With Friends Like These

By: Marc-Alain Reviere

My first ever entry for my first ever client. 

Jack Daniels, if you please

Knock me to my knees
You’re the only friend
That has ever been
That didn’t do me wrong
~ David Allen Coe
Certain friends are good for certain things. My sister Jeannie is the first person I call when I need a good laugh and my girlfriend Colleen is my go-to gal when I need a workout partner. That’s not to say Jeannie can’t guilt me into exercising or that Colleen is incapable of delivering a smile and a belly laugh; I’m just saying that everyone is better at some things than they are at others. Which brings me to to David Allen Coe’s drinking song quoted above.
To be sure, Jack Daniels, Brandy Alexander and Tom Collins can be thought of as a type of friends with benefits. For example, alcohol is proven to be an effective social lubricant and to this I can attest. For better or worse, I’ve met each of my last three boyfriends in bars with the help of friends like these!
But seriously, the health benefits of consuming alcohol in moderation have been splashed across headlines in recent years. One 2009 study suggests that regular, moderate alcohol intake has mental benefits in older adults. Other research indicates that moderate drinking may reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. As a moderate drinker myself, I smiled when I read those headlines and toasted “to me!” for being such a wise 31 year old.
But while alcohol may be good in some circumstances, my mind wondered … what about others? For instance, quality sleep has eluded me for several years. Could alcohol be the culprit? What does science say? I began to wonder if my ‘friends’ were the ones keeping me awake at night.
To my surprise, the first Google result read like this: A national U.S. study found that moderate drinkers are more likely to get enough sleep each night, exercise regularly and be at a healthy weight than nondrinkers and heavy drinkers. Say what? Moderate drinker: check. Exercise regularly: of course. Healthy weight: yup. Enough sleep: (enter train-wreck-sound-effect here). What gives?
Based on findings and expert opinion discovered during my subsequent research, I learned a bit about how alcohol mixes with sleep. Alcohol consumed prior to bedtime may decrease the time required to fall asleep. However, alcohol consumed within an hour of bedtime appears to disrupt the second half of the sleep period. The same disruption may occur even when people consume several hours prior to bed, during happy hour for example.
Equipped with this new knowledge along with some helpful tips from author Dr. Michael Breus, I’ve devised a new approach that, ideally, will allow me to: (a) continue to enjoy adult beverages, (b) realize some potential benefits related to consumption, and (c) get a better night’s rest.
Taken from his book Good Night, Dr. Michael Breus offers some rules on alcohol if you drink:
1. Take a multivitamin with minerals that morning. This is to replace what you will likely sweat out.
2. Consume at least forty ounces of water the day prior to drinking. This again helps dehydration.
3. Drink one glass of water with each drink and don’t start another without finishing your glass of water.
4. Go for clear liquids and white wines (these have less of a likelihood of hangover). Avoid sugary blends, such as cocktail mixers/syrups and regular soda.
5. Remember to go to bed at a reasonable time (preferably your usual time) so you’re not increasing sleep deprivation while drinking.
So while my adult friends Jack, Tom, and Brandy may be great for facilitating conversation with an attractive member of the opposite sex, they seem to be less adept at promoting genuine quality sleep. For that, Dr. Breus suggests a warm bath and a nightcap with Herb tea.

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