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What is Dry January?

Updated: Jan 19, 2020

Dry January is a health campaign asking people to abstain from alcohol use for the month of January. In 2019, one in five Americans participated in the dry January challenge. There are some great benefits from taking a break from drinking in the new year.

Some benefits include:

Saves Money. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household in 2018 spent $435 on alcohol.

More Energy. Fatigue is a hangover symptom and it is one of the reasons some can experience low energy levels. Alcohol kills the oxygen-carrying red blood cells, which makes them less efficient at transporting oxygen around your body. This lack of oxygen is what contributes to the fatigue you feel after drinking.

Weight Loss. If you are consuming several drinks a week, you are increasing your calorie intake with empty calories. The average calorie intake per drink is 150.

You will experience better sleep. Alcohol impairs sleep and can cause insomnia. Many have used alcohol as a nightcap and because of its sedative effects can make you drowsy, however, its actually interfering with the quality of your sleep.

Better Mood - Alcohol affects at least 5 neuroreceptors in the brain, including serotonin and dopamine, both of which regulate your mood.

Improves relationships, Alcohol can cause aggression and can lead to arguments with loved ones.

Helps you be more mindful of your alcohol consumption. This can change your relationship to alcohol and help you realize that you may not need alcohol in your life.

Abstinence from alcohol can highlight the above positives and help you with a long term plan.

With the above benefits, one needs to be careful when participating in dry January. Reminder people who are addicted to alcohol could suffer from withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, alcohol withdrawal can lead to death. Therefore, important to be aware if you are physically dependent on alcohol before you even try dry January. You should seek medical advice first.

In addition, If you find your self struggling during the month, which can include giving up, but also can mean being aware of thoughts and cravings and an indicator that you should seek professional help.

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