Many of us choose to welcome the new year by abstaining from booze, but how beneficial is Dry January?

It’s the start of a brand new year, which means many of us have probably spent the last few weeks eating and drinking more than usual. To counteract this overindulgence, we often promise ourselves that we’re going to look after our health in January. And for many, this means Dry January.

Committing to Dry January means abstaining from alcohol for the first month of year, in an attempt to improve your health.

Alcohol consumption is an ongoing issue in the UK, with significant numbers of people regularly drinking to excess. In fact, 21% of UK adults drink more than 14 units per week, leading to over 337,800 hospital admissions per year. What’s worse, the UK also experiences more than 5,800 alcohol-specific deaths per year.[1]

But can Dry January help counteract the health concerns associated with alcohol? These are just some of the benefits involved.

The benefits of Dry January

Sleep better

Improving your sleep can help to significantly improve your overall health, as sleep impacts everything from mood and mental wellbeing to weight and cardiovascular health. In fact, research has shown that men with severe sleep apnoea are 58% more likely to develop congestive heart failure.[2]

Yet while we all know sleep is important, drinking too much can negatively impact your sleep quality significantly. For one thing, excessive drinking is widely associated with fatigue and persistent sluggishness. Indeed, alcohol accounts for at least 10% of all cases of chronic insomnia.[3]

As such, cutting down on drink in January can improve your sleep. Research from Alcohol Change UK reveals that 71% of people experienced better quality sleep when they cut out alcohol for a month, while 67% said they had more energy.[4]

Weight loss

Weight management is by far one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions and taking part in Dry January can help you achieve your goals.

Alcohol has a much higher calorie content than most people realise, containing seven calories per gram. This beats out both protein and carbohydrate (four calories per gram) and is only slightly less than fat (nine calories per gram).[5]

Abstaining from alcohol not only lowers your calorie intake, but can also give you the energy you need to move more and eat healthier. It’s no surprise that over half of Dry January participants (58%) report weight loss as a result of their efforts.[6]

Attitude adjustment

Although Dry January only lasts for a month, completing the challenge can lead to long-term changes in your relationship with alcohol. One study looked at the effects of Dry January on 857 participants, and found that 64% continued to drink less alcohol even six months after Dry January had finished.[7]

Committing to better health in 2020 doesn’t have to mean a choice between cutting out alcohol altogether or continuing with business as usual. Even cutting back a bit on your alcohol intake, rather than abstaining completely, can benefit your health in numerous ways. Consuming less alcohol is associated with better mood, higher concentration, clearer skin, higher energy levels, weight loss, better quality sleep and improved health all-round.[8]

Make 2020 the year your health flourishes with weight loss medication and so much more at Express Pharmacy. Speak to one of our expert pharmacists today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet Live Chat service.

[1] NHS UK. Statistics on Alcohol, England 2019. 2019

[2] National Sleep Foundation. How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Heart. 2018

[3] Harvard Health Publishing. Alcohol and fatigue: sedative effects of drinking can also initiate other physical responses in the body. 2017

[4] Alcohol Change UK. Dry January. 2019

[5] Tayie, FA. Beck, GL. Alcoholic beverage consumption contributes to caloric and moisture intakes and body weight status. Nutrition. 2016

[6] Alcohol Change UK. Dry January. 2019

[7] De Visser, RO. et al. Voluntary temporary abstinence from alcohol during “Dry January” and subsequent alcohol use. Health Psychology. 2016

[8] Drinkaware. Reasons for cutting down on alcohol. 2019