Dry January – what’s in it for me?

So dry January is upon us, and after the indulgences of Christmas parties and New Year’s Eve, this may come as a welcome blessing for some. For others, who may need a little more persuasion to let go of their favourite tipple for just 1 month, here are some of the benefits to a dry January!

 

After one week of going alcohol-free you can expect the following benefits:

 

Sleep:

One of the most significant changes that you may notice from giving up alcohol for just one week is that your sleep has improved. When you drink alcohol, you typically fall into a deep sleep, missing the important REM sleep. Usually we have 6-7 cycles of REM sleep per night, but when we drink it reduces down to just 1-2. Better sleep equates to better productivity, better emotional stability and behaviour, and better choices when it comes to food and drink. Sleep also helps balance the hormones that control your hunger, which means that you won’t be grabbing that chocolate croissant on the way to work!

 

Hydration levels:

When you drink alcohol, you lose around 4 times as much liquid as you actually drank. Dehydration can cause headaches and no one likes having one of these! Salt and potassium levels reduce, which can impact nerve and proper muscle function which also cause headaches, nausea and fatigue. Therefore, giving up alcohol will keep you well hydrated, which in turn will reduce headaches, increase motivation and energy levels.

 

Calories are saved!

We all know that alcohol contains calories! Some beverages are more calorie heavy than others, and if you’re trying to lose weight, these calories do not provide you with anything useful for your body. If you drank 6 glasses of wine, or 6 pints of lager every week, after a fortnight of no alcohol, you would have saved yourself approximately 2000 calories, which in turn means pounds start to disappear! Good news all round!

 

Stomach lining improves:

After just two weeks, your stomach lining will start to normalise and stomach acid production stabilises. This is because alcohol is a gastric irritant. You will also start to see a reduction in acid reflux symptoms, which means no nasty heart burn!

 

Blood pressure improvements:

Drinkinking too much alcohol can cause your blood pressure to raise over time, and this puts you at risk of heart problems. More alcohol means an increase in weight, and this too is a risk for heart health. Giving up alcohol gives your blood pressure a chance to recover and means that you have improved vision, better kidney health and reduced risk of stroke and heart problems.

 

Better looking skin:

After 4 weeks, your skin starts to look healthier as more water is absorbed into your system. Improved skin hydration levels means increased cell turnover and premature skin ageing is prevented. As most people don’t want to get older or look older, this sounds like a winning solution to me!

 

Liver function recovers:

After 4 weeks, your liver is able to better perform the 500+ functions that it performs in your body on a daily basis! It plays an important role in metabolism, clearing contaminants and storing vitamins and minerals. Your liver will also start to shed excess fat, and if it has not been too badly affected by alcohol it will start to recover after 4-8 weeks.

 

Money saved:

24 glasses of wine a month costs approximately £90, whilst 24 pints is about £72! Think of what you could do with this money …..

 

In closing, there are many benefits to giving up alcohol, even if only for January. Research shows that people who are able to complete this challenge are 72% more likely to be mindful of their drinking habits in the next 6 months …. Do we need a dry July then? Hmmm …..

 

Information adapted from drinkaware.co,uk/alcohol-facts

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