I have written many times about having insomnia and my attempts to cure it. In that spirit (no pun intended) I embarked on a month long challenge in August to see if abstaining from alcohol would improve my sleep.
I am not a big drinker but I tend to be a daily one. I would regularly have one to two glasses of wine with dinner. I didn’t really think that I drank enough for it to impact my sleep but I was wrong. I slept better than I had in years. With few exceptions, I slept through the night and if I did wake up I was able to go back to sleep fairly easily.
Improved sleep was only one of many benefits I listed when I reviewed the month. Here’s the full list:
1. My skin improved. It became more supple and silky. I think we can chalk this up mostly to increased hydration. Alcohol is a diuretic. So, I was losing less water by abstaining. Alcohol is a also toxin. So, by avoiding it, it stands to reason that the skin-the largest excreting organ in the body- would improve.
2. I lost weight. I had already lost about nine pounds this year by eliminating processed food and most oil from my diet but I lost another three after cutting out wine. I felt less snacky at night and didn’t continue to eat after dinner. (I didn’t really consume fewer calories by not drinking wine because I switched to Non-Alcoholic Beer.) Also, my digestive organs were no doubt functioning better without having to drop everything to filter out the toxicity from the wine. So, more fat was getting metabolized and less was being stored.
3. Bloating was greatly reduced. Even though I had already lost nine pounds, I still had a popped out belly from being bloated all the time. When I stopped consuming alcohol, all my pants suddenly got loose again. Hallelujah!
4. No more tummy aches. Fun fact: Alcohol wreaks havoc on your microbiome. That’s the colony of beneficial bacteria that lives in our digestive track and helps break down our food. Those little guys got to work after I started this challenge.
5. Brain fog started to dissipate. I suspect my thinking became clearer because I finally got some real, honest to goodness sleep for the first time in years.
6. I felt a little happier. I found myself laughing, singing and wiggling my butt more. (I wrote what I wrote!)
7. My energy was a bit better.
8. I became tidier. This is embarrassing but sometimes I was so tired in the evening that the dishes never made it from the sink to the dishwasher. Sometimes, I was so tired in the morning that my bed didn’t always get made.
9. I felt more grounded and peaceful than I had in a long time. While I was not drinking heavily, I was drinking regularly. So, in retrospect, it’s not surprising that alcohol was affecting my moods. It’s a depressant that I was imbibing almost daily.
10. I began to feel more aware and conscious. I wasn’t just getting through my day anymore. I felt more like I did when I was younger- less jaded and more appreciative.
11. I also look younger in my opinion. I think this a by-product of more sleep, better hydration and my organs working more efficiently. My face isn’t puffy anymore and my skin is a bit more dewy again.
12. Better sleep. I don’t know if you have ever been so tired that you feel like you could cry but I have and it’s not fun!
Given all these benefits, I was curious to see if any more could be gained by continuing this experiment. So, I decided to keep this challenge going for 100 days. I’ll let you know in November what happens. Have you ever done a Dry Month or Sober Season? Please let me know in the comments.