Before you start reading, just let me make it clear that I’m not here to preach. I’m not telling you not to drink, I’m not telling you to binge drink either, and I’m not here to judge. I’m here to blow your mind with science (I can’t guarantee said blown mind).
This year I’ve signed up to take part in Dry January, the campaign run by Alcohol Concern. Last year approximately 2 million peopled participated, and this year 50,000 people signed up during the Christmas and New Year period alone. What I like about it is that it’s aimed at the social drinker, and that it doesn’t pitch itself as a “detox” programme, which is awesome because usually as soon as you see the d-word, more often than not it’s a load of old claptrap (real word – look it up).
Now I’m not a huge drinker. I don’t drink during the week, but do occasionally at weekends. I tend to save having a drink for special occasions, or catching up with old friends. However that wasn’t always the case.
While I was at uni, there was no legislation in place to prevent binge-drinking. Yes, I’m that old. Wednesday nights used to consist of some serious pre-drinking (bottle of vodka then a hitting a few bars), before eventually winding up a club where it was £10 all you could drink. It seems ridiculous now that it was even legal to do that, but at the time I was loving life – possibly having a YOLO moment but YOLO wasn’t invented then. Fact.
You’ve probably also noticed I used to spend money on booze instead of just paying a tenner for the night – clearly not the sharpest knife in the drawer.The thought of drinking like that now makes me feel all wrong inside.
If you’re an avid reader of this blog – of course you bloody are – you’ll know that I’m more interested in health and well-being as opposed to becoming stacked/ripped/jacked/The Hulk. Cutting alcohol from your diet can improve your well-being in so many ways including improved sleep, better concentration and increased energy levels, not to mention it’ll save you stacks of empty calories.
Since New Years Eve (my last day of consuming alcohol), I’ve been using the Jawbone Up 3 band and app to log and track my sleep, so the images you see below are taken from there. Over the last two weeks, I’ve averaged sleep of 7h 30m (ignore the spike, somehow one sleep recorded as 15 hours…I wish!). This is usually going to bed at 10pm and waking at 6am as part of my rock star lifestyle:
And now here’s my sleep from a typically boozy NYE:
A total of just 5h 3m, going to bed at 2.45am (I’m so hardcore) and waking at roughly 8am. Clearly, the sleep was affected by alcohol. A result of that meant on New Years Day (NYD to his mates) I didn’t feel like my usual energetic and irritating-to-others self. I was lethargic, sluggish, and was already looking forward to feeling normal the next day.
Sure there’s been a few mornings this month where I’ve felt tired, that’s perfectly normal, but it’s incomparable to how I felt on that dark, dark morning.
So your mind may or may not have been blown by the science (but I know if definitely was by the photo of me at uni). Stay tuned for the next post at the end of the month. In the meantime, here’s another gem. You’re welcome.