Dry January- Does it work?

Many of you will have probably heard of Dry January, but what is it? Well, it’s simply a campaign from Alcohol Change UK whereby you stop consuming alcohol from the 1st January until the 1st February! Millions of people take part in this challenge to improve health and wellbeing, save money and increase confidence in alcohol abstinence.

This sounds like a positive movement, but does it work? The answer is YES. De Visser, Robinson and Rod (2016) from the University of Sussex identified that the temporary abstinence from drinking during ‘Dry January’ is related to changes towards healthier drinking in the future, enhanced wellbeing and increased health benefits. What’s even better about this research is they found that even if you tried Dry January and failed to resist alcohol for the month, there were still health benefits! A failed attempt still led to positive behavioural changes, so even just trying Dry January can have brilliant effects on your health and wellbeing!

There are 5 big benefits of doing Dry January. Firstly, sleep. Alcohol Change UK state that 71% of people who completed Dry January had better sleep and 67% had more energy. Sleep can have huge effects on our physical and emotional wellbeing (which you can read about in Paul Collings’ Born in Bradford blog post: How well do you sleep?). Better sleep leads to better productivity to start the New Year off right!

Secondly, money. Again, Alcohol Change UK found that 88% of participants saved money during Dry January. £3.50 on a beer at the pub or £4 for a glass of wine at the restaurant, is it worth it? It all adds up! The NHS guidelines for weekly alcohol consumption is 14 units, according to Cancer Research’s Alcohol Calculator if you consumed 14 units but stopped for Dry January you could be saving £93! Find out how much you could save here!

Thirdly, weight loss. 58% of people who took part in Dry January lost weight. Many of our New Year’s Resolutions are the classic “give up chocolate” or “go to the gym”, well why don’t we cut our calories by cutting the booze instead? Being overweight can have health risks such as high blood pressure, cutting that 208 calorie pint could really help your body!

Arguably, one of the biggest benefits from Dry January is the change in attitude. Dry January provides the confidence that you CAN live booze-free for a month and still have a good time! So do we really need that extra glass of wine at dinner?

By Charlotte Martin, Born in Bradford Industrial Placement Student

Sources:de Visser, R.O., Robinson, E., & Bond, R. (2016). Voluntary Temporary Abstinence From Alcohol During “Dry January” and Subsequent Alcohol Use. Health Psychology 35(3), 281-289.

https://www.bmihealthcare.co.uk/health-matters/health-and-wellbeing/the-benefits-of-a-dry-january

https://alcoholchange.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/dry-january

https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/get-involved/do-your-own-fundraising/dryathlon/alcohol-calculator

de Visser, R.O., Robinson, E., & Bond, R. (2016). Voluntary Temporary Abstinence From Alcohol During “Dry January” and Subsequent Alcohol Use. Health Psychology 35(3), 281-289.

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