5 Benefits Of Participating In Sober October

From carving pumpkins to munching on chocolates, October is known for a lot of traditions. However, there's one fundraiser you may want to consider adding to your list of October traditions — Sober October. The fundraiser involves pledging to go alcohol-free for the entire 31 days in October and raising money toward SMART Recovery — a non-profit organization that provides self-help and mutual-aid services based on Cognitive Behavior Therapy to people who are dealing with addiction behaviors related to alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, shopping, etc. Friends, family members, and co-workers can sponsor Sober October participants by making a donation at this link.

However, the cause doesn't only help those who are in recovery. Going without alcohol for a month can also benefit Sober October participants in numerous ways. According to the American Psychological Association, 23% of Americans reported increasing alcohol consumption during the pandemic. In a July 2022 Gallup poll, 53% of respondents said they have one to seven drinks per week, and 12% said they drink eight to over 20 servings. The average American drinks nearly four drinks a week.

Luke Frazier, who serves as the director of marketing and communications at SMART Recovery told PR Newswire, "Social drinkers who take a month away from alcohol may be surprised by the positive health effects, especially given the compounding emotional impact of the pandemic." George F. Koob, director of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism also recommends Sober October, stating that the benefits from taking a break from alcohol can also detoxify and strengthen the liver.

Get more restful sleep by giving up alcohol

While alcohol can cause a drowsy effect, you might get better sleep at night by abstaining from drinking. According to WebMD, alcohol can help you sleep quicker and can even induce more deep sleep. However, it can also decrease the amount of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep you get. REM sleep is when you dream and has restorative effects, which is why it's important. When you don't get enough REM sleep, you may find yourself having a more difficult time concentrating.

Irshaad Ebrahim, the medical director of The London Sleep Centre, told WebMD, "Alcohol also suppresses breathing and can precipitate sleep apnea" The Sleep Foundation found that even "low amounts" of alcohol can reduce sleep quality by 9.3%. Overall, by not hitting the booze by participating in Sober October, it can help you in not hitting the snooze button in the morning.

Feel more energized by eliminating alcohol

Having a restful night of sleep is key to feeling energized throughout the day. Cutting down on alcohol can go a long way in helping you get better quality sleep that can help you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day. That's because during your sleep, alcohol causes epinephrine levels to increase (via Harvard Health). Epinephrine is a stress hormone and elevated levels can lead to a stimulation effect, which includes a higher heart rate. Thus you're more prone to waking up in the middle of the night.

According to Well + Good, abstaining from alcohol can also increase your energy levels as it can help restore your natural gut bacteria levels. Drinking too much alcohol can kill off "good bacteria" that is needed to keep your gut biome in check. Alcohol can also wear away at the lining of your gut, which can lead to the improper absorption of key nutrients. Research published in the journal "Nutrition in Clinical Practice" stated, "Accumulating evidence suggests that the gut microbiota plays an important role in the harvest, storage, and expenditure of energy obtained from the diet."

No more foggy hangover headaches

While drinking may feel fun in the moment, waking up the next morning can be a drag if you're prone to hangovers (via the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism). Hangovers are caused by drinking too much and consist of symptoms such as fatigue, headache, dehydration, and nausea. Once you get a hangover, you'll just need to wait it out as there is no medical cure, and the only certain way to avoid hangovers is to avoid alcohol entirely. Aside from feeling uncomfortable, your hangover can also impede your ability to function normally like making decisions and even moving around. This can even lead to a whole day being wasted, because you're not able to drive your car.

By using MRI scans to examine the brains of people who are recovering from alcohol abuse and have abstained from alcohol, a 2015 study published in the journal "Addiction Biology" found that brain volume increased — a sign that brain damage can potentially be reversed in those who were formerly addicted to alcohol.

No alcohol everyday keeps the dermatologist away

Now that it's autumn, the weather is cooling down and the air is getting drier. As a result, your skin loses the ability to retain moisture which can lead to dehydrated skin (via NC Dermatology Associates). Drinking alcohol can further exacerbate skin dehydration, per Insider. That's why it's especially a great idea to go alcohol-free now to help restore your skin's natural glow in time for that sexy French maid costume you have saved for Halloween. Dermatologist Tess Mauricio told Insider, "[Alcohol] dehydrates your skin and will cause your wrinkles and pores to be more visible. Your skin will lose its natural plumpness and healthy glow."

Alcohol can cause inflammation as it carries alcohol to the skin tissue, which can trigger rosacea flare-ups and acne. In fact, a study published in the "Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology" found that the women who abstained from drinking were less likely to develop rosacea than those who did. Additionally, the inability to properly absorb vitamins can also affect the skin's vitality.

By not drinking alcohol, you could forgo those costly facials and chemical peels for the month. In just one week, you may see a more dewy, healthy glow as your skin gets rid of toxins. However, as your skin is pushing out the toxins, it could result in clogged pores. So, it's helpful to keep up with your skincare routine to treat any blemishes. After you complete Sober October, you may notice plumper, brighter skin.

Save money by cutting down on alcohol

As inflation continues to persist, one of the most significant benefits to removing alcohol from your diet is the positive impact it will have on your wallet. According to a survey published in USA Today, millennials spend an average of $300 on alcoholic beverages per month. Imagine what that $300 you saved from not drinking alcohol can go toward instead — that's almost $10 a day you are saving for the month of October. If you're curious about how much you will specifically save, you can try inputting your data into the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism's "Alcohol Spending Calculator." Now you can use this information to plan your finances and save up for that dream vacation to Fiji or to pay off all your debt, per Reuters.

Of course, abstaining from alcohol will help your body heal and can even provide a boost to your immune system, which in turn can help you avoid getting sick and having to take time off from work. According to the World Health Organization, alcohol can suppress your immune system, which can make you more susceptible to illnesses and diseases, including COVID-19. Alcohol damages immune cells in your organs that help fight off germs, per Healthline. By not drinking, your immune system will be able to function at full capacity, which can also help you avoid expensive doctor visits. Looks like good health will lead to good wealth!