Disclaimer: this blog post provides information, not advice.
Last year, roughly a third of Americans participated in Dry January, an annual challenge encouraging participants to go alcohol-free for the whole month.
Thinking about trying it yourself?
Taking a break from alcohol can have immediate and long term positive effects on your body, mind and relationships - not to mention your bank account!
In fact, a recent study on 97 individuals found that going ‘cold turkey’ on alcohol for just four weeks led to improvements in insulin resistance, blood pressure, body weight and a decrease in circulating concentrations of cancer-related growth factors.
Read on for a deep dive on what you could achieve by giving up alcohol this month.
Consider your calories
Alcoholic drinks can be more calorie dense than you might think. Cocktails typically have anywhere from 200 up to 600 calories; if you’re drinking a few, these numbers can really start to add up.
In a survey of 800 Dry January participants, 58% reported losing weight during their alcohol-free month.
Even if you don’t shed any pounds, cutting back on cocktails is a simple way to significantly reduce sugar consumption.
Improve your mindset
Alcohol is a depressant which alters the chemicals in your brain and may contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety. In addition, hangovers can result in feelings of anxiety, fogginess and nausea, which is not only unpleasant, but impacts our productivity.
A month without alcohol means a month of a clear mind and no hangovers!
Improve your sleep quality
While alcohol induces a sense of relaxation and sleepiness, it’s actually linked to poor sleep quality. Even one drink for women and two drinks for men can reduce the quality of your sleep by 9.3%. For moderate alcohol consumption, your sleep is 24% worse and when you consume a high amount of alcohol, your sleep is 39.2% worse.
By taking a month off, you’re giving yourself a better chance at consistent, higher quality snoozing.
Save some money
Depending on your taste, the cost of alcoholic drinks can be a significant portion of your monthly budget. Even one or two drinks a day can add up to thousands of dollars over the course of a year.
Try this alcohol spending calculator to get a better idea of your spending habits - and how much you could save in just 4 weeks abstaining from alcohol.
Lay the groundwork for long term progress
Wanting to cut back on alcohol more generally? In one study, 70% of UK Dry January participants who used the Try Dry app to map their progress found themselves drinking more moderately throughout the year.
Even if you don’t choose to quit drinking altogether, Dry January is a great opportunity to reframe your mindset for the start of the year, prove to yourself you don’t need alcohol to socialize, and help you take stock of what other health changes you can make to your diet.