If starting off the new year with more sleep, money, and less weight is on your goals list, then researchers from the University of Sussex say they may have just the trick. Participating in “Dry January” – a month-long abstention from booze – has shown to help people get control over their drinking, have more energy, be more successful at losing weight, and even have better skin. What’s more, many participants reported they were drinking less even months after participating in the global campaign.
How’s that for starting the year off right?
To study the effects of Dry January on the short- and long-term health of participants, researchers followed more than 3,000 participants who completed at least one of three self-reported surveys over the course of the year. They found drinking days fell from 4.3 to 3.3 per week. The number of drinking units also dropped, as well as the frequency of being drunk each month.
“The simple act of taking a month off alcohol helps people drink less in the long term: by August people are reporting one extra dry day per week. There are also considerable immediate benefits: nine in ten people save money, seven in ten sleep better and three in five lose weight,” said researcher Richard de Visser in a statement.
“Interestingly, these changes in alcohol consumption have also been seen in the participants who didn’t manage to stay alcohol-free for the whole month - although they are a bit smaller. This shows that there are real benefits to just trying to complete Dry January.”
An overwhelming majority of people also reported feeling a sense of achievement after handing off the booze for a month. More than three-quarters of participants said they felt more in control of their drinking and self-reflective about their habits, saying they “learned more about when and why they drink” and realized they “don’t need a drink to enjoy themselves.”
Not only did most participants report saving money (88 percent), but they also reported having improved health (70 percent), better sleep (71 percent), more energy (67 percent), easier weight loss (58 percent), better concentration (57 percent), and better skin (54 percent).
“Put simply, Dry January can change lives. We hear every day from people who took charge of their drinking using Dry January, and who feel healthier and happier as a result,” said Richard Piper, CEO of charity campaign awareness program Alcohol Change UK.
Globally, around 6 percent of deaths are attributed to alcohol consumption. If you are concerned about your drinking habits, there are a variety of resources, including this simple online quiz, available to see how they may be impacting your health.