For many of us alcohol is an accepted and often a habitual part of our lives. But new research is showing that even small amounts of alcohol can have adverse effects on our health and even reduce our life expectancy.
For Australians aged 15 years and older, 3 out of 4 drink alcohol and 3 million drink at the risky level of more than 2 standard drinks a day. Alcohol claims the lives of nearly 6000 Australians each year – that’s nearly 4 times as many that die in road accidents and more than 144,000 people are hospitalised, making alcohol one of our nation’s greatest preventative health challenges.
If you’re a heavy drinker, you are at risk of a range of diseases. Most Australians drink well above the guidelines of 2 standard drinks a day and research worldwide shows alcohol is a significant cause of cancers. Alcohol has been linked to the following cancers:
- Upper Throat
But it’s not all doom and gloom, because by cutting back or giving up our bodies are capable of regenerating.
Not that long ago we were told that having alcohol is good for our heart, which we now know is nonsense and not true. Unfortunately, we receive mixed messages that make it very confusing. Bottles of alcohol have messages on them such as enjoy responsibly and drink in moderation, what does that even mean?
The dry month has become something of a detox fad but what health benefits are there really? Can one-month alcohol free reverse the effects on our organs and our waistlines?
The culture of drinking is so pervasive and if you say, “I am not drinking because I don’t feel like”, friends can be like “well why not?”, “why are you not drinking”, “that’s un-Australian”. It’s often this fear that holds people back from doing a dry month, and fear of failure, fear of change, fear of the unknown, even fear of success. A dry month is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and your relationship with alcohol. It’s important to remember that a dry month is only a temporary change. This means that if you don’t like what you experience, you can go back to the way things were.
So, what can happen by giving up drinking for one month?
- Improve quality of sleep
- Increase wakefulness
- Improve concentration
- Enhance work performance
- Lose weight
- Lower blood glucose
- Decrease cholesterol
- Decrease in liver fat
I have a lot of clients report such an improvement in their sleep when they sustain from drinking. Often most people think they are suffering from insomnia but often it can be the alcohol. While alcohol may help you fall asleep it can disrupt the second part of your nights rest. Studies show the sleep-inducing chemical triggered by drinking subsides about half way through your sleep cycle reducing the quality of your sleep.
Most people actually find the transition from wine to water easier than they thought. Alcohol can become habitual for most of us it’s like we are almost programmed to reach for a drink in certain social situations and the alcohol-free month can go some way towards changing that programming. Your body will thank you for it, your wallet will thank you for it and the world won’t end, it’s just fine with less alcohol.
About Dry July
Dry July is a fundraiser that encourages you to go alcohol-free in July to raise funds for people affected by cancer.
The funds you raise as part of your Dry July will provide invaluable services to cancer patients, their families and carers – whether it’s a lift to a life-saving appointment, guidance from a specialist nurse, connection to an informative voice, access to therapy programs or a bed close to treatment.
Having a month off alcohol also has great health benefits, such as sleeping better, having more energy and of course, no hangovers! So you’re not only helping others, you’re helping yourself. It’s a win-win!