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E-Quipped to... Survive the Silly Season “Under the Limit”
This newsletter introduces Cheers! Here’s to Your Health, an article I have written and posted on my website.
The Silly Season is almost upon us – with its energy and excesses. Too often there’s too much of everything – over spending, over eating, drinking too much and driving over the limit.
But what does “over the limit” even mean? Sure it means driving when you have had too much alcohol to drink, but in real terms what is too much?
I am always quite stunned at how little people actually know when it comes to alcohol and its effects on our body, even though their (and our) lives may depend on it.
How much do YOU know?
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Answer these questions right now:
How did you do? Check out the answers…
Levels of Alcohol Impairment
Alcohol is a depressant. It depresses our central nervous system (our brain and spinal cord) so that our functioning is impaired. The more we drink, the more impaired our functioning becomes until ultimately we die.
There are four levels of alcohol impairment based on how much alcohol we have had to drink and so, in turn, how much alcohol we have in our blood stream. If you look at the levels below you will see that at each level our functioning becomes significantly worse.
Level 1: Mild Impairment – 0.0 - 0.05%
|Drink||Alcohol by Volume (ABV)||Units|
|Small glass (125ml) of wine||13%||1.6|
|Medium glass (175ml) of wine||13%||2.3|
|Large glass (250ml) of wine||13%||3.2|
|Large glass (250ml) of wine||14%||3.3|
|Bottle (750ml) of wine||13%||9.7|
|Single shot/shooter (25ml)||40%||0.5 (in most instances)|
|Spirit cooler (300ml)||5%||1.25|
|Bottle beer (330ml)||5%||1.5 (possibly more)|
|Bottle cider (330ml)||5%||2|
|Pint Cider (About 500ml)||5%||2.8|
|1 x cocktail||varies||2 - 4 units|
Remember it takes your body approximately 1 hour to process 1 unit of alcohol (if you weigh more than 68kgs), so you can use the information above as a guide to work out how long it takes for the alcohol to leave your system. (For people under 68kgs, add extra time).
You can find the table in my article: Cheers! Here’s to Your Health.
You have already seen in the table above that alcohol causes significant impairments in all driving skills. The reality is that after only one unit of alcohol, your chances of being in an accident are doubled, and even if you are still in the legal limit of 0.24mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood (level 1), you are four times more likely to be in an accident.
In South Africa 40% of drivers who die on the road have alcohol levels in excess of 0.08 mgs / 100 ml (level 2).
It’s important to keep in mind that the more your drink the more impaired your cognitive functioning becomes – so if you are over the limit you may think that you are quite capable of driving safely, when in fact you just can’t. Unfortunately, if you are over the limit you won’t be thinking rationally, so you won’t be keeping this in mind! Make arrangements to get home safely before you start drinking.
Alcohol is not the only element to consider when it comes to our health this season. Lack of sleep is another big factor to consider. Did you know that if you go 12 consecutive nights on six hours’ sleep, it’s equivalent to a blood alcohol of 0.1%, (level 2) which is marked by slurred speech, poor balance, and impaired memory? In other words, you’re functioning as if you are drunk.
And did you know that the performance of someone who has been awake for 24 hours is equivalent to that associated with a blood alcohol level 25% more than the current UK legal limit of 0.8% (level 2)? This makes them seven times more likely to have an accident.
The message here is that getting enough sleep and staying under the limit when it comes to drinking alcohol is really important if you want to survive this silly season.
You can read about how to ensure that you get good quality sleep in my article “Insomnia”.
You can read the full article here: “Cheers! Here’s to Your Health”.
Thanks to Shelley, Sally, Suntosh, Peter and Karin for the feedback after the last newsletter.
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