‘Dry January’. This resolution involves cutting alcohol from your routine for only one month... a bit more manageable than creating a resolution that lasts a whole year!
Even short term abstention from alcohol can help change your relationship with this fickle friend, as well as provide other health benefits.
What are the health benefits of abstaining from alcohol?
1. Cutting calories.
One 250ml glass of wine is around 120 calories, while a pint of beer is generally around 200 calories. Depending on how much you drink, cutting out these calories can make a significant improvement to your diet, and you may even lose weight.
2. Improved sleep.
There is a common misconception that alcohol helps you sleep. Although you may nod off quicker, your quality of sleep will be diminished. More time is spent in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which is less restful.
Additionally, because alcohol is a diuretic, your sleep can be disrupted by the need to relieve yourself during the night.
3. Immune system boost
Drinking alcohol, especially drinking until you are drunk, can prevent your body from producing chemicals it needs to fight off illness. Although there are more severe long-term effects for chronic heavy drinkers, your ability to fight off infections may be reduced for up to 24 hours after one night of intoxication, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (US).
Taking a break, then, may help your body stay stronger against illness.
4. Healthier Skin
Alcohol can dehydrate you, affecting the appearance of your skin and making you seem older. Keeping off the alcohol may help you stay better hydrated, preventing dryness and wrinkles.
5. Long term effects
Even abstaining for just one month could change your relationship toward alcohol in long-term improvement. One study conducted last year that Dry January participants who succeeded in abstaining for the month still had a reduced amount of alcohol intake 6 months later.