The tell-tale signs you're overdoing it
It's all too easy to drink too much without giving it a second thought. At least sometimes, the body tells you something is wrong. Here are some of the tell-tale visible signs that the body is suffering:
The visible effects
A tell-tale sign you’ve over-indulged. Most symptoms are brought about by dehydration – such as a banging headache, nausea, feeling tired and sluggish. The best thing you can do is to drink plenty of water, each a potassium rich snack like a banana and go for a stroll to get some fresh air.
Alcohol is packed with calories that contain no nutritional value. A large glass of red wine contains almost as much as a slice of cake! A 5% pint of lager 240-250 calories – that’s the equivalent of a burger! At 7 calories a gram that’s almost as much as pure fat! (1)
When we drink low or moderate amounts of alcohol, it tends to amplify our emotions. So if we’re happy, we can feel better – but if we’re not so happy we tend to feel worse. Drinking alcohol can lead to and be a symptom of poor mental health such as anxiety and depression.
Did you know alcohol uses up natural chemicals in the brain? These chemicals are vital to reducing anxiety and lifting mood. So it can be easy to become trapped in a cycle of drinking to make yourself feel better, without realising you’re probably just making the problem worse.
Alcohol dehydrates the skin and depletes it of essential nutrients, making your skin appear dull and tired. Drinking alcohol also dilates the facial blood vessels, making you more susceptible to spidery red thread veins. Pre-existing skin conditions like Psoriasis and Rosacea are both made worse by alcohol.
Strong, healthy nails rely on a balanced intake of nutrients and plenty of water. Brittle nails could be one sign you’re drinking more than you think.
Your hair also relies on your body being hydrated. Regular drinking can leave you with dry and brittle hair. Excessive drinking depletes iron and can cause hair loss.
A few too many drinks before bedtime and you might think you’re getting off to sleep quickly, but an excess of alcohol means you can go straight into deep sleep missing out the usual first stage of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Instead of having typically 6-7 cycles of REM sleep you’ll only have 1-2 meaning you’ll wake up feeling tired.
Up in the night
When you’ve been drinking you’re more likely to get up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet too. Drinking also causes heartburn and because it relaxes the muscles in your body including the throat, it increases your likelihood of snoring. For a great night’s sleep, make that nightcap a glass of water.
It can be all too easy to let alcohol become a habit when trying to unwind after another hard day. But it isn’t a good idea. Drinking alcohol stops us from sleeping properly and together with a hangover can make life more difficult all round. All of which just leads to more stress.
Alcohol can do more than leave you struggling to remember the events of the night before. Over time, heavy drinking can lead to memory loss problems – in particular, a Vitamin B1 deficiency causes Wernicke-Korsakoff's Syndrome – a dementia-like illness.
There's always time to turn it around
The bottom line is that indulging on the alcohol front can start to have a negative effect in many areas of our life. A simple way to improve your day to day appearance and mood is to drink responsibly. Find out how many units are in your favourite tipple. It adds up to more than you think. Taking a few simple steps to make sure you're not overdoing it is all it takes. Why not try dropping a glass size this year?