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Extend Your Sober Streak: The Benefits of Giving Up Alcohol Long-Term

Updated: Jan 16

Have you heard about "Dry January?" It's a thing. After all the partying and drinking you may have done over the holidays – particularly New Year's – you take a month off from drinking any alcohol at all. Good thing we have some delicious mocktail recipes for you to carry you through your dry month, many of which help support the body's natural detox process with their essential oil ingredients.

I don't want to cause a panic but – in the quest for better health – there are some pretty good arguments for giving up drinking altogether, not just for January. In November of last year, the American Society of Clinical Oncology issued its first statement linking alcohol use to seven types of malignancies, including breast cancer. The ASCO is a research and advocacy organization comprised of many of the nation’s leading cancer doctors, so if they have something to say, I'mma listen. I mean, I don't drink anyway, but I'mma then listen and tell my friends (read: YOU) about it.

Don't think your drinking creates a real issue? There is an increased risk to your health, even with light drinking. And in an era of bottomless bevs while at brunch or free shots while at your favorite watering hole, you're certain to find yourself literally drinking away your health.

Just eight drinks – per week – qualifies as heavy drinking, while four in one sitting counts as a binge. Yup. Those four beers during the game or throughout your night of karaoke is a binge. Do the math: think about when you've gone to happy hour with your coworkers, brunch with the girls, the parties with the pileup of bottles – what does your total come out to in a month...or even a week?

Not only are your chances of cancer increased, but drinking alcohol impacts your sleep, too.

“Alcohol is perhaps one of the most misunderstood drugs when it comes to sleep,” says Matthew Walker, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the director of the Center for Human Sleep Science.

Alcohol acts on the “top layer of the brain called the cortex. You’re just knocking yourself out, essentially,” he explains, stressing that “sedation is not sleep.” Drinking before bed makes your night's sleep choppy rather than restful, with tiny moments of waking up (called micro-awakenings) that are so short you don’t remember them, says Walker, which leads to failure to associate cause to the groggy effect.

REM (rapid eye movement) sleep or dream sleep is a critical stage for your body getting the rest it needs. When you drink – especially before bed – your REM sleep is completely derailed. This phase “helps reboot the emotional circuits of your brain,” he says, which is kind of a form of “overnight therapy” where your brain can reset after a stressful day.

If you're having trouble learning or recalling things, that's directly linked to REM sleep, too. “Essentially what REM sleep is doing is updating your mind-wide web of informational associations, and that leads to wonderful insights and problem-solving.” Walker also cites a small study of college students, whose performance on learned tasks was measured a week later. Participants who drank after learning that first night showed a measured loss of information compared with the control group. A third group drank the third night after learning and under-performed as well, which showed how even occasionally imbibing can throw off your midweek brain power.

So...How important is that cocktail, really? Is it worth messing with your memory, emotions, and brain power, or increasing your risk of cancer? Any alleged health benefits from your “daily glass of wine” can certainly be consumed in healthier forms. For instance, you'll get more antioxidants from a glass of NingXia Red and increased support for whole-body wellness without all those pesky negatives wine brings with it!

Are you ready to ditch the drinking?


Let's be real - taking care of your wellness can feel like a solo mission. But, don't worry - we're here to be your wellness warriors, cheering you on every step of the way! We're not just here to give you answers, we're here to build lasting friendships and watch you blossom into the best version of yourself.

We're all about paying it forward and that's why we're sharing our wellness secrets with you. Now, it's your turn to feel more confident as you make the best choices for you and your family.

Start by snagging your free digital guide, "Simple, Natural Ways to Boost Your Mood" below or click the link here to learn more about why we're so passionate about helping YOU to become an even more educated consumer. Let's do this wellness thing together!


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