After the excess of food and alcohol over Christmas, many of us are happy to abstain in January – but could you go a whole month without drinking?
Dry January is a campaign promoted by awareness charity Alcohol Concern and asks participants to give up alcohol for the 31 days of January. Last year an impressive 17,312 people took part online and this number is expected to increase this year.
So, what are the benefits of going alcohol-free for a month?
Interestingly research from the Sussex University has revealed that abstaining from alcohol for just one month can actually lead to a long-term drop in alcohol consumption. Researchers found that 72% of participants managed to sustain reduced levels of harmful drinking six months after completing the challenge.
Many people also find that when they stop drinking, they lose weight. This is because alcohol slows the metabolism as the body breaks alcohol down first, meaning fats and sugars are burned much slower. On top of this, alcohol contains a staggering number of calories – seven calories per gram (that’s almost as much as pure fat). It is unsurprising then that stopping drinking will benefit your waistline.
Alcohol is also known for dehydrating the skin, which can give it an unhealthy colour and texture. Avoiding alcohol can help your skin recover from any dehydration, help your body absorb more vitamin A and even increase skin cell turnover. All of this will help your skin look healthier and younger.
Finally, going without your evening glass of wine for a month will improve your quality of sleep. While you may think that alcohol helps you sleep, it actually reduces both quality and quantity of sleep. Alcohol disrupts the two most important parts of our sleep, Slow Wave Sleep and REM Sleep, both of which are essential for us to feel physically and mentally refreshed.
Dry January gives your body a break after over doing it at Christmas and may result in some longer-term health improvements too – so why not give it a go?