’Tis the season for socialising. With office Christmas parties scheduled as early as November, we all look forward to getting merry on the mulled wine, often swapping the sprouts for sugary treats and waving goodbye to a full night’s sleep.
Though we might place alcohol and sweets on the “naughty list”, letting your hair down does have its benefits. According to Clarissa Lenherr, nutritionist and gut health expert: “Physical contact can trigger the nervous system to release neurotransmitters that help to regulate our response to stress and anxiety.” But is there such thing as having too much fun?
Government guidelines advise consuming no more than 14 units of alcohol per week*. Nutritionist Chermaine Samphire explains: “Alcohol causes dehydration, which can lead to water retention. It’s a toxin, sowhen you drink it, the body prioritises metabolising and removing it, leading to possible deficiencies of nutrients, including protein, needed to keep your hair, skin, and nails healthy.” To counteract the cocktails, Chermaine suggests drinking water between alcoholic beverages and eating a protein-rich meal before you go out.
Getting seven to nine hours of shut-eye over Christmas may seem less likely than seeing reindeer fly, but skipping your beauty sleep can take its toll. “Lack of sleep can impact hormones that play a key role in hair growth and hair loss prevention,” says Clarissa. If the FOMO (fear of missing out) is stopping you from leaving the party early, Clarissa advises prioritising quality sleep: “If you can’t get enough sleep, at least aim to make those few hours’ kip you do get good quality! Avoid alcohol two to three hours before bed, reduce blue light electronics use at night and cut off caffeine around 2pm.”
Though it’s okay to indulge, sticking to a healthy diet 70% of the time helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, preventing a crash which can leave you tired and irritable, says Rhiannon Lambert, registered nutritionist, bestselling author and founder of Rhitrition. “Try to include fresh fruits and vegetables at every meal or as snacks to balance out the chocolate and biscuits,” adds Chermaine. So, it is possible to enjoy the party season without being a party pooper.