Considering ditching the booze for the month of October? You’re not alone! Millions of people got involved in doing Sober October last year, raising over £5 million for Macmillan alone! The idea is to commit to doing either 14, 21 or a full 31 days in the month of October without any alcohol, with friends and family sponsoring you for your efforts. The end result is you feeling happier and healthier, with the bonus of helping out any charity of your choice!
Going sober for a month can definitely have a whole host of benefits, let’s have a look at some of the main ones and who knows, maybe you’ll be convinced to give Sober October a go!
Better quality of sleep
It’s a common misconception that a nightcap can help you drift off to sleep, in reality alcohol can have a hugely negative effect on your nights sleep as it prevents you getting into the high quality REM sleep stage which is what allows you to process memories and emotions ready for the next day. By ditching the alcohol for a whole month, you will definitely notice a marked difference in the quality of your sleep, waking up feeling refreshed and well rested every morning.
It’s shocking how many calories are actually in alcohol, with the popular jager bomb containing on average 209 calories (and that's definitely not a drink that you savour!) Just for some comparison, the average packet of crisps contains fewer than 200 calories. Some people aren’t aware of the impact that a night of drinking can have on your diet attempts. Even if you’re drinking vodka sodas all night, one shot of vodka contains 100 calories on its own! So say you have 5 doubles over the course of an entire night you can be totalling 1000 calories in just alcohol (and that’s if you have it with zero calorie mixers, we won’t even start to get into the calorie content of cocktails and full fat mixers!). On top of the calorie content of alcohol, I think all of us have given in to the temptation of having a takeaway after a night of drinking and dancing. After drinking, our inhibitions are wildly reduced, and even if you’ve been in a calorie deficit for the entire week, that greasy kebab or pizza you choose to order could completely derail any weight loss attempts that you might have! By cutting out drinking for a month, we think that you’ll experience a lot more success in your weight maintenance/loss efforts, and be able to track your calories much more effectively (if that is something you strive for!).
Alcohol dehydrates your body when you drink it, which is a common cause for poor skin. It is also often mixed with sugary drinks (think rum and coke, or almost any cocktail!) which can also wreak havoc on the skin. The ladies I’m sure can also relate to that feeling at the end of a night after a few cocktails when you just can’t be bothered to wash your makeup off before bed. We all know how bad it is for us to sleep in makeup, but sometimes the bed is just too tempting in that moment when your judgement levels have been skewed! By cutting out the booze and choosing healthier alternatives when you go out on the town, your skin will most definitely thank you!
Plenty of people will attest to feeling in much higher spirits after a few drinks, however those same people will likely also be facing the hangover blues in spades the next day. Alcohol is a depressant after all, and the way that you feel when you’re hungover is caused by alcohol’s effect on your brain’s chemistry. The long term effects can include permanent damage to your brain’s serotonin levels (the happiness chemical!) and nobody wants that. By eliminating alcohol for a whole month as a regular drinker you will likely notice your day to day mood being much more balanced, not facing the high highs and subsequent low lows that alcohol can result in.
Going out for even a couple of cocktails on a friday night after work can quickly run up a pretty hefty bill. By ditching the alcohol, not only will you have no nasty hangover the next morning, but your bank balance will likely thank you as well! A soda water with lime, a juice or any other soft drink can be extremely satisfying, and lots of bars will also offer plenty of mocktail options if you feel like pushing the boat out a little! You’ll also notice that going out for dinners will be a much cheaper affair when you’re not drinking alcohol, whether it be you eliminating the usual bottle of pinot grigio that you order with your main course, or the espresso martini that you enjoy as an after dinner tipple.
So why not give Sober October a go, and let us know how you find it! However, if you’re more of a Dry January person and won’t be getting involved this month, you can click here for some great keto-friendly alcoholic beverage ideas that our nutritionist can recommend!