Why Dry January is Good for your Health15.01.21
Want to get healthy in 2021? Taking a month off drinking can have a fantastic impact on your mental and physical health. If you’re taking part in Dry January, or you’re just looking to reduce your alcohol intake, let’s take a look at how it could improve your quality of life.
Better concentration, more energy
Waking up groggy after a couple of glasses of wine is never fun. And when you have to sit at your desk all day, it makes it even worse. But, if you take part in Dry January, you’ll find that you can concentrate better at work. No more staring blankly at the screen and wishing that you could just crawl back into bed. Well…less of it, anyway!
You’ll also be able to think clearer and have more energy. This is because even though you might find it easier to fall asleep after a couple of drinks, your quality of sleep is much worse than when you’re sober. A small study showed that a high intake of alcohol just before bed resulted in shallower sleep, and more waking up in the night. This stops the body from getting optimum rest when you’re asleep.
The high-alcohol sleepers also experienced less REM sleep. This part of sleep is where you dream most vividly, and studies have suggested that it plays an important role in promoting learning and consolidating memories. By cutting out alcohol before bed, you might find it harder to fall asleep initially, but your sleep quality will drastically improve.
Cutting out alcohol for Dry January will also have noticeable physical effects on your body. If you’re struggling to lose weight, reducing your alcohol intake can really make a difference. A pint of beer has over 200 calories, and a standard glass of wine has around 130 calories. So, even if you’re eating low-calorie, healthy meals every day, a couple of drinks could be adding hundreds of extra calories every day.
If you suffer from acid reflux, then cutting back on alcohol can help keep it under control. This is because alcohol can relax part of the oesophagus. This means that the acid in your stomach is more likely to come back up, resulting in painful heartburn symptoms.
There have also been studies that show that lower alcohol intake results in reduced blood pressure if it is high to begin with. It may also strengthen your immune system – something that is especially important right now!
So many of us want better skin, and Dry January could be the first step to a plumper, healthier-looking face! This is because alcohol lowers your production of an antidiuretic hormone, which means you lose water and sodium faster. The result? Drier, duller-looking skin. Alcohol also contributes to rosacea, which is where your skin goes red after a couple of glasses of wine! For brighter, clearer skin, Dry January could be your answer!
Reduce risk of disease
Studies have highlighted the relationship between high alcohol consumption and certain diseases, such as breast and colorectal cancer. Little or no alcohol in your diet will reduce your likelihood of these diseases, which is especially important if you are genetically predisposed to them.
Research has also seen that less alcohol reduces the risk of getting a stroke, heart disease or hypertensive disease. However, just one month of Dry January is unlikely to have a huge effect on this – you’ll have to make more long-term changes!
Re-evaluate your relationship with alcohol
One of the best things about taking part in Dry January is that it can have a profound effect on how you perceive alcohol. It’s unlikely that you’ll end up cutting out alcohol forever, but spending a week without it can give you a better perspective on what role it plays in your life. Perhaps you’d been using it as a crutch in social situations, as a way to help you get to sleep, or as a “reward” for a difficult day at work. But is it really necessary? That’s what Dry January can help you find out.
Doing Dry January can help you reduce your drinking in the long term. This could be because you drink a glass of wine because you want it, rather than because you need it.
A study shows that 60% of people who took part in Dry January (even if they didn’t do it perfectly) said they still drank less, even six months later. That means you’ll still be getting the benefits we’ve talked about in this blog!
Whether you’re taking part in Dry January, or you’re just thinking about reducing your alcohol intake, see if you notice any positive changes! We’d love to hear about your journey – tag us on @kbk.uk!