Dry January — ditching alcohol for the first month of the new year — is an annual tradition for some. Claiming to be a sort of “detox” from the excess of the holidays, it may help with your New Year’s Resolution to drink less or implement new healthy habits.
When it comes to alcohol, everyone has their own wellness approach that we respect. Some choose to drink in moderation, only on special occasions, or abstain from it completely. Whatever works for you! But if you feel like you need to make a change, or start fresh for the new year, we encourage you to take up this challenge.
So what ARE the benefits of Dry January?
1. Better sleep
Alcohol and a good night’s sleep don’t mix. While you may fall asleep faster after downing a few drinks, overall it’s more disruptive to your sleep as it decreases your REM sleep. Known as your restorative sleep, REM is your deep sleep stage where dreaming happens. Alcohol disrupts this stage which can leave you feeling groggy and unrested when you wake.
2. Better hydration
It’s no secret that alcohol is dehydrating. As a diuretic, alcohol causes your body to flush out fluids faster than other drinks. If you don’t drink enough water with alcohol, you can become dehydrated quickly. When you eliminate alcohol, you won’t wake up with the classic symptoms of dehydration: thirst, dry mouth, foggy thinking, or a raging headache.
3. Healthy lifestyle choices
One issue we face when we drink? Making less healthy food and lifestyle choices. When inhibitions are down, you may find yourself eating more than usual, or food you don’t usually eat. And if you wake up feeling not-so-hot, there’s a greater chance you aren’t going to make it to the gym or that yoga class you meant to go to. When you eliminate drinking from your routine, you’ll be able to focus on your other healthy habits with a clear mind.
4. Evaluating your relationship with alcohol
After a month of no drinking, you can evaluate how you feel and what you’d like your relationship with alcohol to look like. Do you feel better? Have more energy? Are you happier? Take note of the differences in how you feel and if there are any helpful takeaways from the last month.
If you go in with the right approach of noticing how you feel and evaluating your relationship with alcohol at the end of the month, then Dry January could be extremely beneficial for you. You may decide you’d like to go another month without any drinking, confirm you prefer drinking in moderation, or decide to abstain from drinking permanently. Just like other substances, consuming alcohol in excess can have major consequences. The important practice of Dry January can help you determine what your relationship with alcohol is and how you feel most balanced.
Have you ever participated in Dry January? What did you learn from the experience?