Back in January, I wanted to get a breather from having alcohol, and it turns out there was an actual thing called #dryJanuary. Also turns out there was a thing called #dryFebruary as well. So, I took on the challenge to stop drinking alcohol on January 15th and planned to re-assess at the end of February. Then April rolled around and I realized I was still rolling on the dry program.
During this time, I've realized I do love the benefits of not drinking any alcohol. My sleep is more efficient, meaning I fall asleep sooner after crawling into bed and I get deeper, more sound sleep. My dreams have become more vivid and I sleep through the night more often than not. Best of all, I wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and stable. No brain fog. No grogginess.
Also, my nervous system feels more stable and inirritable. I'm getting rest and sleep, allowing my body the space and time it needs to more fully recover from the day, washing away leftover emotions and thoughts, building and storing memories, discarding non-essential ones, repair on a cellular level, etc.
The benefits associated with regenerative sleep has been so much so that I've also stopped drinking my morning caffeine of choice, yerba mate, as of May 1st. After 1 solid day's worth of a debilitating headache, my dependency on getting that stimulant first thing in the am has been relieved, for now at least. I wake up in the morning and allow my body the time to wake up naturally. I begin by hydrating with water and squeeze of lemon and then sitting on my cushion for my morning meditation. After that, I do a morning workout or stretching and then ready for the day.
Dropping both alcohol and caffeine does point out a few key features on the role of how they both play out in our modern daily lives.
I'm finding, personally, that historically I wasn't the best sleeper, feeling groggy in the morning and so my morning caffeine got my nervous system activated for the day. I'd go-go-go throughout the day and then I'd generally want/need/reach for alcohol to wind down in the evenings. Both related to each other. Turn the switch on with caffeine in the morning, work hard throughout the day, and then turn the switch off with a beer or another adult beverage in the evening. Rinse. Repeat.
Underneath the cycle of switch flipping was a general sense of fatigue and general malaise. I've always lived a healthy and active lifestyle, worked hard and finished strong. The caveat to this is that my sleep performance was not matching my active performance requirements. This has been hindering my overall health and ability to continue to work hard and finish strong.
My experiments this year of dropping alcohol and caffeine have led me to uncover the real performance booster: rest. Our bodies and brain and mind need rest to recover in order to perform at our highest potential. For me, removing these stimulants have also removed a barrier to true performance and true potential. It's an ongoing process and I'm happy to be trusting in that process.
I'm not sure how long this will last, but I sure am learning a lot in the process.
I hope you've enjoyed this article and found value as it applies to your everyday life.
Stay tuned for more articles and insights.