Body Knows Best

It is exactly halfway through my 30 days dry challenge. I haven’t drank in two weeks.

For many of you this is completely normal but I cannot tell you the last time I went a full week without alcohol; quite possibly when I was in the hospital having surgeries on my arm. Too doped up on pain killers to process thoughts, I was 19.

As far as I can recall in my adult life, I have not been without alcohol for this many consecutive days EVER.

So what has it been like being boozeless?

The last 14 days were drenched in thought with tons of pondering and considering. I can see more clearly other areas that would benefit from improvement. I soberly analyzed my ability to make choices, stand strong and not waiver. In the past I often felt powerless and although I am still gaining strength and learning how to use it, I have become more aware of my own personal power.

Aside from the beautiful realizations and spiritual observations, the bulk of the last 14 days was spent horizontally while doused in lavender oil and donning an eye mask.

aka sleeping

Me, the girl who complains on the regular about insomnia, who claims alcohol is necessary to help sleep, has been sleeping an average of 9 hours per night. I even had a few TWELVE HOUR nights! What?!

It is a super strange feeling for someone who used to fear bedtime. I used to get genuinely stressed when the lights went out. My heart began to race, scared so scared I won’t sleep.

The other night it was 10 pm and I was tired; not exhausted but tired enough. I had ambitions to start waking up early so decided to go ahead and get in bed. For the first time in a long time, I knew I’d be asleep within minutes. Because I had decided to sleep, I’d be catching Z’s soon.

Before this challenge, this wasn’t a possibility. Is this what it is like for real people? (as opposed to fake people?)

Booze and Sleep

When doing research about how alcohol affects the body, I dug deep into the scoop on sleep and learned a lot about precious R.E.M. sleep…(rapid eye movement). This is the sleep cycle when your brain processes and is restored. When we sleep, our body cycles back and forth between R.E.M. sleep and deep sleep about 7 times.

If you drink then pass out, you go directly into deep sleep. Makes sense, right? Deep sleep, out light a light…

You spend about 5 hours in deep sleep and then you either wake up in the middle of the night or your cycle between REM and deep sleep for the next few hours.

That means when I drink 3-4 glasses of wine, I am missing up to five cycles off REM sleep. My body’s time to process and restore is less than half!


Clearing the System

It takes alcohol up to 7 days to fully get out of the system. I knew that based on my history, it was going to take more than 7 days for my body to get the refresher it craved.

Although I do feel lethargic, slightly like I am living in slow motion, I still go to yoga 3-4 times a week, although usually a less intense class then the 100 degree hot class with weights. I still cook dinner, do work, get shit done, just less vehemently as before.

It’s a forced slow down. I wasn’t getting the signs to take it easy so now my body is telling me it wants to chill and it wants to heal.

If my body wants to sleep, that is what I will let it do. Sleep, heal and rebuild. Listening to your body is a beautiful thing. The body knows best. Give it what it wants and stop wondering.

References

The Difference Between REM and Deep Sleep, by Emily Bertha
https://site.eightsleep.com/blogs/news/the-difference-between-rem-and-deep-sleep

The Alcohol Experiment, Annie Grace