Have you heard of Dry January and wondered what it is? Dry January is a campaign by Alcohol Change UK and although 2023 is its tenth anniversary, it has only just become popular in recent years.
The aim is to take a break from all kinds of alcohol for a single month to get all kinds of rewards. They even have a free app to track your drinking habits and how they affect your life! Sound interesting? Here are 11 benefits of going 30 days without alcohol, some of which might surprise you!
11 Benefits of 30 Days Without Alcohol
1. Better Sleep
Many people may be surprised to find out that alcohol actually worsens your sleep. It is a common tradition among many to have a drink or two before bed to help individuals get to sleep, and so many people believe that it is a way to be able to get to bed.
But actually, alcohol can reduce the amount of sleep you get. While it can help you go to sleep initially, it has been found to interrupt your sleep cycle and prevent you from getting the right amount of deep sleep you need to feel rested.
However, it may be hard to fall asleep quickly once you get off alcohol, so you can try other methods like melatonin or exercise to help you fall asleep.
2. Improved Liver Health
Alcohols are slow-reacting toxins that damage your body over time. One area it affects the most is the liver. Since the liver is in charge of detoxifying the blood, it can put quite a strain on the organ. Over time, you can find that your liver gets damaged and has cirrhosis.
Thankfully, as long as your liver isn’t too far gone, then it can bounce back pretty quickly. Even a liver that had been abused from a high amount of alcohol on a regular basis can return to normal health after a couple of weeks.
By the end of 30 days, your liver is almost back to normal, and it can start working on its other tasks, including handling fats and hormones in the body.
3. Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer
While having a couple of glasses of wine occasionally might have some pretty decent health benefits, drinking in excess can make your health drastically worse. Alcohol is processed in the liver thanks to a specific enzyme in the body.
However, when you have too much alcohol in your system, that enzyme isn’t able to keep up and another enzyme has to be used for processing. When it is handled in this other way, it produces free radicals, which are bad for various parts of the body, including bad cholesterol, and artery blockage.
These blockages and increases in bad cholesterol can cause issues such as cardiovascular, or heart disease. If you want to improve your health even further, try to add some light exercise to your regimen as well, which can increase the amount of good cholesterol.
Drinking an excess of alcohol regularly can also lead to cancer. Due to the way your body handles alcohol, the risks increase more for those who regularly drink a lot. There are also known carcinogens in liquors, which can lead to cancers. The common types of cancer include the head, neck, liver, esophageal, breast, and colorectal.
The cases aren’t high. According to studies, about 3.5 percent of cancer deaths in the United States are related to alcohol in some way, but by reducing or eliminating the amount you drink, you can reduce your risks.
4. Save Money
One of the most obvious benefits is the money you save. Alcohol is expensive, no matter what kind you drink. People that drink in excess often have more than four drinks a day. According to research, even if someone drinks only two drinks a day, every day, they are spending roughly five thousand dollars a year on alcohol.
This means that for people who drink four drinks a day, which is still pretty conservative for some, that is ten thousand dollars a year. This is around eight hundred dollars you can save just by going thirty days without alcohol.
That can save you all sorts of money that you can put towards things like rent, food, or buying something to start a new hobby. This can create a positive cycle, where you feel less stressed because you have more money, which makes you inclined to drink less.
5. Better Memory and Thinking Ability
Alcohol can impair the mind. Those that drink heavily may find it hard to think, or remember anything, and may spend their sober hours in a brain fog. By cutting back on alcohol for a month, you will find yourself being more aware of your situation, and being able to think better.
This is one of the reasons why 21 is the drinking age in many countries. There has been proof that those who drink in excess at a young age have issues with brain development and memory later on in life, but it works the same for people who drink in excess when they are older as well.
Too much alcohol can lead to severe brain damage. While going without alcohol can’t repair everyone’s brain if it is too damaged, you may start to see improvements in your memory if you decide to go 30 days without alcohol.
6. Clearer, Younger Looking Skin
Those that have decided to forgo alcohol for a period of time have found that there were significant improvements to not only their interior health but their health on the surface as well. Alcohol can dry out the skin, so drinking it in excess can lead to dry skin that isn’t able to shed off the dead skin cells.
By cutting alcohol, your skin can hold on to more moisture, and shed more skin, which makes your face look more youthful and reduces acne.
7. Weight Loss
All alcohol is high in calories. A shot of liquor can be as much as 100 calories, and a glass of wine can be around 150. By having a couple of drinks a day, you easily reach a majority of your caloric intake purely in liquid and unfilling calories.
With so little room for actual food full of nutrition, it’s easy to go far over your calories for the day, and gain weight. Cutting alcohol can easily put you into a caloric deficit and allow you to lose weight without much other change to your daily schedule.
This can make you feel better about your appearance, have a better mood, and be able to get more of the nutrients you need.
8. Improved Mood
Reducing your alcohol levels can also improve your outlook on life and make you feel better overall. Most people use alcohol as a way to handle their stress and anxiety. By taking 30 days off of alcohol, you have to find healthier ways to handle your bad days and anxieties.
However, you may also feel that you overall have a better mood anyway. Those that stop drinking alcohol tend to have fewer mood swings, as alcohol actually depresses the nervous system, and you are unable to handle stressors as well. So cutting alcohol can make you more able to handle stressors than trying to use it as a crutch.
9. Feel More in Control
Cutting alcohol can help in a variety of ways, but one of the most subtle is how you feel about yourself. By cutting alcohol, even for just 30 days, you will notice that your self-control improves as you hold back.
You will also feel better about yourself as you get more motivation, lose weight, and have better mental health. Since you are sleeping better, you may also have a better outlook on life and overall mood that you wouldn’t get while still on alcohol.
10. Less Prone to Illness
Many people notice that when they are no longer drinking alcohol in abundance, they tend to have better health and don’t feel bad as often. This is because alcohol harms your immune system, which causes you to not only get sick easier but to stay sick longer as well.
11. Have More Energy
Finally, going 30 days without alcohol can also give you more energy. One side effect of your nervous system being hampered by alcohol is that you often have less energy. Not only are you not sleeping as well as you should be, but you are also suffering from a possible hangover, and just low on energy.
Some days, it may just feel like you have no energy to do anything but sit on the couch and drink. While you won’t see immediate improvements, when you look back after 30 days, you may realize that you have the energy to do more, even if it is just putting away dishes after using them or having the energy to get out of the house for a while.