Giving up alcohol is a daunting thought. How many of us are truly comfortable with attending a social event without the aid of booze?
We’re all guilty of depending on alcohol to some extent whether that’s to lose our inhibitions and socialise more, or as a stress and anxiety reliever. If you’re alcohol dependent or simply enjoy the occasional tipple, trying to give up alcohol after the busy party season may be just what your body needs.
So press the reset button this new year, ditch the alcohol and join the Dry January movement!
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What is Dry January?
Dry January is a national campaign that encourages people to give up alcohol for the whole of January from the 1st-31st in order to break the habit of drinking and live a healthier lifestyle.
It’s an annual movement that is aptly timed after the Christmas period, as let’s face it with all the Christmas parties and celebrations you’ve more than likely exceeded the recommended units quite a bit!
The Dry January campaign started in 2012 and since then millions of people across the UK have taken part and not drank a drop of alcohol for the whole of January. It’s a challenge for a lot of people, but one that has many rewards and could see you giving up the booze for a lot longer than a month.
The purpose of Dry January is to spread awareness about the amount of alcohol that is being consumed by the UK public. According to Alcohol Change, the founders of Dry January, there are around 589,101 dependent drinkers in England alone. Dry January aims to reduce our dependence on alcohol and reduce the number of deaths and illnesses caused by alcohol.
I enjoy drinking, why should I give up alcohol?
Most people enjoy alcohol and use it as a way of unwinding after a long hard day, or as a way of coming out of your shell during lively social occasions. This is all well and good as this campaign isn’t about banning alcohol altogether, however, if ditching the booze for good is something you aim to do then Dry January is a great place to start.
Reducing your alcohol intake has many health and lifestyle benefits and if your health and wellbeing are suffering as a result of alcohol, this alone is plenty of reason to give up drinking.
Cutting out alcohol for just one month can significantly improve the way you feel and look, and sets you on the right path to changing your drinking habits for the rest of the year.
What are the benefits of Dry January?
Drinking excessively or ‘binge drinking’ can have serious health implications including high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and weight gain which also comes with its own health problems.
Alcohol affects your sleeping pattern and quality of sleep, as well as your appearance, all of which can lead to mental health and self-esteem issues. So as you can see, taking away alcohol can only be a good thing and here’s why.
It’s not only the extra Christmas dinners that have piled on the pounds over the festive period, but alcohol also plays a huge part in weight gain. Many people are not aware of how calorific alcohol is, plus you’ll notice that your appetite for greasy takeaway food is increased and before you know it you’re a few stones heavier.
Drinking alcohol regularly also makes shifting the weight harder as there are no nutrients in its calories and it disrupts the way the body burns fat. Alcohol calories are burned before food calories which leads to a buildup of fat in the body. The more alcohol you drink and the more often you drink it means fat burning and weight loss take a back seat.
So, if you’ve felt the struggle of losing weight even with healthy eating and exercise you might want to consider your alcohol intake. Simply cutting back could see you shedding those pounds and feeling lighter on your feet!
Losing weight alone will improve your overall health and reduce your risk of heart disease and cancers, a double bonus!
Say goodbye to the dreaded hangover!
If anything will make you stop drinking it’s the thought of going hangover free for a month and feeling refreshed the morning after a night out.
Almighty headaches, nausea, fatigue and the overwhelming need to drink gallons of water are all symptoms of the horrific hangover caused by excessive drinking. Unfortunately, there’s no miracle cure for hangovers (if there was we’d be all over it!), so instead of managing your intake of alcohol or cutting it out completely is the only way to avoid them.
Having an entire month without hangovers is definitely worth taking part in Dry January.
Better quality sleep
You’ve probably heard the term ‘nightcap’ which refers to drinking an alcoholic drink before bed for a good night’s sleep. Many people are a fan of a nightcap but the effects can be the opposite to what you want to achieve.
Although you may find that you drop off to sleep quicker than usual, the quality of your sleep is negatively affected by alcohol. With alcohol in your system, you’ll spend more time in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep than deep sleep. This is why you’ll often feel extra tired the day after drinking as you’ll have experienced more disruption including bodily movements, a faster pulse, dreaming, and rapid eye movements.
Lack of quality sleep not only affects your mood and productivity, but there are also serious health conditions that are caused by sleep deprivation including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
There are a variety of reasons why you may be struggling to sleep and there are many natural and medicated remedies to help you sleep soundly.
If you’ve exhausted all-natural means of getting a lot more than 40 winks, there are medications that may be suitable for you. However, taking sleep medication should always be discussed with a doctor first.
Here are some of the medications prescribed for sleep conditions.
To buy Circadin, Zolpidem or Zopiclone online through Doctor-4-U you will firstly need to be approved for suitability by a GMC (General Medical Council) registered doctor. Our online doctors are on hand to review your suitability for these medications via a medical questionnaire.
Get glowing skin!
You may have noticed that your increase in alcohol consumption is taking its toll on your skin. You may be following a strict beauty regime but this could all be a waste of time as what you put inside your body is just as important, if not more so!
Alcohol has little nutrients and has a dulling and ageing effect on the skin. Plus, if you have existing skin conditions such as rosacea or eczema, unfortunately, alcohol could be worsening this condition and play a part in breakouts.
So, if you’re aiming for glowing, youthful skin this new year, Dry January may be the only skincare you need.
More money in your pocket
There’s no doubt alcohol is expensive and if you’re feeling the pinch from all those nights out drinking then Dry January could be the answer to helping you save the pennies for your 2019 goals.
Even if you give up alcohol just for January you’ll still be saving a lot of money. You’ll also see your productivity at work improve as you’ll feel more refreshed and alive with the lack of alcohol, so more chances of landing those bonuses!
I’m worried about the side effects of giving up alcohol, what happens to the body?
Giving up alcohol is daunting not just because we have to tell our friends and family the disappointing news that we won’t be drinking at the next occasion, but also because you can feel physical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
The symptoms you experience depends on how alcohol dependent you are, the more dependent on alcohol you are the worse your symptoms will be. Symptoms can be both psychological and physical including nausea, ‘the shakes’, hallucinations, and in severe cases, seizures. Psychological symptoms include depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
If you’re not alcohol dependent you may experience some of these symptoms to a less degree and they will usually only last a few days. You can relieve the symptoms by eating regularly and drinking plenty of water.
Take on the Dry January challenge!
We hate to be party poopers but we say giving up alcohol for just one month is a challenge to accept. The overall benefits of Dry January are definitely worth putting down the martinis for 31 days. Better sleep, glowing skin and more money in our pockets is something we all need after the indulgence of Christmas.
If your New Year’s resolution is to give up or cut down on alcohol long term, taking part in this campaign is the best way to kick start this goal. Alcohol Change has reported that 72% of people who take part in Dry January are still drinking moderately 6 months later, so if this is your goal take on the challenge and sign up today!