According to Alcohol Change UK, 4 million people take part in Dry January every year – an initiative set up to help people feel healthier and save money by not drinking for a month.
However, why limit yourself to just taking a month off alcohol in January? You can reap the rewards at any point over the year!
Here, we’ve looked at how abstaining from drinking can have a positive impact not only on your health, but also on your finances. Once you’ve read about the benefits, you might even want to continue with the detox into the rest of the year!
Healthier looking skin
As a toxin, drinking can cause hormone disruption, insulin issues, cell damage and reduce your immunity, all of which can give your skin a dull and aged appearance.1
Hydration is key to having good skin too, but alcohol is a diuretic meaning you’ll lose lots of much-needed water from your body, leaving your skin feeling and looking dehydrated.1 By detoxing, you’re able to keep your hormones in balance and improve your immunity to give your skin a healthier appearance.1
Better sleeping patterns
Although drinking alcohol can make you feel drowsy and tired, it doesn’t improve your quality of sleep – it hampers it. Having alcohol in your system when you go to sleep can aggravate breathing problems, interrupt your circadian rhythm (often referred to as the ‘body clock’) and impact your REM sleep (when you’re at your deepest stage of sleeping, and most likely to dream).2
A month without drinking alcohol can lead to an improvement in your sleep, as you won’t be disrupted (including needing to go to the bathroom) and you’ll be able to reach a deep state of sleep better.
Giving your liver some R&R
Your liver is tasked with trying to break down the alcohol in your body, however this chemical reaction (known as oxidative stress) can cause damage to the organ.3 Having a prolonged break from alcohol can help your liver repair itself through rest and recuperation.
According to Dr Preethi Daniel from the London Doctors Clinic, it takes around four to six weeks for your liver to fully recover from a heavy bout of drinking.4 So, going alcohol free for a prolonged period can give your liver a well-deserved break.
Cutting back on costs
According to the latest Office for National Statistics figures, the average UK household spends £8.90 each week on alcohol.5 It may not seem a huge amount of money, but over a year it adds up to more than £500. Alcohol Change UK reports that the average person spends £50,000 on alcohol over their lifetime6, so cutting down and reducing your intake could see you save money in the long run.
Potential to lose weight
Dry January came about to promote and encourage people to try and lose weight through limiting, or eradicating, their alcohol intake.6 Alcohol contains sugar and natural starch, both of which can cause weight gain.
According to the NHS, the average pint of beer contains 215kcal (the same as a packet of salted crisps), a standard 175ml glass of wine is 126kcal (the same as one chocolate mini-roll) and a 5% alcopop contains the most, with 237kcal (or the equivalent of three Lees teacakes) – so over the course one evening of drinks, a significant amount of calories can be consumed. By cutting out the average weekly unit allowance, (14 units a week for both men and women) you could save over 5,700 calories over one month alone.
To find out more about how a Sovereign Health Care cash plan can help you to stay healthy all year round, visit sovereignhealthcare.co.uk/personal/what-is-a-cash-plan
2 Sleep Foundation – https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/how-alcohol-affects-sleep