A “dry” or sober January is a reset of year-long boozy habits. Starting as a public health campaign by Alcohol Change, Dry January® has inspired a movement. An estimated 20 percent of Americans just said “no” to alcohol last January. Sober curious? Read on to discover some tempting benefits of teetotalism.
Can abstinence be cool? Since 2013, Alcohol Concern (AC) has championed drinking by conscious choice, not by default – and people are listening. A alchohol-free month brings awareness to the complex mental, social and physical changes alcohol brings to day-to-day life. The idea is a month of sobriety will make you realize you don’t need alcohol to have fun. And this may help you regulate your drinking for the rest of the year.
Benefits of a Sober January
From 1996 to 2016 alcohol spending increased 56.6% with $484 as the average yearly cost. However, this includes the near 30% of folks who do not drink at all. Those extra cocktails put a dent in a restaurant bill. Likewise daily beers (or glasses of wine) can slowly drain your wallet.
In general weight loss is about total calories. A standard drink (wine or beer) has about 150 calories – and mixed drinks can have even more. And they can add up quickly at a dinner or celebration meal.
Just one drink per day can add over 1,000 calories to your weekly total. Surprisingly alcohol contains more calories per gram than carbohydrates, sugars or proteins. Carbs, sugars and proteins are roughly 4 calories per gram while alcohol is 7 calories per gram. Alcohol also increases your appetite which can lead to more late-night snacking.
On the negative side, alcohol dehydrates your body including your skin. It can also cause skin flushing. One study found a higher risk of high blood pressure for those who regularly get red-faced. You might find a surprising glow-up in the mirror when your sober January ends.
Alcohol is a depressant and is often used for self-medicating. You may find your brain fog suddenly clearing during your alchohol-free break.
Lower blood pressure.
Studies show reducing alcohol intake lowers blood pressure of both those with high blood pressure and normal blood pressure.
Catch better zzzz’s.
Although alcohol can make you sleepy, it compromises the quality of your sleep.
Better overall health.
The American Heart Association stresses moderation, suggesting men consume no more than two alcoholic drinks per day, and women no more than one.
Try a Sober Spring
Want to ride the benefits of your month-long break? AC’s “Sober Spring” states a longer break allows you to reap even more alcohol-free advantages. This includes getting drink-pushers off your back and magnifying the health benefits.
Not Ready for a Alchohol-Free January?
Certain strategies can help a person to reduce the amount of alcohol they consume.
Some tips include:
- Swig plenty of water before and after each alcoholic drink
- Avoid drinking shots
- Slowly sip drinks
- Set a cut-off time to avoid drinking late at night
- Steer clear of drinking on an empty stomach
- Don’t mix alcohol with drinks containing caffeine. Energy drinks or coffee may prolong periods of drinking.
- Take short breaks by skipping alcohol for a few days at a time, increasing your days gradually until you can take a month off
If you worry about the health effects of drinking, discuss your concerns with a doctor.