Advertising
Advertising

How to Effectively Deal with Alcohol Cravings

How to Effectively Deal with Alcohol Cravings

Almost 31% of all deaths in the United States can be attributed to alcohol use. It’s actually the leading cause of death within North America which is why millions of dollars are spent each year battling alcohol use. There has been progress over the years because an organization like MADD (mothers against drunk driving) have lobbied to get rules changed making consequences stricter on those who get caught impaired behind the wheel.

However, even with so much effort is put towards controlling drinking and driving, we’ll still fail to make a huge difference in our society. I believe if you can control the cravings, then you might be able to reduce the overall fatalities greatly.

After doing some extensive research, I was able to put together a list of effective strategies to help people control alcoholic cravings. Let’s explore some of the top strategies:

Advertising

Remove Yourself from Risky Situations

One of the best ways to avoid alcoholic cravings is to remove yourself from any situation where you can drink. This is why people who are looking to stop drinking will avoid going to bars, or even ordering alcohol. However, remember this is only for the time being, and once you’re effectively able to control your cravings, you can slowly pull yourself back into alcoholic environments.

Friend on Speed Dial

When you first join AA (alcohol anonymous), the first thing they’ll recommend is to have a friend you can call when you have cravings. This friend should be someone who doesn’t drink or is someone who has been through the program. This way when you have cravings, you’ll be able to call someone for immediate support who will guide you in the right direction. Make sure this is a person you trust and one who has your best interests in mind.

Transition Slowly

It’s hard to control cravings from day one so space out your progress extending time slowly. For example, I would start by focusing on getting through a day, then two, a week, a month, etc. However, don’t let no one push you too quick and go at a pace which you’re happy with. If you transition too quickly then you’ll increase the likelihood of a major binge later.

Advertising

Meditate

We are now living in an era where spirituality is at an all time high…right? When you watch TV, you have people talking about meditation and relaxation. Amazon.com has stated that spiritual books are selling more now than before because people have taken a keen interest in meditating. So, the next time you are facing a serious craving, it’s important to meditate because this will help you focus on your well-being and take your mind off alcohol.

Eat Sugar

Alcohol contains a lot of sugar which is why you put on weight when you drink excessively. The next time you have a craving, I would recommend eating something sweet. Keep chocolate in your house or something which will control your cravings quickly. Here’s a great list of items which can satisfy a craving:

  • Chocolate
  • Energy drinks
  • Cookies
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Coke or Sprite

Think Consequences

Many of us are trying to steer off alcohol because of a very bad experience. Some are even trying to avoid alcohol because of something bad which happened to a close friend. The next time you have a craving, it’s important to think about the bad experience or consequence. Make sure you choose a “harsh” consequence so all you need to do is think about it and it’ll deter you from the craving your having.

Advertising

Detox Program

If you recently quit drinking, then you’ll be having withdrawals which might be very hard to control. If you find yourself having an extra hard time, then consider a detox program. You can visit a center or download a complete program online. The goal of a detox program is the following.

First, it’s to diagnose and treat symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Secondly, it’s to prevent serious events like a relapse, and seizures which do happen when quitting abruptly. If you find yourself battling with alcohol withdrawal then visit a center to find out more about how they can help. Here’s some more information on a complete alcohol detox program.

Substitute

One way to control cravings is to find a substitute for alcohol. This can be in the form of a sweet drink or even a hobby to keep you from going to alcoholic settings. A great way to explore some options would be to do a quick search online and see what’s available for recreation around you. Try out different things like sports, arts, or even traveling because I’ve found these are all great substitutes going forward.

Advertising

Featured photo credit: newyorker.com via newyorker.com

More by this author

Rizvan Ullah

Online Blogger

A General Guide to Disputing Your Public Record In New York 4 Major Changes in Men After Turning 50 Years Old Success Habits of The Worlds Wealthiest People Strategies to Find the Best Attorney When You Need One How to Create an Effective Sales Funnel

Trending in Health

1 The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight 2 Why Am I Exhausted? The Real Causes and How to Fix It Forever 3 How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success) 4 How to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time (And the Real Causes Explained) 5 Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

Advertising

Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

Advertising

Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

    Advertising

    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

    Advertising

    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

    Read Next