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Health benefits of Dry January

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Many people take part in dry January every year but I had never given it much thought until I did some research into the benefits behind it. So, after over indulging over the festive period, I decided in an attempt to kick start my healthier lifestyle in 2017, I would take part in dry January and see how many of these benefits I could personally see the effects of.

What is dry January?

Dry January is something originally promoted by Alcohol concern, where people who drink socially are encouraged to take part in a healthier January, starting with cutting out any form of alcohol for the whole month. This campaign was first promoted to be started in January 2013 and has become more popular every year since. According to Alcohol Concern 1 in 6 people across the UK took part in Dry January in 2016 with many reporting this had a positive impact on their health.

What are the benefits?

There have been many health benefits linked to taking part in Dry January and there is a lot of research to support this (which makes for an interesting read). Research suggests benefits include improvements in blood sugar and blood pressure levels amongst many more. Alongside this many people have taken part in the challenge and cited numerous benefits such as increased energy levels, improved sleep patterns, clearer skin, weight loss and obviously the financial benefit. There are some suggestions that if social drinkers give up alcohol for a whole month in January, it may lead to excessive drinking in February. However, in some research done by the University of Sussex, it was found that in actual fact 72% of the participants who completed Dry January continue to drink less in the months after.

Did I feel any positive impact?

Taking part in Dry January definitely had its benefits for me, both physically and mentally. I felt much more energized, waking up was much easier, I felt less bloated, my sleep patterns were less disturbed, I lost a few pounds, my skin was much clearer and I felt much better within myself. Not to mention the financial benefit.

Summary of the benefits I personally felt the impact of:
• A better night’s sleep
• Increased energy levels
• Clearer skin
• Weight loss
• Improved concentration
• Feeling healthier within myself
• Financial benefits
• Higher levels of motivation
• Improved mood

A few statistics surrounding alcohol consumption
• In 2014 there were 8967 alcohol-related deaths
• Alcohol is linked to more than 60 medical conditions such as various cancers
• Alcohol is said to cost NHS approximately £3.5bn a year – this is equivalent to around £120 a year for every tax payer
• Liver disease is commonly related to alcohol and deaths from this have risen 20% over the past 10 years
• Statistics show that people in England aged 15-59 admitted to hospital with alcohol related mental and behavioural disorders has risen by 94% over the past decade. Whilst the figures for people aged 60-74 have increased by an astonishing 150%
• Over 9 million people are suggested to drink more than the recommended daily amount in England

“Cheers” for taking the time to read about my Dry January experience. Taking all of the benefits into account, I think I will definitely be taking part in Dry January in 2018.
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