Giving up alcohol for January helps most people lose weight, new research finds.
On top of weight loss, people report sleeping better, having more energy and increased concentration.
Despite only giving up alcohol for January, people were still drinking less six months later, the results showed.
Merely trying to give up alcohol for January has beneficial effects almost as great as being dry for the whole month, the researchers found.
Dr Richard de Visser, who led the research, said:
“The simple act of taking a month off alcohol helps people drink less in the long term: by August people are reporting one extra dry day per week.
There are also considerable immediate benefits: nine in ten people save money, seven in ten sleep better and three in five lose weight.
Interestingly, these changes in alcohol consumption have also been seen in the participants who didn’t manage to stay alcohol-free for the whole month – although they are a bit smaller.
This shows that there are real benefits to just trying to complete Dry January.”
The conclusions come from a study of over 800 people who took part in ‘Dry January’ in 2018.
People reported a huge range of benefits from giving up alcohol for January:
- 93% of participants had a sense of achievement;
- 88% saved money;
- 82% think more deeply about their relationship with drink;
- 80% feel more in control of their drinking;
- 76% learned more about when and why they drink;
- 71% realised they don’t need a drink to enjoy themselves;
- 70% had generally improved health;
- 71% slept better;
- 67% had more energy;
- 58% lost weight;
- 57% had better concentration;
- 54% had better skin.
Dr Richard Piper, CEO of Alcohol Change UK, said:
“Put simply, Dry January can change lives.
We hear every day from people who took charge of their drinking using Dry January, and who feel healthier and happier as a result.
The brilliant thing about Dry January is that it’s not really about January.
Being alcohol-free for 31 days shows us that we don’t need alcohol to have fun, to relax, to socialise.
That means that for the rest of the year we are better able to make decisions about our drinking, and to avoid slipping into drinking more than we really want to.
Many of us know about the health risks of alcohol – seven forms of cancer, liver disease, mental health problems – but we are often unaware that drinking less has more immediate benefits too.
Sleeping better, feeling more energetic, saving money, better skin, losing weight… The list goes on.
Dry January helps millions to experience those benefits and to make a longer-lasting change to drink more healthily.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
See the Dry January website for more information.