From Christmas Day celebrations to New Year’s cheers, many of us will have consumed a lot of alcohol over the last two weeks.
Whilst it’s important to enjoy yourself, drinking too much over a short period of time can wreak havoc on our physical health and wellbeing.
Feeling constantly tired, regularly experiencing hangovers, sweating a lot, and having frequent headaches are all signs you’re drinking too much.
Watch out for psychological changes too, such as feeling anxious, experiencing mood swings and intensely craving alcohol.
The good news is that many of the effects of alcohol are reversible, if we reduce the amount that we drink, according to Bupa’s Dr. Elizabeth Rogers.
Can you undo your Christmas drinking damage?
“Whilst there is no set timeframe for when you will start seeing results as everyone’s body reacts differently, cutting back has lots of benefits for your health and wellbeing.
Removing alcohol and cutting it out of your diet for four weeks can improve your liver function and you could start some regeneration if you have not reached the stage of permanent damage. If your liver function is not too badly affected by alcohol, it can recover within 4-8 weeks.
There are also a few other ways you can help your liver repair the damage. Try to combine a month of drinking no alcohol with regular exercise and a diet that’s full of liver-friendly foods such as fish, pulses, and brown rice, as these can help too. Why not try Dry January, and see how you feel?
Giving up alcohol may also improve your mental health, as alcohol can be a depressant and can exacerbate mental health issues.
You might find your concentration improves and you wake up feeling refreshed. If you’re attempting Dry January, it’s best to introduce alcohol slowly back into your diet in February, too.”
Benefits of going tee-total for a month:
- You’ll sleep better
Alcohol affects how you sleep and often can keep you awake. It may make you feel sleepy, but it can stop you from falling into a deep sleep and cause you to wake up during the night.
Not only will cutting back improve your quality of sleep, but it will also help you concentrate more the next day.
- Healthier liver
Drinking a large amount of alcohol – even just for a few days – can result in a build-up of fats in the liver. The good news is that the liver is an organ that can regenerate itself, so some of the damage is reversible.
Removing alcohol and cutting it out of your diet for four weeks can improve your liver function and could start some regeneration. If your liver function is not too badly affected by alcohol, it can recover within 4-8 weeks.
- You may lose weight
The extra calories in alcohol all add up, and many alcoholic drinks have a higher calorie count than we realise.
With alcohol removed from your diet, it’s likely you’ll be consuming less calories, so you might lose weight over the month.
Just be careful not to replace the drinks with things like sugary or unhealthy snacks and drinks.
- Improved hydration
When you drink alcohol, your body becomes dehydrated. This can cause headaches, fatigue, and nausea, which are all common signs you’ve got a hangover.
Giving up alcohol can help you keep well-hydrated, which has lots of benefits, including improved concentration and motivation. Your skin may look and feel more refreshed, too.
- Your mood may improve
Giving up alcohol may also improve your mental health, as alcohol can be a depressant and can exacerbate mental health issues. You might find your concentration improves and you wake up feeling refreshed.
Taking some time off alcohol allows your brain to level out, and you may find you’re able to deal with any mental health worries (such as stress and anxiety) in a far more positive way.