Dry January is a trend where throughout January, we abstain from alcohol. It’s a sensible trend, considering the celebrations around the new year.
Alcohol isn’t the worst thing in the world. Red wine contains antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory effects and have been linked to lower risk of heart disease and stroke. But that’s no excuse to let a glass turn into a bottle.
Regularly ending your day with a cold beer or cocktail, on the other hand, can disturb several aspects of your health. Cutting back (or cutting alcohol out altogether) can lead to numerous health benefits.
What are the benefits of not drinking alcohol?
For starters, it can improve your sleep quality. Alcohol can disrupt your natural sleep cycle and make it harder for you to fall and stay asleep. When you stop drinking, your body will naturally adjust, and you may notice fewer sleepless nights and more energy in the morning.
Another benefit is that you may notice an improvement in your skin. Alcohol dehydrates the body, which can lead to dry, dull skin. When you stop drinking, your skin will have a chance to rejuvenate, leaving you looking and feeling better.
You may also notice an improvement in your overall health. Alcohol is high in calories and can contribute to weight gain. It can also increase your risk of certain health conditions, such as liver disease and certain cancers. When you stop drinking, you’re taking a step towards improving your health.
Physiology is but one aspect of alcohol consumption. More important is your relationship with alcohol. For many people, alcohol can become a crutch that they rely on to cope with stress or to have fun. Dry January can be a way to break that cycle and learn to have fun without alcohol. It can also be a way to reflect on your relationship with alcohol and to make changes if needed.
How do you do Dry January?
It’s so simple that you don’t have to do anything! Commit to not drinking throughout January. Ask for hot water and lemon if you’re invited out with friends or family, and the people around you all partake. Lemon is a natural detoxifier rich in Vitamin C, and adding it to water promotes digestion.
Remember that Dry January isn’t about being perfect. If you have a drink, don’t beat yourself up. It’s ok. Just get back on track and keep going.
We’re more than halfway through January, so whether you’ve taken part in the trend or would like to start, it’s not too late, and it doesn’t have to be limited to January! Not only is it a chance to give your body a break from alcohol, but it can also be a way to reset your relationship with it.
Yours in good health,
Dr. Elena Krasnov, N.D.
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