Maybe your nightly glass of wine has turned into two or three. Or you’re overdoing it on the beer and have the gut to prove it.
Giving up alcohol can be tough – but the benefits make it worth the effort, says Damon Raskin, MD, a Los Angeles-based physician who is board certified in addiction medicine.
“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,” Dr Raskin says. That’s generally two drinks a day for men.
Also, if your drinking seems to be affecting your work or personal relationships – regardless of how much booze you’re knocking back – it’s time to consider taking it easy, he adds.
Here’s what you can expect to happen, both short- and long-term, if you give up alcohol:
1You’ll sleep more soundly
One recent study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research found 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.
Another review of 27 studies found that while alcohol may help people fall asleep more quickly and deeply at first, it seriously screws with sleep quality after that initial restful period.
You might toss and turn 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, Dr Raskin says.