A few days into January 2023 and people have already begun their Dry January journey, a month of abstaining from alcohol. There are many reasons that draw people to participating in this yearly event. It’s possible that the body is in desperate need of a break after a week of spiked eggnog and celebratory bubbles. It’s also possible that concerns are more serious.
According to research and surveys, alcohol has become more of a problem in society since the COVID-19 pandemic. Drinking to excess, including binge drinking, increased by 21% in the United States during the pandemic. Researchers project that a one-year increase in alcohol consumption will cause 8,000 deaths from alcohol-related liver disease.
It makes sense that people resorted to alcohol during the pandemic, which was full of uncertainty. Alcohol hits the neurochemical pathways in the brain to release endorphins that make you feel good. Many researchers state that sitting down with an alcoholic beverage provides a temporary sense of ease and comfort, making it a popular go-to for people to unwind.
Why Do People Do Dry January
January marks the start of a new year, a fresh start to wipe the slate clean. The culture has programmed everyone into thinking that it is a time to break habits that no longer support your health. If you are concerned about your use of alcohol, the New Year may be the fresh start you need. You can join the masses who participate in Dry January, especially if you notice that your drinking habits have increased. Drinking more than seven alcoholic beverages per week can lead to a slew of health issues, so a month-long break may kickstart your efforts into changing up your beverage intake. Come February, you may find that alcohol doesn’t have the same place in your life as it did previously.
You May Reduce Bloating And Lose Weight
Depending on how much you drank prior to Dry January, you may or may not lose a few pounds this month. Boozy beverages add empty calories to your diet, meaning they don’t fill you up the same way food calories do. Because of that, you can either keep drinking, or you increase your consumption of unhealthy foods, which leads to a caloric surplus. A lot of people also feel bloated as a result of drinking alcoholic beverages, especially from beer. Research states that chronic alcohol use can inflame the gastrointestinal tract, which can wreak havoc on the body.
You May Sleep Better
A popular reason for drinking alcohol is to help relax the body and fall asleep. The reality is that while alcohol may put you to sleep, the sleep you get after drinking isn’t the best. You often wake up more frequently during the night and cannot get sufficient deep sleep. A small study found that drinking alcohol caused decreased sleep time and sleep efficiency. Dry January may benefit your sleep and energy levels, helping you feel more clear-headed and motivated. With that extra energy, you may have more energy for other activities, such as working out.
You’ll Save Money
It is very easy to spend too much money when you hit the bars with friends. Shelling out $10 to $16 for a craft cocktail or pour of wine can put a serious dent in your wallet. Even if you don’t go out all the time, buying alcohol from the store several times a week can also add up. When you take a month off, you’ll notice that your bank account doesn’t decrease as rapidly. Realizing that may cause you to change your drinking habits once Dry January comes to a close.
Your May Enhance Immune Function
A 2015 study found that healthy people who had an episode of binge drinking experienced a reduction in disease-fighting immune cells. Being intoxicated can suppress immune function, which makes you more vulnerable to pathogens. Chronic drinking, on the other hand, can increase your risk of inflammatory reactions throughout the body. Even one night of heavy drinking can impair your body’s ability to fight off infections for 24 hours. All that is to say that abstaining from alcohol may improve your body’s defense against viruses, bacteria, and pathogens.
You’ll Have A New Relationship With Alcohol
When you hit the pause button on alcohol, you may realize that you don’t have to drink every day, or even at all. Learning that you don’t need alcohol in your life can be a valuable lesson for many people. Maybe you thought you needed alcohol to fall asleep, but you found that you slept better without it. The main thing is to analyze how you feel and assess the pros/cons of Dry January. It is very common that people view alcohol in a different light and have a more positive relationship moving forward.