The New Year is a great opportunity to start fresh. People make resolutions to do everything from losing weight to saving money. This year, make the commitment to stop drinking with Dry January.
What is Dry January?
Dry January also called sober January or sometimes even Dryuary is a month of abstaining from drinking alcohol. It was originally a movement in the United Kingdom but has since increased in popularity and is now recognized across the world including the United States. People will participate in this monthly observance for a variety of reasons, but the most common is to reap the health benefits of Dry January.
The Benefits of Doing Dry January
While some people may just be sober curious and give dry January a try for the fun of it, going a month without drinking alcohol can have a surprising number of rewards. Especially if you are a heavy drinker or have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, the Dry January benefits can be immense.
One of the biggest sober January benefits is the positive impact abstaining from alcohol can have on your physical health. In a study of Dry January participants, 3 out of 5 lost weight.1 For people who are overweight, dropping some pounds can lead to enormous health benefits including improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol, and physical mobility.2 When you stop drinking, you may also reduce your risk of certain cancers and improve your liver health.
Along with improvements to physical health, one of the advantages of sober January may be better mental health. In some cases, people will use alcohol to cope with their poor mental health, but doing so repeatedly may actually make these symptoms worse, lead to addiction, and could result in the need for dual diagnosis treatment. Instead, some studies suggest that giving up drinking could significantly improve your mental health and well-being.3
Although some people will use alcohol as a sleep aid, this type of behavior may decrease sleep quality. Instead, no longer drinking may be the answer. 71% of Dry January participants reported better sleep even if they were not able to make it the full month.1
Along with the physical health benefits of sober January, no longer drinking may also improve your physical appearance. Studies show that drinking can lead to facial aging, dehydrated skin, skin inflammation, and other negative effects on your skin.4,5 After just one week without alcohol, you may see noticeable improvements.5
Instead of flushing your money away on drinks at the bar or bottles of wine, going sober for January could let you spend that money elsewhere or save it for the future. Because many people who participate in Dry January end up drinking less than they normally would in the months that follow,1 you could also save money in the long run.
Alcohol can sometimes interfere with your personal relationships. Common family problems related to alcohol use can include violence, infidelity, marital conflict, and divorce.6 While alcohol doesn’t always lead to these issues, a month without alcohol may help you avoid these problems in the future and let you focus on strengthening your relationships instead.
Another one of the more important Dry January benefits is its ability to open people’s eyes to their unhealthy drinking habits. Not everyone will make it the full month without alcohol, but if you are struggling to go more than a few days, it may be a sign that you need alcohol addiction treatment.
These sober January benefits could just be the beginning. The longer you go without drinking, the more you could reap the benefits. While no longer drinking could have a positive impact on your life, make sure you quit safely. Because alcohol withdrawal could lead to complications for people with more severe drinking habits, a medical alcohol detox is advised to avoid these issues.
At Vertava Health, we are here for you. If you or someone you love wants to stop drinking but is struggling to do so alone, we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our various programs and begin the journey to sober living.