Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional. For some people, heart damage from alcohol overuse isn’t reversible after any amount of time. The good news is that the sooner you lower your intake, the better it will be for the health of your heart. Another 2017 brain study published in PLOS One found that two to three weeks of alcohol detox can boost your working memory.6 This type of memory helps you temporarily retain important information, like a digital code or phone number.

taking a break from alcohol

He’s a senior scientific adviser at the NIH institute that studies alcohol, and he says the results have been kind of surprising. So I think the very first step here is to simply assess your relationship with alcohol. You know, write down these things in a journal or just in the memo section of your phone.

Set a quit date

“It is also important to notice what happens to your emotions when you stop alcohol use. If you have been using alcohol to manage difficult or uncomfortable emotions or experiences, those emotions will intensify shortly after you quit using. In these cases, it is important to seek professional help to address and resolve those difficulties,” she adds. If you’ve thought about it and want to try sobriety, for a brief period of time or for who-knows-how-long, getting started can be simpler than you think. If you look at the impact alcohol is having on your life and decide that there are still some benefits even among the consequences, that’s an important step in recognizing how your relationship with alcohol is working overall.

Nicola says it’s during the third stage of sleep, known as deep sleep, that you release growth hormones and testosterone and activate the glymphatic system, which is the brain’s waste clearance system. It might come as a shock to those who look forward to a nightcap as a way to drift to sleep, but how to take a break from drinking alcohol acts more like a tranquilizer, knocking you out but not giving you true sleep. Learn more about if moderation can work for you or take a self-assessment to see if you have a drinking problem. I often suggest a period of days to my clients, leaving the final decision up to the individual.

Reduced Heart Disease Risk

Framing sobriety as a temporary challenge versus a permanent lifestyle change can make it easier to stay sober for the long haul. That’s the logic behind the Alcoholics Anonymous adage “one day at a time”—if you can abstain for just 24 hours rather than worrying about how you’ll ever manage to never have another drink, ever, it feels less daunting and more manageable. The sober curious movement — people who are limiting their alcohol consumption — is relatively new.

On a Saturday night, people are starting to pack into a popular bar called Harvard & Stone in a hip Los Angeles neighborhood. For most people, participating in month-long challenges will provide a range of benefits and little downside, even over the longer term. Mindfulness practice has also been shown to help drinkers to change their drinking. It’s February and many people are starting to put into place their New Year’s resolution to drink less alcohol. Though you may not have experienced any legal problems resulting from your drinking, you may have had some close calls. Legal consequences often affect future opportunities such as employment, admittance to academic programs, or studying abroad.

Why is drinking too much alcohol bad for you?

It’s OK — and, in fact, very normal — if you’re feeling ambivalent about changing your relationship with alcohol, says Ellinwood. Just as you might think to yourself, “maybe I should get more sleep this week,” you can think, “maybe I should check in with myself about my alcohol consumption.” Here’s how to start. “There are people who have learned to practice very reasonable alcohol consumption that contributes to psychosocial well-being in a way that does not impair their health,” Kumar noted.

Maybe you just want a break, or university, parental, academic or legal pressures have come to light, or you believe you just need to cut back. Regardless of the reason and goal, 30 days of abstinence is the best way to start. Even if the goal is to cut down, abstinence can assist with lowering tolerance to ease moderation of use, and your body could use the break. When you finish the 30 days, you can make the decision to continue not drinking or to moderate your use. The more you drink, the more likely it is that you’ll damage parts of your heart that you really, really need.

Most people who try to moderate use without lowering tolerance do not find much success. You are already aware that it takes more alcohol to get the same buzz you used to get. As you build tolerance, you become quite skilled at acting relatively “normal” even though you may have a very high blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Students will engage in poor judgment or risky dangerous behaviors because they feel they are fine.

taking a break from alcohol