Breaking the Nightly Wine Habit – Tips to Help Your Health
Over the past few years, it is clear that considerable change has taken place in drinking habits particularly when it comes to wine. Whereas once upon a time you might have had a glass or two at a dinner party or at a social occasion it has now become a staple of many people’s nightly routines. They arrive home from work feeling tired and stressed and reach out for something to unwind. The problem is that for many they are unable to stick to just a glass or two of wine and end up drinking the whole bottle or more. Breaking the nightly wine habit is something we need to talk about as heavy drinking has a big detrimental impact on health.
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Why Do I Crave Wine at Night?
There are a number of reasons why you may find yourself craving wine at night. The first is a relatively simple one. You have had a stressful day and your mind feels like it needs something to unwind and relax. It knows that wine is capable of taking the edge off your stress levels and so you pour yourself a glass and get a rush of feel-good endorphins. Repeat this a number of times and you have trained yourself to respond to stress with glass after glass of vino.
The second reason is classic conditioning which simply means if you do the same thing at the same time every day your mind gets used to responding, in the same way, night after night. If you try and break the pattern your mind resists because it wants to keep on doing what it is used to at that time.
So you come home at 7 pm take off your coat and pour yourself a glass of wine and then start cooking dinner. You do every weekday night all year. On January 1st you decide you are going to cut down your drinking as you know it is unhealthy. You arrive home at 7 pm on the 2nd of January and try and resist what you would normally do but your brain resists. You have trained it to want the glass of wine so when the routine isn’t followed as normal it is going to protest.
When you combine the psychological factors of stress or negative emotions with classic conditioning and easy access to booze breaking the nightly wine habits starts to become problematic for many people.
Is it Bad to Have a Glass of Wine Every Night?
It is interesting that there are two schools of thought when it comes to drinking a glass of wine every night. Some studies have shown that there are benefits to drinking in moderation particularly when it comes to red wine. In particular, it appears to help heart health and staves off Alzheimer’s disease.
Yet other studies conclude that even moderate drinking can have a negative impact in particular when it comes to increasing your cancer risk. As cancer can take years to develop it can be difficult for studies to determine the negative impact of your alcohol intake until years after the fact. This article in The Guardian explains the complexities of defining the benefits or negative impact of moderate drinking.
Even if the studies are inconclusive what is known is that drinking more than one or two glasses in the evening definitely does have a detrimental impact on your health. Which is why breaking the nightly wine habit is hugely important if you are drinking more than the recommended government guidelines.
Drinking Every Night After Work
Breaking the nightly wine habit means understanding why you might be drinking every night after work. We always ask our clients in-depth questions to determine why they might be doing what they are doing. Are they working too hard? Is the job that they are doing too stressful? Is there somebody at their work who is creating problems for them?
Start to think about what aspect of your working life could be causing the need to have a drink to switch off. If you don’t address the underlying problems associated with your life then the drinking habit is going to be ten times harder to manage.
How to Stop Craving Wine
So how exactly do you go about stopping your cravings for wine in the evening? Well, our first strategy for our clients is to get them to mix up their nighttime routine so that the classic conditioning doesn’t kick in. That means if you arrive home at 7 pm you need to do something very different from what you were doing before.
Mixing up your routines makes it harder for your mind to set off the drink trigger. As an example, if when you come indoors you go straight upstairs and run a hot bath you have taken the trip to your wine rack off the agenda. The mind is now pre-occupied with doing another activity that is not associated with wine.
Occupying your mind with different activities which are not associated with alcohol is important when you are breaking your alcohol cravings. You need to work out a plan of action for what you can do when you come home from work that will change up your old routines. That might be going for a walk, sitting in a different room, doing a hobby that involves both of your hands or even ringing a friend for a talk.
Placing your attention on doing something else is very important as when your mind has time to think it will invariably think about the wine. What could you do to keep your mind occupied so that it doesn’t crave that glass of wine? Remember breaking the nightly wine habit requires some effort on your part.
How to Stop Drinking Wine
If you want to stop drinking wine or moderate your intake there are other things you can also do as well as tackling the cravings. Firstly an obvious one is not having wine in the house. The problem is that many drinkers now have a cellar, wine fridge or place where they can store a large amount of wine. When wine is in the house it is so much easier to give in to temptation. Try and limit the amount of wine that you store in your home. Buy small bottles instead of larger ones. Don’t bulk buy wine in supermarket offers to save money.
Next thing is to identify your triggers. We have talked about stress and negative emotions but there may be other triggers that make you want to take a drink. Having a partner who drinks can be one trigger that is often not spoken about. Try and get them to reduce their intake at the same time as yours if you can. Certain friends can also trigger the urge to drink. If that is the case plan an activity with them that doesn’t involve drinking.
Start to learn some coping mechanisms that will help you deal with your underlying problems. You may need to alter your lifestyle in order to make that happen. Exercise, for example, is great at helping stress and anxiety. If you start to make that part of your evening routine breaking the nightly wine habit may be so much easier. You can also find some good coping mechanisms for stress in our blog on the subject.
To help you create positive change you can use our drink less alcohol worksheets which can help you understand your triggers and control your cravings. These come as a PDF which you can print out and then track your drinking habits, emotions and thoughts.
Self-Hypnosis for Drinking
Self-hypnosis to moderate your drinking can be another great tool to change your subconscious mindset around alcohol. Self-hypnosis can help you to change subconscious needs for alcohol and increase your motivation and willpower to make a change.
Our Drink Less Program clients all receive a drink less hypnosis download to help them change their habits. We recommend that they listen to this daily to alter the way in which they drink. You can purchase our self-hypnosis for alcohol reduction audio in our online store to try at home yourself.
Therapy for Breaking the Nightly Wine Habit
If you find that you need help in breaking the nightly wine habit then help is available. Our four-session program to help you moderate your drinking can help you to identify what might be causing your problem and help you to change your habits. Our sessions can take place online no matter where you are in the world. Just fill in our contact form to get more details of our programs.
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