4 Benefits of Going Sober for One Month

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After all the indulgence that can come with the winter holidays, it might seem like a good idea to get a fresh start in the new year. Dry January, a social challenge created by charity Alcohol Change UK, might be your inspiration to do so. The goal is to forego alcohol for 31 days, not only to “detox” from the holidays, but also to approach alcohol more intentionally. In the decade since Dry January was created, it’s exploded in popularity: A 2022 national survey suggested that up to 35% of US adults abstained from alcohol last January.

But you don’t have to wait for a new year to take on the challenge. Whenever you try it, both your mindset and physical health can benefit from a stint in sobriety.

Thinking about a short break from booze? These Dry January benefits just might convince you.

1. Improved overall health
A 2018 study found that, in moderate to heavy drinkers, short-term abstinence from alcohol could positively affect several health markers, including insulin resistance, weight, blood pressure, and cancer risk. And according to the American Heart Association, other benefits of Dry January include healthier-looking skin, improved mood and levels of concentration, and weight loss.

2. Better sleep
Going dry can also help you sleep better, as alcohol has been linked to poor sleep quality and duration. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause disruption to your beauty rest by creating an imbalance in your sleep cycles. This will leave you feeling groggy the next day and will prevent your body from getting the rest it needs.

3. Increased mindfulness about drinking
One goal of Dry January is to examine your relationship with alcohol. Often, participants realize they don’t need alcohol to have fun. According to one study, from January to August, participants’ drinking days “fell on average from 4.3 to 3.3 per week.” And those changes in alcohol consumption were even seen in those who didn’t stay entirely alcohol-free that month (although the changes were less marked).

4. Save money
Finally, if all those physical and mental health benefits don’t convince you, there’s another reason to cut back: saving money. It’s no secret that alcohol costs can add up – whether you’re at home or going out. Going alcohol-free can help you save money, which you can put toward other activities that bring you joy and keep you healthy.

It’s important to note that a short-term abstention from alcohol won’t revolutionize your life. But approaching your drinking habits mindfully, drinking less, exercising, and a healthful diet can be a powerful combination that promotes wellness for the long-term.