Benefits of giving up alcohol for a month
The New Year is upon us and after a festive season of indulgence, more and more people are pledging to commit to Dry January (which means no alcohol). Whatever your personal reasons for going sober for the month, there are plenty of health benefits associated with it.
It can help you to lose weight
Alcohol contains more hidden calories than you think, especially if your drink of choice is a sugary cocktail or glass of wine. Pair that with the fact that drunken nights are often ended with junk food at the end of the night and the next day, alcohol is not your friend when it comes to weight loss.
Alcohol also slows down your metabolism, so your body also takes longer than usual to break down the sugars and fats that you consume. So a break from the drink for January could also aid your health goals.
If cutting down on alcohol, eating healthily and exercising more still isn’t enough to help you lose weight then there are weight loss medications available to assist you, such as Xenical and Alli (both containing Orlistat).
It improves your sleep quality
Getting a good nights sleep is not solely about how many hours of shut-eye you get; it’s also about the quality of the sleep you’re getting. Sleep quality is often measured by how much REM (rapid eye movement) sleep you get, which is the part that helps with memory and cognitive function.
Drinking alcohol however, can disrupt REM sleep, so even if you manage to get a full 8 hours after a night out, you can still wake up feeling tired and groggy. Going alcohol-free for a month could mean you feel brighter, better focussed and more alert.
However, if alcohol doesn’t seem to be the cause of your insomnia and you’re still struggling, then we have effective sleep medications and herbal remedies available.
You’ll feel better hydrated
Most people have felt that horribly dry-mouthed feeling the day after a night of heavy drinking, which is surely strange, considering you drink more liquid than normal, right? Wrong. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it makes you urinate more without absorbing as much water.
Its effect on the kidneys essentially means that your body is encouraged to send alcohol straight to the bladder to be flushed out, rather than re-absorbing water from it. This can lead to dehydration, headaches and tiredness, which you’ll thankfully be able to avoid during a month of only water and soft drinks!
It can improve your skin
Although it may not be the first side effect of alcohol that you think of, its dehydrating nature and high sugar content can lead to breakouts, dry and dull skin. Pair this with alcohol's ability to increase the blood flow to the skin’s surface and it can leave you looking red and blotchy too.
Not only can a break from alcohol make you better hydrated (which your skin will thank you for) but a break from the booze can also give you a boost in collagen, which keeps your skin looking plump and radiant.
Your immune system will get a boost
It’s January, it’s cold and it seems like every virus, cough and flu is doing the rounds. In order to avoid getting ill this month, you’ll need a strong immune system so you may be pleased to learn that going sober can give it a boost.
Research has shown that after only 20 minutes, alcohol can begin to deplete your immune system and these effects can last for several days afterwards So if you notice yourself get unwell shortly after a big night out then that’s likely why.
Another way to give your immune system an extra little boost is to make sure you eat a healthy balanced diet (with plenty of fruit and vegetables) and consider taking a multivitamin. These Nature’s Way ones are specifically tailored to bolster your immune system and assist your body in fighting off illness!
It can reduce your risk of long term health problems
Drinking alcohol excessively offers a whole host of health problems from increased risk of certain cancers to increased danger of heart disease or liver failure. A month’s break from alcohol may not seem like it could have long term health benefits but cutting back on alcohol is always a good thing.
If you do drink high volumes of alcohol on a regular basis then you might want to consider cutting back in general, even outside of the context of Dry January
Your mood will be better
Alcohol is what is known as a depressant, so it changes the chemicals in your brain and leads to an imbalance. Even though you may feel happy shortly after having a drink or two, it can cause a low mood after the alcohol wears off and can even lead to depression.
Laying off the drink for a month will prevent the ups and downs in your mood and that may just be what you need to convince you to cut back on alcohol, past Dry January.
Scott is an experienced and professional content writer who works exclusively for UK Meds.