By Cassandra Barns | UPDATED: 14:42, 24 January 2020
Fitness instructor and Nutritionist Cassandra Barns explains five reasons why you should consider partaking in Dry January.
1. Better sleep
Having a few drinks may seem to improve your sleep, or at least send you to sleep faster. But it’s actually bad news for your sleep quality. You’re more likely to wake up or have disrupted sleep in the second half of the night; and time spent in REM sleep – the phase of sleep most associated with dreaming – may reduce too [i]. So even if you sleep for a good number of hours, the sleep you get can be less restorative, leaving you feeling unrefreshed and groggy when you wake up, even if you don’t have any other hangover symptoms.
Top tip: encourage a better night’s sleep with magnesium, known as natures tranquiliser, found in wholegrains, pumpkin seeds and soya. Why not try a supplement like Natures Plus KalmAssure Magnesium powder? (RRP £24.50, www.revital.co.uk)
2. More energy
Alcohol can kill your energy in a variety of ways. Firstly, by causing a hangover: who has the energy to go out for a run or play with the kids when they’re feeling unwell? Secondly, poor sleep can obviously lead to tiredness during the day – especially after several days of accumulated poor sleep. And thirdly, alcohol can deplete your body of vital vitamins and minerals, including those required for energy, such as vitamin B1 and magnesium. So even if you don’t have hangovers, you’ll probably start to lack “get up and go” after a while. Cutting the booze can help bring back your natural energy and vitality.
Top tip: Boost your energy further with a quality source of Vitamin B12, like Natures Plus Source of Life Garden Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is the most crucial of all B vitamins for energy, vitality and overall health. Natures Plus Vitamin B12 capsules deliver 1000 mcg of B12 in a highly absorbable form. (RRP £17.50, www.revital.co.uk)
3. Better mood
Drinking alcohol can also have a negative effect on your mood, both in the short and long term. A drink can give you an initial boost, caused by an increase in serotonin – the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter. But this is often followed by a dip that leaves you feeling miserable, especially the following day. Longer-term, alcohol may also deplete your levels of nutrients such as magnesium and vitamin B6 that your body requires for making mood neurotransmitters including serotonin. This can make you want to drink even more in order to feel that buzz again. After a few weeks of abstaining, you’ll probably find that you naturally feel better without the need for alcohol.
Top tip: Finding yourself at a loss now the pub isn’t such an attractive option? The new mindfulness toolkit from ThinkWell-LiveWell (www.thinkwell-livewell.com) has numerous programmes to help support a healthier and happier you – including their well in spirit programme, ideal for improving your mood! TWLW explains, while we can’t change the world around us, we can change ourselves; and when we bring more compassion and tolerance into our environment – the world starts to change. The ‘Well in Spirit’ section combines contemplations, meditations and dream primers and TWLW makes these as accessible as they possibly can. These programmes are designed not only for the few converts, they’re for anyone, anywhere, anytime – to help you find more balance and harmony in your life. That’s why TWLW is mindfulness for practical people!
It takes 21 days to form a new habit so why not sign up to ThinkWell-LiveWell for a month for £8.00 and see how much self-development could help you on your journey!
4. A better sex life!
You may feel friskier after a couple of glasses of wine. But in the longer term, drinking more than the recommended weekly limit of 14 units can cause problems for both men and women in the bedroom. It can affect men’s ability to achieve or maintain an erection, and women’s ability to orgasm. It can also reduce libido in both sexes. If you want to perform better, or enjoy sex more, you could benefit from at least reducing your alcohol intake.
Top tip: Liven your libido with NHP Libido Support (RRP £22.77, www.naturalhealthpractice.com) which contains Siberian Ginseng and Maca.
5. And lastly… making the most of your weekend
Let’s face it; most of us have done it. We’ve had a heavy Friday or Saturday night, woken up with a hangover, then realised the day – and half the weekend – is already over before we’ve even started to feel human again. Then we feel depressed that the weekend has passed in a flash and we haven’t done anything meaningful with the time. Think about what you could do with the extra time (as well as the money and energy) that you’ll gain back if you wake up with a clear head.