Winter in the Northern Hemisphere can make even the best of us lose our sanity at a slow but alarming rate. This morning, after tromping through grayish black city snow of Philadelphia, I sat down at my desk to retrieve a handful of sludge from inside my boot. From inside my boot. That right there is enough reason to drink.
When nighttime welcomes itself to the party at 4PM after you’ve spent the day battling air that hurts your face and the sobering realization that we have months of this ahead of us, a generous pour (or bottle?) of wine can feel like a well deserved remedy.
Boozing your way through winter might seem like the easiest way to make it to spring, but it’s actually your worst method of survival according to science. Here are some reasons to bypass the bar this winter.
1. You’ll sleep like a hibernating bear
The Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences Sleep Laboratory recently published a study of 24 young adults ages 18 to 21 who spent several nights sleeping in the lab. An electroencephalogram measured their sleeping brainwave patterns with and without alcohol. On nights with alcohol, people showed delta activity—a process linked to the restorative aspects of deeper sleep like storing memories. The good kind of activity. And at the same time, alpha waves started storming, which doesn’t happen during normal sleep. When alcohol sends alpha waves into war with delta waves, the body doesn’t experience the benefits of good sleep. This battle makes your sleep disturbed and you can expect waking up not feeling rested with symptoms like irritability and poor focus. When you fall asleep sober, you’ll receive the deep and restful sleep needed to be sharp, smart, and alert the next day.
2. You’ll become thinner and healthier
The holidays have a way of reeking havoc on your candy cane loving body, and a winter of heavy drinking will only continue the downward spiral. The desire for unhealthy food after a night of drinking isn’t just in your head. Your body is always looking out for you, and when trying to remove alcohol, it calls on the help of carbohydrates to do that. You might also be blissfully unaware of the amount of calories and carbs you’re consuming with each beverage that has no nutritional information on its label. Do a google search. It’s a lot.
3. You’ll have more money
If you have the bravado, sit down with a record of your 2016 expenditures and calculate what you actually spent on drinks last year. Some of you might have to wake from fainting before realizing how much you want that money back. Bankrate.com reports that at just 5 drinks per week, your yearly cost of drinking is $1,560. If you were to save that, after 30 years of compounding interest you would have $123,331. Wow. Also, if you’re a smoker, kick that too. A decade of smoking costs roughly $25,000.
4. You’ll look fresher and more youthful
Alcohol forces water out of your body and leaves you feeling and looking like the aftermath of Desert Storm. This makes for dry hair and skin that makes your appearance worn out and haggard. When skin cells are thirsty over time they stop producing collagen — a protein that “holds” your skin together, making it looking youthful and firm. Swollen eyes and skin that has aged before its time isn’t the look you’re going for, but it is the look that booze will give you. The only thing worse than pulling sludge out of your boot in the morning is doing it while looking like Gollum.
Stay smart, rich, beautiful, and sober this winter, friends. And while you’re at it, spend your money on experiences, not things.