Our health and wellbeing writer Kate Bermingham talks to us about going sober for the whole month of October for Macmillan Cancer Support…
Are you one of the thousands of ‘sober heroes’ planning to kick the booze for 31 days to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support this coming month? If yes, well done you! If you’re undecided and need some extra motivation, here are a few of the amazing benefits you can expect from a month on the wagon…
Gain more energy
You’ll feel bright eyed and bushy tailed after all that quality sleep time. Alcohol has a disruptive impact on your natural sleep cycle, often sending you straight to the ‘deep sleep’ stage and skipping the important ‘rapid eye movement’ stage. In a typical night’s sleep you’d normally have six to seven cycles of REM, but after a night on the booze you might have just one or two. Result = you’ll wake up exhausted and drained before your day has even begun.
Become more productive
With all that extra energy and vitality in the bank from your quality night’s sleep, you’re far more likely to be productive at work, chirpy with your friends and colleagues, and generally more optimistic about life. Alcohol acts as a depressant on your brain and central nervous system. Eva Cyhlarova from the Mental Health Foundation says:
“Over time, heavy drinking interferes with the neurotransmitters in the brain that are needed for good mental health. So while alcohol may help deal with stress in the short term, in the long run it can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety, and make stress harder to deal with.”
If you’re trying to lose weight, cutting out alcohol is an easy win. A large glass of wine (250ml) can add 230 calories to your meal. Drink 2-3 units a day and you could consume 6,000 calories a month. Over a year that equates to a stone and a half of excess weight. In addition to the calories in your glass, drinking alcohol stimulates your appetite, causing you to eat larger portions. It also depletes your energy levels, making you less keen on exercise the next day!
You’ll save lots of money! Drinking alcohol is an expensive game – the price of a pint has gone up 20-fold over the past 40 years. Depending on how much you normally drink, this could have a dramatic impact on your disposable income. Plus you’ll have all that extra energy to spend it on fun days and nights out, or taking up a new sport or exercise class.
Alcohol dehydrates the body and skin. Katherine Brown of the Institute of Alcohol Studies said: “even a young complexion can become drawn as the skin loses elasticity through dehydration.” Too much alcohol attacks the liver and impairs its ability to metabolise protein and store fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K. It also blocks the absorption of folate, which is essential for cell function. A month off the booze and your complexion could be restored to a youthful glow!
It’s a fantastic opportunity to contribute to a worthy cause. Everyone knows someone with a cancer diagnosis, and it’s crucial that these patients are given the support they need from the day of diagnosis, through their treatment and beyond. Find out how you can get involved and raise money here.
If you’re planning to up your fitness game during Go Sober for October, the lovely people at MacMillan Cancer have set up a Go Sober Wellbeing website with lots of fun ideas for fitness and health eating, plus motivational tips to ensure you meet your goals and stay on the wagon.
Follow Kate at https://twitter.com/kateevelynber