Tired of breaking your promise to go easy on the drinks tonight? You know your nightly habit isn’t great for your health or waistline, but it’s so hard to say no. Taking a long enough break from alcohol to restore the body’s natural sleep rhythm could make a big difference in your mental clarity and function. While some say that curiosity killed the cat, the truth is that you don’t get anywhere in life without being prepared to take a chance and explore the unfamiliar. Many people who consume alcohol regularly become stuck in a negative rut. They then start to wonder what life without drinking would be like. Photo by Dan Burton on UnsplashIt’s difficult to overestimate the positive effects that taking a break from the booze can bring.
How long should you take a break from drinking alcohol?
Regardless of the reason and goal, 30 days of abstinence is the best way to start. Even if the goal is to cut down, abstinence can assist with lowering tolerance to ease moderation of use, and your body could use the break.
Alcohol has quite deleterious effects, as ethanol, an organic compound in alcohol, is a toxin to our body, Scheller explains. After cutting out alcohol for one month or more, Michael J. McGrath, MD, licensed psychiatrist and medical director of The Ohana Addiction Treatment Center in Hawaii, says people might feel significantly more clear-headed.
Benefits of an Alcohol Break, Backed by Science
If you suddenly have a craving for alcohol, try doing some vigorous exercise or doing something you love instead. These things release the same feel-good chemicals in your brain as alcohol. They won’t make you feel intoxicated like alcohol but they may make you feel happier and more relaxed. Setting a quit date is linked to success in sticking to your plan. It helps you prepare taking a break from alcohol and reflect on the reasons making a change is worthwhile, which can improve your commitment to change. I’m a certified alcohol-free life coach and bestselling author who specializes in helping highly intuitive women make alcohol insignificant and harness their true potential. Families may not know exactly what is going on, but they begin to mention changes they are noticing.
- While it’s not a guaranteed magic bullet for cancer prevention, “when an individual abstains from alcohol for an extended time the risk of developing these certain cancers is markedly lower in the long-term,” Wirtz says.
- In these cases, it is important to seek professional help to address and resolve those difficulties,” she adds.
- Alcohol causes a “steady depletion of the vitamins and minerals that our body needs to feel our best,” explains Brooke Scheller, DCN, CNS, doctor of clinical nutrition.
- Heavy drinking can also cause other issues such as low energy, memory impairment, and brain fog.
- Learn more about Tempest’s unique approach to alcohol recovery.
- Therefore, not drinking, especially for extended periods of time, can lead to significant improvements in sleep and sleep quality.
So if you were drinking enough to mess with these processes, your metabolism could start to work more efficiently within a few weeks of going sober. Dr. Robin Berzin is the Founder and CEO of Parsley Health, America’s leading holistic medical practice designed to help women overcome chronic conditions. She founded Parsley to address the rising tide of chronic disease in America through personalized holistic medicine that puts food, lifestyle, and proactive diagnostic testing on the prescription pad next to medications. Your hormones control most of your major bodily functions, which means when a substance is affecting your hormones, you will probably notice. Even moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to disrupt your hormone balance, most notably increasing estrogen and decreasing progesterone . And chronic exposure can cause an increased release of stress hormones , so your attempt to “unwind” at night actually causes you more stress the next day.
Take a Break from Drinking
Establish what your motivation for taking a break from alcohol is. It may be something like health, money, family, or relationships. Having a firm motivator is important to remind you of why you’re taking a break and the benefits that will follow. For many, alcohol is a go-to substance to ease stress, relieve boredom, promote relaxation, or as a social lubricant. In many cultures, having a drink after work, with dinner, with a friend, or with a group is a perfectly acceptable behaviour.
If you’re having difficulty finding support systems as you experiment with quitting drinking or aren’t sure how to make sober friends, Stewart recommends connecting with sober folks on social media. Imagine a day where you eat healthy nourishing foods, workout, do a nighttime self-care ritual, and go to sleep early in clean comfy sheets—you wake up the next day feeling taken care of by the past version of you. Drinking a whole bottle of wine (when you know you’ll feel horrible the next day), not eating well, and passing out with a ton of unfinished to-dos? It’s like the past version of you had no love and respect for the future you. Self-love is doing the things today that tomorrow you will be thankful for. Researchers have yet to uncover the specific ways that drinking raises your risk of developing these health conditions.
What will happen to your body after a month without alcohol?
PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts. Some of these strategies — such as watching for peer pressure, keeping busy, asking for support, being aware of temptation, and being persistent — can also be helpful for people who want to give up alcohol completely. You do not have to drink just because others are, and you shouldn’t feel obligated to accept every drink you’re offered. Did you know alcohol use can actually make you more prone to getting sick by undermining the immune system? That’s because alcohol use disrupts communication in our immune system, the body’s way of safeguarding against viruses and bacteria.