Lockdowns are hard, so it’s not a huge surprise that the latest research from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) showed some startling lockdown drinking trends.
During the 2020 Covid-19 lockdowns, 20 per cent of Australian households bought more alcohol than they normally would. Of those, 70 per cent reported drinking more, over a third said they were now drinking every day, 20 per cent admitted to drinking earlier in the day and 32 per cent said they were concerned about drinking habits or the drinking habits of a family member.
There are lots of reasons why people in lockdown reach for alcohol, but I think that lockdown is actually the perfect time to go alcohol free. Here are four big benefits to choosing alcohol-free drinks instead.
Less Stress when drinking less alcohol
You don’t have to be working on the front line of the Covid response to be stressed out right now. The uncertainty of living in lockdown, not to mention the monotony of staying at home and the lack of contact with family and friends can take their toll.
While alcohol can increase stress by interfering with serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, alcohol-free drinks allow you to relax without an alcohol induced anxiety spike.
This sparkling wine includes plant benefits such as the calming lemon balm, soothing damask rose and antioxidant rich rosemary.
Sleep better with alcohol-free drinks
Although alcohol can make you drowsy, it actually plays havoc with your sleep. Even a small amount of alcohol before bedtime can reduce the amount of REM sleep (the sleep we need to feel well rested) and cause wakefulness during the night.
Poor sleep can have a big impact on your day – even if you’re not leaving the house. You’re likely to be fatigued and irritable and will find it harder to concentrate. This will be particularly difficult if you are home schooling young children – parents need a lot of patience.
Alcohol-free drinks can improve your sleep by helping you to unwind in the evening without any negative effects on your sleep cycle.
A study from the university of Milan found that melatonin, found in high levels in the skins of red grapes, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon can play a role in a restful night’s sleep.
Reducing alcohol can get your fitness on track
With gyms, pools and Pilates studios closed, your fitness regime may have fallen to the wayside. But staying fit during lockdown is a good way to stay positive. As well as those feel-good endorphins, exercise will help you sleep and keep on track with your long term goals.
While alcohol can sabotage your fitness goals, going alc-free will help keep you hydrated and ready for your next home workout.
Carefully selected minerals, along with carbohydrates and water, a new wave of non-alcoholic sports beers like this one provide low energy hydration, replace lost electrolytes and boost nutrients that support recovery, such as Magnesium to prevent cramps.
Avoid the Covid weight gain
Lockdown kilos are real! A Monash University survey found that more than half of Australian adults experienced overeating or poor appetite during the first COVID-19 lockdown. Stress eating, boredom eating and comfort eating can all contribute to unwanted weight gain. But another factor is alcohol.
Alcohol is full of empty calories, but that’s just part of the problem. Alcohol also impacts your metabolism so even if you are eating well, your body is storing more energy as fat. On top of this, alcohol is associated with snacking – the more you drink, the more likely you are to be reaching for snacks like salted nuts, chips or cheese.
Many non-alcoholic drinks are low in sugar and calories and will not mess with your appetite or your metabolism.
Three non-alcoholic low calorie drinks to try:
Only 14 calories per 100ml
Sources: Poor appetite and overeating reported by adults in Australia during the coronavirus-19 disease pandemic: a population-based study – Public Health Nutrition. Effect of alcohol consumption on food energy intake: a systematic review and meta-analysis – Cambridge University Press – 29 Jan 2019 sleepandhealth com/dorma-dorma-dorma/