In my earlier years, imbibing alcoholic beverages was an unfamiliar concept to me. Even though I’m not a habitual drinker presently, I occasionally enjoy a couple of drinks when I’m in the company of friends or family, or during special occasions. Hence, I embarked on a seven-day experiment to ascertain the merits and demerits of drinking wine every day.
As a health editor, I am privy to the potential benefits of consuming red wine, such as reducing cholesterol, improving cognitive functions, and increasing lifespan. However, the practical implications of these benefits on a daily basis are often vague. Therefore, I wanted to examine the visible impact of having a glass of red wine each day on my body, both positive and negative.
I approached this undertaking with a systematic outlook. Each evening, when I was prepared to unwind, I savored a glass of red wine. During the seven-day period, I was privileged to visit an Almond Breeze orchard in Northern California, where I had the opportunity to taste the Cabernet Sauvignon from a vineyard owned by a family. Nevertheless, I didn’t limit myself to any specific type of wine, and I experimented with various varieties such as shiraz, zinfandel, and merlot, and on occasion, I had more than one glass.
However, I ensured that I consumed the recommended amount of five ounces, as specified by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
In conclusion, my week-long experiment provided me with valuable insights into the advantages and disadvantages of drinking wine daily. While I enjoyed my nightly ritual, I also realized that excessive alcohol consumption can have adverse effects on one’s health. Thus, I will continue to indulge in moderation and appreciate the benefits of a glass of red wine.
Effects of Daily Red Wine Consumption on Sleep
My nightly glass of red wine brought about two noticeable patterns in the hours following my consumption. Firstly, I can now understand the appeal of having a drink after a long day. Sipping on red wine slowly helped me relax and made me feel a bit sleepier. According to board-certified holistic nutritionist Katie Bressack, INHC, AADP, this is due to alcohol being a depressant that calms the nervous system down, making one feel drowsy, and causing brain activity to slow down, leading to sleepiness.
However, the sleepiness felt artificial, as my sleep was restless and I would wake up at least once in the middle of the night. I discovered that I am not alone in this experience. According to The Sleep Foundation, alcohol’s slow metabolism in the liver causes it to continue circulating in the body, even after it makes you feel sleepy initially. This can result in disrupted sleep throughout the night.
Bressack confirms that alcohol is not conducive to restful sleep. Apart from alcohol’s metabolism disrupting the sleep process, it also has other adverse effects on the body. For example, alcohol is a diuretic, which means it can lead to waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. The sugar content in wine can also elevate blood sugar levels, causing alertness in the middle of the night. Furthermore, alcohol affects REM sleep, making it difficult to enter the deep sleep that the body requires to feel refreshed the following day. Studies have also shown that alcohol consumption can increase sleep apnea.
Effects of Daily Red Wine Consumption on Digestion, Skin, and Mental Health
Despite all the talk about wine pairings, I was surprised to find that I didn’t crave any particular food alongside my nightly glass of red wine. In fact, the wine was filling enough to be a treat by itself, which could be attributed to the time of day I drank it, usually shortly after 6 p.m. According to Bressack, a glass of red wine can make one feel full, particularly when consumed at the beginning of the evening. She also notes that how wine affects a person’s appetite varies from individual to individual, with some people experiencing increased appetite and others feeling a reduction in their appetite.
Regardless of its impact on appetite, drinking wine every day can be harsh on bowel movements, causing them to be looser, more watery, and even darker in color than usual. Unfortunately, alcohol isn’t great for digestion, which can lead to diarrhea or even constipation for some individuals.
When it comes to the skin, if you’re aiming to be photo-ready or need to feel your best for an important presentation, it might be best to avoid alcohol. During my week of daily red wine consumption, I noticed a breakout on my forehead, which Bressack explains could be due to wine’s sugar content and its effects on digestion. However, she recommends adding probiotics and other fermented foods to aid gut flora and reduce breakouts in the future.
Although I probably won’t continue incorporating a glass of red wine into my daily routine, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the ritual. Whether I was enjoying it while soaking in the tub, writing in my journal, or sharing it over dinner with friends, the deliberate decision to relax that came with drinking wine every day brought me a sense of tranquility. Of course, alcohol isn’t necessary every night for that, and to avoid harming brain health, the recommended maximum number of drinks per week is four. Nonetheless, I learned the importance of setting aside “me-time,” and if I choose to enjoy an occasional Malbec or two, red wine is the liver-friendliest alcoholic beverage. For the sake of research, this wine-every-day experiment was certainly worth trying out.