Alcohol and HRV

The effect of alcohol can be clearly seen in the HRV metrics after a heavy night of drinking. The impact is astonishing.

Although the RMSSD numbers drop dramatically, they do bounce back after a couple of days. That may give the impression that avoiding heavy drinking is the solution, and that moderate consumption is fine.

That’s wrong. Recent research conducted on a sample of 36,678 people in the UK confirms that even moderate drinking leads to diminished brain size.[1]Associations between alcohol consumption and gray and white matter volumes in the UK Biobank

Alcohol is a poison. Just that it’s one we enjoy. How it kills us, bit by bit and how it impacts the normal functions of the body makes for disturbing reading.[2]Gut Microbiota at the Intersection of Alcohol, Brain, and the Liver It causes liver disease which accounts for more than 4% of deaths worldwide.

Key to understanding alcohol abuse disorder (AUD) is the factor of tolerance. Many people think that because they can handle their drink, they don’t have a problem. They are the one’s who have the biggest problem.[3]Tolerance to alcohol: A critical yet understudied factor in alcohol addiction

Moderate drinking also leads to an increased risk of breast cancer.[4]Moderate Alcohol Consumption and the Risk of Breast Cancer Drinking is almost as dangerous as smoking!

So, why do we drink? In this fascinating video, Dr. Andrew Huberman covers the science behind how the brain and body respond to alcohol, and who the people are that are predisposed towards alcoholism, binge and habit-drinking. Spoiler alert: it’s not only the people who have a genetic disposition towards drinking.[5]What Alcohol Does to Your Body, Brain & Health | Huberman Lab Podcast #86.

There are video markers that allow you to skip to the parts that interest you most.

Fortunately, we see the benefits of alcohol abstinence in the HRV metrics. It takes a little while, within a couple of weeks you will see an improvement in your numbers across the board. Your RMSSD figures will go up, and stay up. Your stress numbers will go down (refer the Huberman video). Your Poincaré ratio will go up. All of these provide incentive as you battle the urge to ‘have just one’.

We already have some of our users successfully experimenting with alcohol abstinence. Please let us know when you join them.

More reading:
Associations Between Drinking and Cortical Thickness in Younger Adult Drinkers: Findings From the Human Connectome Project

Can alcohol promote aromatization of androgens to estrogens? A review