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Doctor reveals benefits of Dry January

Doctor reveals benefits of Dry January

Have you ditched the booze this New Year?

We might only be two weeks into the New Year, but for those attempting 'Dry January' for the first time, it may have felt as though the last fortnight has lasted years.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, this marks the annual period of the year when drinkers attempt to cut alcohol for the entirety of the 31-day month.

Participants may opt to join in the global trend for all manor of reasons - from hoping to improve their internal health to simply wanting a better night's sleep.

And though you might think that abstaining from booze for a month can't be as bad as it seems, for many alcohol-consumers, the change can be difficult to become accustomed to.

So, whether you've already managed 14 days sober or you've caved slightly and enjoyed a drop or two, going predominantly alcohol-free in today's boozy society is still a huge achievement.

And to keep you on track with your personal goal this year, one doctor has issued a list of the life-altering benefits that 'Dry Jan' can have upon your wellbeing.

Speaking to People Magazine this week, Dr Rocco Iannucci, MD - director of the Fernside Residential Treatment Program at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital - first of all insisted: "There's no one thing we can do that benefits everyone the same across the board."

There are numerous health benefits to stopping drinking for a month.
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That's because 'Dry January' impacts part-takers differently, with factors such as age, gender and the amount of alcohol typically consumed coming into play.

That being said, however, Dr Iannucci, says that taking a month-long break from booze can be 'helpful for your liver'.

"People with significant liver inflammation related to alcohol will oftentimes see their markers of inflammation go back to normal within the course of a month, and that's people who have a significant level of alcohol intake," he told the publication.

"Alcohol is a toxin to the liver. The good news is the liver up to a point has a lot of capacity to heal and so giving it that chance to heal can be really helpful."

As mentioned, the high-profile medic also revealed that 'Dry Jan' can hugely improve your sleeping pattern.

Ditching the booze can massively improve the health of your liver.
Getty/Peter Dazeley

"Sleep is a big one," he disclosed. "The thing that I think many don't realize is that even small amounts of drinking do disturb your sleep."

"Most people will notice the immediate effects of alcohol," he continues, adding that alcohol consumption can also cause 'morning awakening and fitful sleep'.

"That can happen with half a drink. It doesn't take much for alcohol to start to disturb our sleep rhythm so that our sleep isn't as restorative as it would be otherwise."

It turns out, one of the top reasons why drinkers partake in 'Dry Jan' is in the hope of losing some weight.

As Dr Iannucci explains, alcohol adds 'empty' calories to out diet - being that they don't have any nutritional value.

'Dry Jan' can assist with weight loss.
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"Especially in the forms of sugary drinks, you don't really notice how much you're taking in," he detailed, adding that 'many people find that they lose weight during the course of a Dry January.'

Many partakers also opt to start physical activities in the New Year as opposed to drinking - including outdoor activities and new sports - which can also aid weight loss.

He goes on to say that this weight loss could trigger a new and improved level of confidence which - in many cases - benefits a person's sex life.

As with the liver, booze can affect drinkers' sex hormones, 'so when we're healthier, sleeping better, feeling healthier, feeling better about ourselves and maybe feeling more confident in ourselves,' that can 'be helpful' for dating.

The health expert adds that 'Dry Jan' can naturally lower your tolerance to alcohol, meaning you won't need as many drinks to feel its effects when/if you start drinking again.

'Dry January' can improve your sex life.

That being said, he concludes his list of benefits with the fact that thousands of people opt to quit drinking altogether once they've completed one month.

"Whether you are able to not drink the entire month or whether you do sometimes drink in that month, you're still likely to see some benefits in terms of psychological health and physical health," Dr. Iannucci explains. "So it's worth doing."

Featured Image Credit: Liumida Chernetska/NT Photography/Getty Images

Topics: Food and Drink, Health