Why you should take part in Dry January

4 January 2016 - by Hannah Mottishaw

Woman drinking wine

As the guilt of a boozy festive season hits the nation, ‘Dry January’ becomes more popular than ever. But is it really worth giving your liver a month off?

The benefits

Charities Alcohol Concern and Cancer Research UK are both urging people to take part in a sponsored Dry January. The benefits, they say, include:

  • Better sleep
  • More energy
  • Clearer skin
  • Weight loss
  • No more hangovers
  • A sense of achievement
  • A healthier relationship with alcohol
  • A healthier bank account

What’s more, Public Health England is also endorsing the New Year challenge, as a survey of 1,500 people who took part in Dry January last year found that six months later, 67 per cent reported that they were now drinking less alcohol than they used to.

Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, said, “Over 17,000 people took part in Dry January in 2014 and many reported that taking a month-long break from alcohol acted as a reset button concerning their alcohol use for months afterwards, not only helping people to drink less per drinking day but also to drink less frequently.”

Don’t become complacent

Although Dry January can have a positive impact on a person’s relationship with alcohol, Professor Paul Wallace, chief medical adviser to alcohol education charity Drinkaware, says people should not become complacent.

"It's important not to assume that having a break from alcohol for a while means it's OK to drink to excess the rest of the year.

"It's also important to recognise that just because you can stop drinking alcohol for a period of time, it doesn't mean you don't need to continue to moderate your drinking in the long term."

So, rather than counting down the days to that celebratory blowout on February 1st, you should try to continue the year drinking moderately. That means sticking within the daily limits and trying to have at least three alcohol-free days a week.

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