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As the New Year arrives, we all become gradually inundated with news outlets reporting the return of the ‘January Blues’ and what resolutions we should commit to.
One of the most popular lifestyle campaigns that arrives in the New Year is Dry January - the event that encourages us to put down the bottle and commit to turning January into an alcohol-free month.
The campaign was introduced in 2013 by Alcohol Change UK - a leading UK alcohol charity and grows larger and larger each year. Last year, over 4 million people took part in the wellbeing event.
It’s no secret that alcohol plays a significant role in our lives and culture. Many of us drink to celebrate, socialise and relax. However, there is a significant proportion of the UK and Irish population who have an unhealthy, and at times fatal, relationship with alcohol.
According to the latest figures, the number of alcohol-related deaths in the UK is at its highest level since records began, and alcohol is now responsible for 88 deaths every month in Ireland.
As a result, Alcohol Change UK are encouraging us all to think about our relationship with alcohol by taking a 31-day break from the booze.
Improved sleeping habits: According to research, 71% of Dry January participants confirmed they had improved sleep. Alcohol can exacerbate certain sleep conditions like snoring, and without it, you can increase the quality of your sleep, thus making you more energetic and active.
Financial savings: The average person spends £50,000 / €58,300 on alcohol in their lifetime. To see how much money you can save during Dry January, put aside the amount you would spend on alcohol each week. You may be surprised at the end of the month!
Weight loss: Considering a pint of beer contains 215 calories, and a glass of wine includes 126, giving up on alcohol for 4 weeks can make a noticeable impact on your weight.
Mental health: Regular alcohol consumption decreases the levels of the brain chemical serotonin - a key chemical in depression. By avoiding alcohol, your serotonin levels will increase and help regulate your mood.
Not only will you see the above benefits during your month-long detox, but research conducted by the University of Sussex has found that Dry January participants remain drinking less even six months after Dry January.
Once Dry January is over, we recommend that you spend some time to reflect on what you have achieved during the experience.
Ask yourself; how do you feel? Have you lost weight? Do you sleep better? Do you feel more productive during the day? How much money have you saved? The answers to these questions will be vital takeaways to consider after you finish your experiment.
Remember, your tolerance to the effects of alcohol will likely be much lower after your month-long detox, so be careful not to overdo it the first time you choose to drink again.
Overall, taking a 31-day break from your drinking habits will provide numerous health and wellbeing benefits in the short-term. However, you will reap the most health benefits if you use Dry January as a springboard to evaluate your usual drinking habits and overall relationship with alcohol.
If you would like to find out more information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact Health Assured on:
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