Meghan Is Right -- Dry January Is The Best Thing You Can Do Right Now
We know you've heard it before but a month off the booze is actually really beneficial -- we're talking to you Prince Harry...
With the news that Meghan Markle recently banned Prince Harry from boozing, as well as drinking tea and coffee, it seems we're all on the same page at the start of a new year. Thoughts the world over have turned to cutting back on alcohol and adding in a bit more exercise -- in fact the prince is even drinking mineral water and doing yoga, according to the Daily Express in the UK.
Of course we all know that summer is here down under, and with that comes endless glasses of rosé, a few G+Ts and a lot of parties -- but Meghan is right about the damaging effect of the drink, and having a dry January can actually set a pattern that sorts out your drinking for the whole year.
And yes, it's hard, but even in the short-term, abstaining from alcohol has some big benefits. And the biggest one? You will sleep like a baby.
In research from the University of Sussex released last week, psychologist Richard de Visser, PhD found some quite revealing results about long-term drinking patterns after just one month without alcohol.
READ MORE: One Drink A Day Now Considered "Low Risk"
Over 800 people who embarked on the Charity Initiative Dry January in the UK took part in the study and taking the month off actually reset their drinking habits -- so drinking days fell on average from 4.3 to 3.3 per week, units consumed per drinking day dropped on average from 8.6 to 7.1 and frequency of being drunk dropped from 3.4 per month to 2.1 per month on average.
"The simple act of taking a month off alcohol helps people drink less in the long term: by August people are reporting one extra dry day per week," said de Visser. He also revealed other immediate benefits: nine in ten people saved money, and three in five lost weight, and as well, 57 percent had better concentration and 54 percent had better skin. Glorious.
Sign us up.
The best part though is the sleep stuff. A huge 71 percent of participants in the series of online surveys reported sleeping better when they abstained from alcohol for a month.
You see, alcohol consumption, especially before bed, tends to upset the balance between REM (rapid eye movement sleep, the period in which dreams occur) and NREM sleep or “slow wave sleep.”
In general, REM sleep and NREM sleep follow somewhat predictable 90-minute cycles. Drinking in the evenings before bedtime throws a wrench into that pattern, says a recent story on Inverse.com.
Studies found that drinking alcohol right before bedtime suppresses REM sleep at the beginning of the night in favour of slow wave sleep, which can actually mean it's easier to drop off.
However, once the body metabolises the alcohol, REM sleep tends to occur more frequently. Still, even this overcompensation isn’t enough to repair the damage done at the beginning of the sleep cycle so you end up with a more disrupted sleep pattern for those later hours. In other words, you wake up and can't get back to sleep at all.
Been there? Yes, us too.
So, not drinking for a month will give you better sleep, which means fewer eye bags, less stress, more energy and if you need another reason, colder hard cash for the January sales.
You're so welcome.
Feature Image: Getty