On Drinking Less and Getting Sleep | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

On Drinking Less and Getting Sleep

For the past few weeks I've been bothered by what I assume are allergies that have caused an interesting reaction -- if I drink even one mug of beer or a single glass of red wine, I will wake up with an excruciating headache around 1 a.m. The headaches seemed to be what people describe as "cluster headaches" -- the type where you consider banging your head against a wall in order to distract yourself from the pain.

I like beer. Quite a lot. On of my favorite Jackson moments is walking into Pi(e) at Sal and Mookie's, catching Tara-Lynn's eye and having her say (or mouth, depending on the crowd and volume level) the question: "Stella?" My affirmative nets me a chilled glass of well-deserved relaxation after a hard day of Boomin' and JFP'in'.

My taste for beer is no secret; just the other night, it was a self-satisfied Laura at Hal and Mal's who plunked down the fully updated beer menu for H&M and looked expectantly for my creative order. When I smiled apologetically and asked for for club soda with a twist, she made that "wonk-wooonk-wooonk" sound that you hear when a contestant guesses wrong on the Price is Right.

I tried to tell her that it was me -- not her beer line-up -- but she had already darted off to serve others.

Have I mentioned my most priceless beer pairing -- that of beer and Saints football? Ah, memories.

There are, of course, a number of actions I could take about this beer situation. I could go to a doctor, to figure out this radically ridiculous problem and get myself, once again, back on the beer-soaked road of happiness. That would, however, require me going to a doctor. So... you know... scratch that.

What I've opted for over the past month is... well... not drinking beer. Or red wine. In the past month I've had four mixed drinks... two martinis at Pi(e) that were delicious and two vodka concoctions at places where I won't discuss them because I opted not to finish the drink. I've had a few glasses of white wine at home and at the beach when we got away a few weeks ago. (It so happens I dislike most liquors and white wines, so that keeps my consumption down despite their apparent lack of headache-inducing histimines.)

Most nights and weekends, I'm drinking mineral water (I love the bubbles) when it's around and club soda (or just plain old water) when it's not. The upshot? Well, not drinking is an interesting experiment. Here's what I've concluded:

1.) I'm sleeping better and waking up easier, which makes for a happier, healthier feeling workday.
2.) I've lost 3-4 pounds.
3.) While I didn't often get hangovers (or at least not bad ones) I now *never* get hangovers, thanks to the aforementioned not drinking.
4.) No worries driving home from pretty much anything.
5.) Cheaper restaurant tabs.

Like vegetarianism, teatotaling has its downsides -- mostly, I feel bad turning down hospitality due to my dietary restrictions, whether in the form of food or drink. But I feel like what I'm doing is better for me, I feel a little better most days and my water consumption is way up... that's supposed to be a good thing, too.

Never drink again? Unlikely. (After all, I fully plan on being in New Orleans before the New Year. Enough said?)

But this Lent-like experiment with cutting way back has me feeling the health benefits and wondering what another month or so of near-teatotaling could do in terms of weight-loss... and health gains.

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