Quitting alcohol in January is becoming a common New Year’s Resolution, but doing for a month can be a difficult task for some people.
If you’ve given up alcohol this January, you may be starting to think about accepting that invitation from a friend or family member to meet for a drink by now.
To encourage you to carry on with the last week of the alcohol-free journey, below are 8 health benefits of Dry January your body will experience after only a month away from alcohol.
Benefits of Dry January
1. Improved sleep.
You may think that you get a better night’s rest when you drink alcohol, as you fall straight into a deep sleep.
However, drinking actually causes you to miss out on the crucial rapid eye movement (REM) stage, which refreshes your brain and stops you from feeling fatigued when you wake up. Even after one week without alcohol, you will be benefitting from a better sleep cycle.
You will be more productive during the day, be able to problem solve better and have more control over your emotions.
2. Better hydration.
Alcohol is well-known for causing dehydration, with your body losing around four times more water than the amount of alcohol you drank.
This loss can affect the functioning of your brain as other organs take its water to continue to work effectively. Going alcohol-free for a month and becoming more hydrated can help you to experience fewer headaches, while also giving your motivation, concentration, and energy a boost.
3. Calories saved.
Many people overlook the fact that alcohol contains a lot of calories.
If you were drinking six 175ml glasses of wine before the start of Dry January, you will have consumed 3800 less calories after four weeks away from alcohol. And, if you were drinking six pints of lager a week, you will have had 4300 less calories.
Naturally, consuming fewer calories can go a long way when trying to lose weight.
After just one week with no alcohol, you will have effectively said no to eating six bags of crisps or five chocolate bars. And after four weeks away from a weekly habit of six 175ml glasses of wine or six pints, you will have saved the same amount of calories as is in 13 burgers or 20 chocolate bars.
Also read: 31 January Journal Prompts: Daily Journaling Ideas for January
4. Blood pressure reduced.
Drinking three or more alcoholic drinks in an evening can temporarily raise blood pressure. And long-term binge drinking can see it increase to an unhealthy level.
After three to four weeks, you’ll experience another one of the benefits of Dry January – your blood pressure will start to reduce.
By maintaining steady blood pressure, you can reduce the risk of any related health problems in the future.
5. Better looking skin.
When you drink alcohol, you may notice that your skin can appear lacking in moisture and vitality.
During Dry January, your skin can become more hydrated and skin conditions like eczema can be reduced as more water is able to be absorbed by the body.
6. Recovered liver function.
After four weeks of removing alcohol from your life, your liver will also thank you.
The fatty cells that can develop in the liver after drinking over a period of time will begin to reduce, falling on average by 15%.
Due to the liver playing a role in over 500 vital bodily processes including storing minerals and vitamins, regulating blood clotting and helping to fight infection, it’s definitely an organ you want to keep in good condition.
7. Reduced acid reflux.
After a couple of weeks of being alcohol-free, troublesome after-effects of drinking including acidic build-up can disappear.
Alcohol irritates the stomach lining, which can cause heartburn. This creates a burning sensation in the lower chest, an uncomfortable experience which can be reduced when abstaining from alcohol.
8. More money in your pocket.
Alongside the aforementioned health benefits of Dry January, saving money otherwise spent on alcohol is an additional bonus.
After one week without buying alcohol, you could expect to save enough for two cinema tickets, while abstaining for a month means you will have covered your Netflix bill for a year.
FAQs for Navigating Dry January
What is Dry January?
Dry January is a movement that encourages individuals to abstain from consuming alcoholic beverages for the entire month of January. It serves as a detox period after the holiday season and allows people to reevaluate their relationship with alcohol.
Is Dry January only for heavy drinkers?
No, Dry January is for anyone who wants to take a break from alcohol, regardless of their level of consumption. It is a chance for everyone to reset and experience the positive effects of abstaining from alcohol.
How do I prepare for an alcohol-free month?
Start by setting clear goals and reasons for participating. Inform friends and family about your decision, so they can offer support. Consider replacing alcohol with alternative beverages, and plan non-alcoholic activities to keep yourself engaged.
What are some tips for successfully completing Dry January?
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to stay refreshed and combat any cravings.
- Find alternatives: To stay on track and experience the benefits of Dry January, explore non-alcoholic beverages like mocktails, alcohol-free beer, or sparkling water.
- Socialize differently: Plan activities that don’t revolve around alcohol, such as hiking, game nights, or cultural events.
- Seek support: Share your goals with friends or join online communities for encouragement and accountability.
What should I do if I experience cravings?
Cravings are normal, especially in the beginning. Distract yourself with activities, reach out to a friend for support, or focus on the positive changes you’re experiencing. Remember that cravings are temporary, and they will pass.
Can I still go out and socialize during Dry January?
Absolutely! You can still enjoy socializing without alcohol. Opt for venues that offer non-alcoholic options, or suggest activities that don’t involve drinking. Surround yourself with supportive friends who understand and respect your decision.
Are there any health risks associated with sudden alcohol cessation?
For most people, abstaining from alcohol for a month poses no significant health risks. However, if you have concerns or a history of alcohol dependence, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your alcohol consumption.
What should I do after completing Dry January?
Reflect on the experience and consider how you want to move forward. Some people choose to continue abstaining from alcohol, while others reintroduce it in moderation. Use the lessons learned during Dry January to make informed decisions about your alcohol consumption in the future.
Over to you now.
Are you ready to experience the benefits of Dry January this year?
Dry January is a great way of resetting your habitual relationship with alcohol and starting the New Year on a health-boosting high.
People who quit alcohol for a month are 72% more likely to consider reducing their alcohol intake for the next six months.