What Are the Benefits of Dry January?
Dry + January = Dryuary
Some health-minded folks in the United Kingdom started Dry January back in 2013 as a way to normalize sobriety and reduce the negative effects of alcohol. Now millions across the globe ditch booze every year during the month of January. Here's why you might want to say "cheers" to the movement.
5 Reasons to Try Dry January
1. Look Younger
The dehydrating effect of alcohol shows on your face and can make you appear older than you are, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
2. Sleep Better.
Sure, drink a glass or two of wine, and you'll likely fall asleep quickly — but you won't sleep well. Alcohol interferes with our deep, restorative REM sleep. And alcohol acts as a diuretic, which means it might send you to the bathroom several times throughout the night.
3. Spark Change.
If you are used to relaxing with a drink each night, doing without it for a month may help you develop other ways to wind down, like exercising, working on crafts, or reading. These kinds of changes can stick with you long after January.
4. Save Money.
The cost of a drink per night can add up — from $50 a month if you drink at home to well over $200 if you go out for drinks nightly. Almost 90 percent of Dry January participants surveyed reported saving money during their one month of sobriety.
5. Lose Weight.
A typical serving of wine, beer, or a cocktail contains 120 to 200 calories. If you normally have one drink daily and cut it out, you'll also cut between 3,700 to 6,200 calories in one month.
How to Ease the Transition
See if a friend or family member will go dry with you. You'll be able to congratulate and motivate each other—not to mention socialize (in person or by phone and text) in a nonalcohol way.
Booze-Free = Cold-Free?
Drinking doesn't cause a cold, but it can interfere with your ability to ward off infections. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking a lot all at once can weaken your immune system for up to 24 hours.
A study of nearly 900 British Dry January participants found that the one-month abstinence led to a reduction of alcohol consumption even six months later, and that rebound binging was rare with people who made it through the month.
Related: New Year, New You Recipes
A small study in the UK found that moderate to heavy drinkers who abstained for one month — with no other changes to their diets, exercise, or smoking—had improved insulin resistance, weight, and blood pressure. The control group that didn't give up drinking saw no changes in the same health measurements.
Advocates believe that going dry for one month shows that you can have fun without booze—which, in turn, helps you avoid slipping back into a pattern of regular drinking.
Check out our collection of Mocktail Recipes.
This article originally appeared in the December/January 2020 issue of Allrecipes Magazine.