Updated: Jun 27, 2020
New year, new start. Most of us reading this woke up to the new year barely being able to move due to a self-inflicted hangover. The older you get, the worse the hangovers; that impending doom, anxiety, vomit driven recovery is something even we experience here at Part Wild. Sure, we are still on the search for the best ale however, this is pure research and done in moderation (sometimes). So, what happens when you stop drinking for a month? Are there any benefits to be gained? The team at Alcohol Change UK believe so.
A YouGov poll has revealed that an estimated 4.2 million people in the UK are already planning to do Dry January this year. One month of no alcohol has proven results on health, finances and participant's relationship towards alcohol.
Dr Richard Piper, CEO of Alcohol Change UK, said:
“Put simply, Dry January can change lives. We hear every day from people who took charge of their drinking using Dry January, and who feel healthier and happier as a result. The brilliant thing about Dry January is that it’s not really about January. Being alcohol-free for 31 days shows us that we don’t need alcohol to have fun, to relax, to socialise. That means that for the rest of the year we are better able to make decisions about our drinking, and to avoid slipping into drinking more than we really want to.
Many of us know about the health risks of alcohol – seven forms of cancer, liver disease, mental health problems – but we are often unaware that drinking less has more immediate benefits too. Sleeping better, feeling more energetic, saving money, better skin, losing weight... The list goes on. Dry January helps millions to experience those benefits and to make a longer-lasting change to drink more healthily.”
Below are some of the benefits you can gain from giving up alcohol for a month.
1. Better sleep.
This may come as a surprise but alcohol disrupts REM sleep despite people swearing to it for a good night’s rest. After a few days of no alcohol the body readjusts and sleep quality improves. Towards the end of Dry January, one should expect less grogginess and improved quality of sleep.
2. More energy.
With better sleep comes more energy, sleep is important due to the fact that the body heals itself during the night in both body and mind. Expect to wake up feeling more refreshed and not needing extra coffee to see you through the day.
3. Healthier skin.
We live in a vain world and secretly we are all vain, let’s just be honest with ourselves. Alcohol dehydrates the body’s largest organ, the skin. That dull appearance we see looking back at us after a heavy night is alcohol leaving its mark. Giving up alcohol for the month can restore color and reduce inflammation in the skin as well as get rid of those panda eyes.
4. More money.
Every little helps when trying to save after Christmas, its easy to lose track of how much you spend on alcohol. Dry January may just bump up the bank balance unless you're terrible with money, in that case, spend away.
5. Liver function improves
Just like skin, the liver can heal itself from damage, depending on how much you drink will depend on how quickly the liver repairs itself. Alcohol is a poison to the body and damages the liver due to the enzymes needed to process alcohol which can lead to cell death. A break from alcohol will allow the liver time to heal which roughly takes two weeks for casual drinkers.
6. Improvement in mental health.
We are shy to talk about mental health but we will all likely experience it at some point in our lives. If you suffer from depression or anxiety, alcohol can make you feel worse, especially in the hangover stage. Skip the drink and symptoms of mental health could become more manageable.
7. Achievement and new understanding towards alcohol.
Many of us believe that skipping alcohol for a month is an unreachable target when in reality it is far from it. You can still be a social person without having to have alcohol as the main focus or reason to meet. With a fresh mind and better nights sleep etc from participating in Dry January, you may develop a new understanding towards alcohol. Independent research conducted by the University of Sussex with over 800 Dry January participants, showed that 93% of participants had a sense of achievement, and 82% thought more deeply about their relationship with drink.
There you have it, a few health benefits you may experience when participating in Dry January. For more information visit www.alcoholchange.org.uk to learn more about the history of Dry January, tools to help including an app as well as a sign up for tips and advice to get through the month. Time to put the kettle on.