A study by a British team of researchers, at the University of Sussex, shows that skipping alcohol for a month can improve our lives and concludes that these benefits will last a lifetime. It claims that it’s the best thing you could do for your health.
The lead researcher, Richard de Visser, found that people who participated in Dry January, in 2018 ( an initiative that encourages quitting alcohol for 30 days) claimed to have more energy and a healthier body weight. The participants also felt less need to reach for a pint of beer, even a couple of months after participating in this initiative. There were 3 online surveys which collected data from Dry January.
A total of 2,821 people completed one of the surveys, by registering for the campaign in early January. In the first week of February, 1,715 participants completed a survey and 816 participants submitted additional data in August 2018. As a result, researchers found that quitting alcohol for a month helped participants reduce the number of days they drank later during the year. Participants went from drinking an average of 4.3 days per week to 3.3 days per week after Dry January.
To top it off, people who cut out alcohol completely for one month, ended up getting drunk less frequently months later.In fact, participants also learned to drink less. They went from consuming an average of 8.6 units of alcohol per day, at the beginning of the study to 7.1 units of alcohol per day. Excessive alcohol consumption rates dropped from an average of 3.4 times per month at the start of the study to 2.1 times per month, on average.
“The simple fact of being alcohol free for a month, helps people drink less in the long term,” says Visser. “There are also considerable immediate benefits: 9 out of 10 people save money, 7 out of 10, sleep better and 3 out of 5, lose weight, “ he adds.
But, if you’re not ready to give up alcohol completely, you can also reap the benefits from giving up alcohol for a shorter period. A month without alcohol, is the perfect period to reboot your system but even if you decide to give up alcohol for a shorter period than that, it can still improve your health, says Visser.
A long list of benefits
-93% of participants reported that they experienced a sense of 'achievement’' at the end of the month without alcohol.
-88% saved money that they would otherwise have spent on drinks.
-82% of the participants felt a greater awareness of their relationship with alcohol.
-80% felt more in control of their drinking habits.
-76% understood when they were more tempted to drink and why.
-71% of the participants learned that they didn't need alcohol to have fun.
-71% said they enjoyed a better quality of sleep.
-70% reported better overall health.
-67% had higher energy levels.
-58% of participants lost weight.
-57% felt more concentrated than before.
-54% noticed better skin health.
"The good thing about Dry January is that it's not reallyJanuary. Being alcohol free for 31 days shows us that we don't need alcohol to have fun, relax, socialize, etc.," says Piper.
"That means that during the rest of the year, we can make decisions about our drink and avoid falling into the trap of drinking more than we really want."
"We often do not realize that drinking less also has more immediate benefits. Sleeping better, feeling more energetic, saving money and improving the skin, losing weight ... The list goes on," concludes Piper.