3 excuses busted

November 22, 2022 / Topical / Background

It relaxes me so much, it helps me sleep better and it is still healthy, are frequently heard motives -excuses- why alcohol is necessary. Well, we have an alternative for every excuse.

I drink alcohol because it relaxes me.

You've had a busy day and you need time for yourself. And that me time accompanied by a glass of alcohol. Because alcohol relaxes you. And that's right. Alcohol has a (slightly) narcotic effect and slows down communication between the neurons in your brain. This mainly affects the frontal cortex, the front part of your brain. And the frontal cortex is responsible for self-control and social functioning. This gives you that 'it doesn't matter to me right now' feeling and that's nice when your head is full. But yes, unfortunately, alcohol is bad for body and mind. So no matter how relaxed you feel at that moment, the (mental) hangover will come later.

Otherwise relax

Alcohol affects the reward system and that makes it likely that you will drink a few more glasses next time. Because we want to feel that dopamine and also that serotonin, substances that are released in the brain after eating, exercising, sex or drugs. That increases the risk of addiction. But there is a solution. You just read it. Even an hour of sports or a good romp releases dopamine and serotonin... So what will it be tonight?

Click here for even more tips on how to relax.

I drink alcohol because it makes me sleep better.

Such a nightcap just before you get under the wool. Some swear by it. And yes, it helps you fall asleep. Before you know it, you'll be snoring. But here too there is a big 'but'. Such a nightcap does not provide a better quality of sleep. It even messes up your sleep cycle. Fortunately there are plenty alternatives for that famous nightcap.

I drink alcohol because it can't hurt. It's even healthy.

That would be nice. But as is often the case: something that is too good to be true is not true. There is no such thing as "healthy drinking". Previous studies have already shown that excessive use causes health damage. British research shows that moderate alcohol consumption also has an effect on the structure of the brain. It affects the quality of the so-called 'grey matter' in the brain, which is responsible for processing information. “The more alcohol you drink per week, the smaller the volume of that gray matter becomes,” says Carmen Voogt Alcohol Expertise Center of the Trimbos Institute.

Alcohol also appears to affect the 'white matter' of the brain. It contains the nerve cell extensions, and is in fact 'the wiring' of the brain. Carmen: “If the quality of that decreases, you will function worse cognitively.” By your cognitive functioning we mean your perception, attention, concentration, memory, orientation, language use and skills.

Conclusion? If you really want to be healthy, you choose a non-alcoholic alternative. Need inspiration? Here it comes:

Alternatives I

Alternatives II

Alternatives III

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