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What happens to your body when you do dry January

Callum Jones

Published 
| Last updated 

What happens to your body when you do dry January

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

As many of us may have indulged in far too many glasses of wine over Christmas, so taking part in Dry January might be a good opportunity to give the liver a bit of break.

The popular sobriety challenge has been around for a few years now, but some people might not see the point if you are just going to crack open a can again on 1 February.

But a 2019 study from the University of Sussex found that taking part in Dry January can have significant health benefits - even if you don't make it through the month without drinking.

The study was led by Sussex psychologist Dr Richard de Visser, with over 800 people taking part in Dry January in 2018.

But what difference did those people see during the month of January?

Health benefits are noticed from just one month of not drinking. Credit: Carl McIver / Stockimo / Alamy Stock Photo
Health benefits are noticed from just one month of not drinking. Credit: Carl McIver / Stockimo / Alamy Stock Photo

Well, you'll start to see a number of significant changes to your body in just the first week alone, according to Alcohol Change UK.

In that first week - where the January blues of going back to work start to kick in - you will notice a boost in your energy levels and concentration, and also better quality sleep.

Your mindset will start to become cleaner on the second week, with you also becoming more aware of your hydration levels and how much water your body needs.

Any heartburn symptoms present will also ease off in the second week, with weight loss coming by week three - especially if you plan on hitting the gym in the month for your New Year's resolution.

And by the fourth and final week, your blood pressure and cholesterol levels will have lowered.

If you pair the alcohol ban with the gym, you are going to notice some weight loss. Credit:  Cultura Creative RF / Alamy Stock Photo
If you pair the alcohol ban with the gym, you are going to notice some weight loss. Credit: Cultura Creative RF / Alamy Stock Photo

Dr Richard Piper, CEO of Alcohol Change UK, said: "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.

"The brilliant thing about Dry January is that it’s not really about January. Being alcohol-free for 31 days shows us that we don’t need alcohol to have fun, to relax, to socialise.

"That means that for the rest of the year we are better able to make decisions about our drinking, and to avoid slipping into drinking more than we really want to.

"Many of us know about the health risks of alcohol – seven forms of cancer, liver disease, mental health problems – but we are often unaware that drinking less has more immediate benefits too.

Dry January can 'change lives', according to the CEO of Alcohol Change UK. Credit: Olena Holubova / Alamy Stock Photo
Dry January can 'change lives', according to the CEO of Alcohol Change UK. Credit: Olena Holubova / Alamy Stock Photo

"Sleeping better, feeling more energetic, saving money, better skin, losing weight … The list goes on.

"Dry January helps millions to experience those benefits and to make a longer-lasting change to drink more healthily. "

Dr de Visser added that people who took part in Dry January that year also noticed they had regained control of their drinking, which continued in the months after.

By August, he said that people were reporting that they were having one extra dry day per week, with nine out of 10 also saving money.

Topics: Food and Drink

Callum Jones
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