Ladies lose sensitivity. When you quit drinking, you may find that it’s not only easier to have sober sex, it’s also much more enjoyable.
Not to mention, people who drink more engage in more risky sexual behaviors, so much so that drinking triples your odds of getting a nasty STD compared to those who don't drink. You’re also less likely to use protection. That’s because it plagues judgment and decision-making skills.
If you’re like most people, the benefits of stopping drinking could include a decrease in the sheer quantity of intercourse and a meaningful increase in the quality of your sex life. In a nutshell, quitting drinking means more orgasms, less crabs, and fewer unwanted pregnancies. That’s a win-win.