Study shows that Dry January helps people drink less all year
Research has found that individuals who abstain from drinking alcohol in the month of January, also known as “Dry January,” experience many health benefits. The month-long alcohol detox promotes weight loss, more energy, clearer skin, better focus, and lower blood pressure. In addition, Dry January participants often regain control of their drinking.
The study, led by Dr. Richard de Visser at the University of Sussex, was focused on over 800 people who took part in Dry January in 2018. The investigation revealed that the participants were still drinking less in August.
“The simple act of taking a month off alcohol helps people drink less in the long term: by August people are reporting one extra dry day per week,” said Dr. de Visser. “There are also considerable immediate benefits: nine in ten people save money, seven in ten sleep better, and three in five lose weight.”
Even those who were not successful in abstaining from alcohol for the entire month of January experienced health benefits.
“Interestingly, these changes in alcohol consumption have also been seen in the participants who didn’t manage to stay alcohol-free for the whole month – although they are a bit smaller. This shows that there are real benefits to just trying to complete Dry January.”
The benefits identified in the study were not just physical. For example, 93 percent of participants had a sense of achievement, 88 percent saved money, 82 percent felt more in control of their drinking, and 76 percent learned more about why they drink.
A survey conducted by Alcohol Change UK found that an estimated 4.2 million people in the UK are already planning to do Dry January in 2019.
“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,” said Dr. Richard Piper, who is the CEO of Alcohol Change UK.
“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 socialize. 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. 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.”
Anyone interested in participating can sign up at dryjanuary.org.uk for regular support emails with tips from experts. There is also an application called Try Dry: The Dry January App that can be used to track your progress, including money and calories saved.