Is a little bit of wine every night harmful?

Is a little bit of wine every night harmful?

Annie Lane, syndicated columnist

Dear Annie: I’m writing to you about something that I’m not sure is a problem. Really, I think it’s just a habit. But my husband told me I should ask you for your thoughts on this. Every night when I get home from work, I have two glasses of red wine. I drink one with dinner and one while I watch TV or read a book. I never feel drunk, just slightly more carefree. It helps me wind down so I can fall asleep at night, something I’ve had trouble with all my life.

If I am driving home and know we are almost out of wine, I’ll stop at the store and get some. I can tell that my husband is a little worried I’m being unhealthy, but there seem to be reports coming out all the time saying that red wine is good for you.

Is this something I should worry about? I definitely am not an alcoholic, but I do drink every day. — Wine-ding Down

Dear Wine-ding Down: Conflicting reports abound about the healthfulness of moderate alcohol consumption. Though the science might not be settled on that issue, one thing is for certain: You don’t need to be physically addicted to something to be mentally reliant on it. And that seems to be the case with you and your two nightly drinks. Though you might not be an alcoholic, if your relationship with alcohol is causing unease in both your husband and you, it’s time to take a break.

Replace drinking with another de-stressing ritual, such as a bath, meditation, yoga or an evening stroll. And try other methods for helping to fall asleep at night, such as breathing exercises or herbal sleep aids. These will actually leave you feeling more rested the next day, as alcohol intake is associated with decreased quality of sleep.

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