Anxious amid the pandemic? Experts urge caution if you self-soothe with alcohol

These are anxious times, to be sure.

You might be dealing with an economic hardship, with teaching your kids at home, or with just plain boredom from being inside.

That can lead some light to moderate drinkers to overindulge.

The sales of alcohol for home consumption was 22% higher this March compared with last year.

And with wine and beer delivery and carryout cocktails now permitted in many areas, Consumer Reports says this can come with potential downsides.

Heavy drinking is not healthy, can damage the liver and heart, and can cause other health problems.

But even moderate drinking may be harmful over time, increasing the risk for some cancers and affecting the good gut bacteria and their ability to protect against illness.

And even small amounts of alcohol can interact with some medications, so it's important to talk to your doctor or pharmacist for guidance.

For most people, a glass of wine or beer with dinner, or on a Zoom call with friends, is generally fine!

But it's important not to overdo it, so try to stick to no more than one drink a day if you're a woman, two if you're a man.

And be sure you know what actually counts as one drink.

It's probably less than you think: 12 ounces for beer, 5 ounces for wine, or 1.5 ounces for a shot of spirits.

And because wineglasses come in such a wide variety of shapes and sizes, don't eyeball it—use a measuring cup.

And maybe skip that extra glass of wine before bed, even though as many as 20 percent of Americans have said they use alcohol to fall asleep.

Alcohol may help you nod off, but it interferes with brain changes that occur in the later stages of sleep.

So you might not sleep as well, or you may even wake up in the middle of the night.

And remember to drink water!

Good hydration helps your cells function and your body eliminate waste, which enables your immune system to work better. And it prevents headaches and muscle fatigue, aids digestion, and even boosts your mood.

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