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Published: 2nd January 2020
We’ve all heard of the ‘Dry January’ challenge and for most of us who like a drink from time to time, it is something we aim to do at the start of the month and give up on halfway through but from a health perspective, just how beneficial can cutting out the booze be?
The rules of Dry January are simple, you can’t consume any alcohol for 31 days. That is it, you’re still allowed to head to bars and clubs and socialise with friends, you’ll just have to stick to the soft drinks… easy right?
Well, when the pressures of social situations kick in, many of us cave in and have a glass of something boozy but how could our bodies benefit from us staying strong and saying no?
According to Alcohol Change, the organisation behind the Dry January challenge, 58% of people who completed Dry January in 2018 reported losing weight, as well as medical reports showing that many who don’t drink for a month can experience lower blood pressure, a reduction in the risk of diabetes and a lowering of cholesterol.
According to a study reported by the Independent, the average man or woman can consume anywhere between 715 and 1009 calories in takeaway food alone after a night out, not including the alcohol you’ve drunk whilst being out, meaning that when added to your regular daily food intake you’re likely to have eaten before going out, you could be hitting over 3000 calories in 24 hours!
So, a month off the booze could definitely see you drop a few pounds.
Speaking of pounds, you could save a fair few too by not drinking alcohol for a month.
88% of people who completed Dry January in 2018 said they saved money and it really is no surprise! A night out drinking with friends, whether it be in your local town or a big city, costs a lot of money.
Popular bar chains, with locations across the country, can charge around £9.00 per cocktail and anywhere between £5.00 – £10.00 for a double spirit and mixer, meaning that just three drinks could cost nearly £30!
Taxis are also a factor when it comes to cost as you can’t drive home after a night out and many of us aren’t able to walk home from where we’ve been drinking, so a taxi will be required, adding extra cost onto your night out!
In 2018, 71% of people who didn’t drink in January said they slept better throughout the month. Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for our health, allowing our bodies to reset and refresh, ensuring we function at our optimum during the day, so losing sleep on a Friday and Saturday night can set us off badly for the week ahead!
Not only do we often go to sleep extremely late after drinking and wakeup later too, ruining our usual sleeping pattern, having alcohol in our system affects our ability to sleep properly. Alcohol releases a chemical in the brain called Adenosine, which is what makes you fall asleep very heavily and very quickly but this chemical also disappears from the body extremely quickly, hence people often wake up during the night when they’ve been drinking.
Alcohol also stops the body going into the best type of sleep, called REM sleep, which is the type of sleep where the body does most restoring and repair which allows you to wake up feeling healthier and refreshed. Because you don’t get this type of sleep when you’ve consumed alcohol, that is why you wake up feeling tired, sick and groggy still.
Overall, alcohol really does hinder a good night’s sleep which can lead to less activity the next day and a craving for high carb, high sugar foods for those quick releases of energy.
Dry January is super beneficial for your body and your wallet, so why not give it a go this year? You never know, you might decide to keep it up all year!