Dry January: the benefits of not drinking go beyond cardiovascular disease.
Welcome to 2022. Like the rest of us, you likely have goals to achieve. You reflected. You’re ready to take on the new year and maybe have some aspects in your life you want to change. I urge you to participate in Dry January for the rest of the month.
Dry January is when one abstains from alcohol for one month. It is not a substitute for those experiencing substance abuse, but for those who drink regularly or may drink above the recommended limit. For those who binge on weekends, who have a drink nightly, or drink routinely, this is a good challenge for you.
Research has shown that partaking in Dry January has extensive health benefits. Those that abstain from alcohol for one month have better sleep, lose weight, reduce cholesterol, and decrease blood pressure and cancer-related growth factors (1). In addition, a study showed that 72% of participants also reduced their harmful levels of drinking six months after the challenge (2).
Do you want better skin and hair? Better liver function? Better cardiac health?
Would you like to save money? Lose weight? Reflect on how alcohol affects your mental health?
Although it is January 4th, it isn’t too late to start. Join the Dry January and see how alcohol may affect your mood, sleep, and overall function. Here are tips and ways to participate in Dry January:
How to complete Dry January:
- Tell your friends and family members that you are participating in Dry January. This will keep you accountable and provide social support.
- If you socialize with friends, choose a non-alcoholic drink, such as a sparkling water. This will prevent you from ordering alcohol.
- Get rid of alcohol in your house and do not buy it during the month.
- Find a hobby that can replace the time you spent drinking. Increase your exercise, dive into crafts, or focus on something you always wanted to do.
- Use the Try Dry app, which helps remind you of the money you saved and the calories you didn’t consume by not drinking.
- Reflect on your health as the days pass. You may begin to notice reduced cravings and that drinking consumed a bigger part of your life than you wanted.
- Mehta G, Macdonald S, Cronberg A, et al. Short-term abstinence from alcohol and changes in cardiovascular risk factors, liver function tests and cancer-related growth factors: a prospective observational study. BMJ Open 2018;8:e020673. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2017-020673
- Ballard J. (2016). What is Dry January?. The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners, 66(642), 32. https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgp16X683173
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