So, Christmas is over for another year, the parties are nearing a close and your bank account is cleared out. That must mean Dry January is approaching. If you’re not sure what that is, it’s the UK’s alcohol-free challenge month. For most people, it’s the perfect excuse to give their body’s a rest from the good stuff and rest their relationship with booze.
You might only enjoy a glass of wine every now and then but Dry January has many major benefits and we’re going to look at some of them now.
It may have some short-term health benefits
Taking a month off your alcohol intake can have some pretty exciting benefits for your health. For example, some research has shown that a booze-free month can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of diabetes and lower cholesterol.
So, if you’re kickstarting your new year with resolutions like eating healthier and getting more exercise, giving up alcohol is another great step towards a healthier you.
Get more sleep
Alcohol can disrupt your sleep, so laying off it can really improve your ability to get some z’s. If you drink regularly then it can make you feel tired and lethargic. Some people use alcohol to get them off to sleep quicker, but it prevents you from getting good, restful sleep.
So, giving up alcohol in January can help you to sleep better and you might find it easier to get up in the morning. And, you’ve probably noticed that when you drink you need to go to the toilet more often than usual during the night. Therefore, that also disrupts your sleep patterns.
Time to relax
Dry January also shows us that we don’t need alcohol to socialise and have fun. It shapes how we spend our time for the rest of the year. You may find that you don’t need to drink as much alcohol when you go out or even don’t feel like you want to. That’s not only great for your health but for your pocket, too!
Alcohol is loaded with calories so cutting down your intake can help with weight loss which is great if that’s one of your new year’s resolutions. Even if it’s not, switching alcohol for drinks like water will not only help to keep you hydrated but also stop you piling on the unnecessary pounds.
You’ll be surprised at how your attitude towards alcohol changes after having a break. Some research has shown that 64% of participants drank less alcohol six months after giving it up for a month.
Dry January is a good month to give up alcohol because it comes directly after arguably the longest party season of the year. By that time most of our livers, stomachs and heads, as well as our dancing shoes, have just about had enough. But your dry month doesn’t have to be January, it could be any month you choose.
Whenever you choose to take your month off, the health benefits are the same and you’ll find you save more money, potentially for the next Christmas as well as feel more alert. Why not take on the challenge with friends and swap boozy nights out for cosy nights in?
De Visser, R, O et al. (2016). Voluntary Temporary Abstinence from Alcohol During ‘Dry January’ and Subsequent Alcohol Use. Health Psychol: 35(3), pp 281-9.
Drinkaware. (2019). Alcohol and Sleep. Available at: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/effects-on-the-body/alcohol-and-sleep/