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Dry January benefits: What really happens when you give up alcohol for a month

Dry January benefits: What really happens when you give up alcohol for a month 1

Dry January is growing year-on-year as more people decide to be mindful of their drinking, giving their body a break both physically and mentally. According to recent reports, 4,2 million people were estimated to partake in Dry January last year, and a recent survey revealed that the rate of drinkers saying they’d forgo alcohol had risen by almost 35 per cent. Which begs the question, what are the the main changes and benefits of doing Dry January?

“As excess long-term drinking leads to liver inflammation and fatty deposits, regular bingers need to take at least a couple of months off drinking to get their liver health back on track.

“However you are doing Dry January, take care which beverages you switch to – instead of plumping for calorie-rich soft drinks, aim for regular tea, herbal teas or water to see maximum benefits”.

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Nutritionist Emily Rollason revealed the five health benefits of giving up alcohol which include:

Better sleep

“Sleep is one of the most important factors for better overall health and well-being. Regular good sleep which is around 8 hours uninterrupted a night, not only gives you energy, but affects everything from reducing the chance of heart disease and lowering stress levels.

“Sleep is an active period in which a lot of important processing and restoration strengthening occurs,” says Emily, a nutritionist at Holland & Barrett.

Regular drinking affects the quality of your sleep, which makes you feel tired and sluggish. Whilst many people may think that a late-night tipple will help you nod off, drinking before bed can make for a much more unrested night as it has a sedative effect, reducing activity in the cortex of the brain, similar to sleep, but not quite the same.

Alcohol may increase deep sleep in the first half of a sleep cycle, but disrupting your sleep pattern throughout the night and inhibiting Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, the stage of sleep linked to a more restful night, leaving you feeling less refreshed in the morning.

“Additionally, alcohol causes your whole body to relax, including the muscles of your throat, making you more prone to snoring.

“Make sure you’re getting enough sleep as it plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Good sleep will help protect your physical health, mental health and quality of life.”

Improved skin

When party season rears its head, you may notice your skin suffering, with alcohol playing a large factor in this. “Alcohol is a toxin with little nutrient content, impacting on the quality, ageing and overall appearance of your skin.

“Alcohol is also a diuretic, meaning it may dehydrate you, so you lose water from the body quite rapidly, both leaving your skin dry and dull and making it harder for you to rehydrate afterwards, potentially leaving you with flaky skin and making your fine lines more visible thanks to the lack of fluid.

“Sticking to non-alcoholic drinks or choosing cocktails with a high ratio of low-sugar mixer, can hydrate your skin better and calms the symptoms alcohol normally introduces”, continues Emily.

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“On the topic of sugar, calorific cocktails and wines usually have a high sugar rate, which we all know can lead to spot breakouts, so look for low-sugar alternatives – I’d suggest a non-alcoholic cocktail such as Kolibri, which contains just 2g of 100 per cent natural agave sugar (14kcal) per 100ml.”

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