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Lifestyle

7 reasons why Dry January is worth it

If you’ve had a booze-filled festive season, a month of abstinence may be a very good idea.

Here are seven reasons why.

1. Your health will benefit

A month without alcohol will improve the health of the liver and other organs. A study at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation found that after a month without alcohol, participants experienced a “rapid decrease in the number of cancer-related growth factors in their blood”. As well as this, going booze-free led to an improvement in blood-sugar control, blood pressure and body weight.

2. It will help you reassess your relationship with alcohol

By consciously not drinking, you’ll notice all the times when you would normally reach for a drink. You may notice you’ve been drinking to relax or de-stress – or even just out of boredom. A study by the University of Sussex found that 60% of people who participated in Dry January said they had fewer drinking days per week six months later.

3. You’ll sleep better

According to Drinkaware, regular drinking can affect the quality of your sleep. This, the alcohol awareness charity explains, is because booze disrupts your sleep cycle. It makes you spend less time in deep sleep and more time in the less restful Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep. Give up for a month and you’ll soon feel more rested.

4. And you’ll have more energy

More sleep leads to more energy and without your body having to process alcohol, you’ll find you have more get up and go. The Sussex University study found that 62% of Dry January participants reported having more energy.

5. You’ll save money

If you buy two bottles of wine a week, over the course of the month you’ll save around £60 – and that’s if you buy your alcohol in a shop rather than a pub. Coming straight after the expensive festive season, a little extra money is always welcome.

6 You might lose weight

Around half of the Sussex study participants lost weight. How you do on this front depends on how much you drank previously – and whether you replace the booze with something else. On giving up alcohol some people crave sugar as they’ve been used to consuming high levels in many alcoholic drinks, so it’s important not to make a straight swap for sugary drinks. Find a low-calorie drink that works for you instead.

7. You’ll be very pleased with your achievement

“If you think Dry Jan is going to be easy, there’s no reason not to have a go and if you think it will be hard, that’s a good reason to give it a try,” says Lauren Booker, alcohol consultant and writer of Dry January’s new book Try Dry: The Official Guide to a Month Off Booze. “It’s worth it because it’s a real achievement to know you can get through both the ups and downs of a month without having to rely on a drink to prop you up. Once you’ve mastered it, it’s yours, and no one can take it away from you.”  

 

Further information

Alcohol Concern

Alcohol Concern was founded in 1984 as the national charity working to help reduce the problems that can be caused by alcohol. If your concerned about someone’s or your own drinking, they can offer support. 

Drinkaware

The Drinkaware Trust is governed independently and works in partnership with others to help reduce alcohol-related harm by helping people make better choices about their drinking.