What Dry January Can Do For Your Body

It’s not certain as to whether we could say an overall rise in drinking habits has been established since the first lockdown. Or indeed that the last year may have substantially lowered peoples intake of the hard stuff. It’s difficult to say. But either way, January comes around every year as sure as the sun rises each day, and with it, a big decision.

“To go dry, or not to go dry?” – that is the question.

So let’s cut straight to the chase. We all know that alcohol is something better consumed in moderation and in fact if it can be removed altogether, even better. As our nutritionist, Alison Stork, says “In terms of alcohol intake per week, there is no minimum requirement”. January isn’t the only month you can ‘go dry’ either. But what actually happens to our body when we cut down/cut booze out completely? 

BETTER LIVER
Probably the most commonly thought of benefit when cutting out alcohol is the relief we can give our hardworking liver. The liver is a pretty neat organ and super-efficient at detoxifying chemicals in the body, but as Alison Stork states ‘alcohol is potentially bad for the liver long term’. Taking some time off the sauce will indeed allow your liver to focus on breaking down other toxins in the body, fats and hormones.

 

BETTER SLEEP

The quality of your sleep will improve. Drinking alcohol before bed can disrupt the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage of our sleep. REM is the deepest part of it and is important in getting a good deep sleep during the night. Alcohol is also a diuretic. Your body is normally pretty good at regulating the amount of water it has in it, but as alcohol stops the release of Vasopressin (the chemical responsible for this regulation) it gets itself all discombobulated. So you know all those times you’ve woken up busting for the loo at 3am? Yeah, that’s why! Cutting out the alcohol will allow you a deeper, less interrupted night. 

 

BETTER HEADSPACE

There’s no doubt about it, a T-Total existence will help you think clearer. Alcohol is a drug after all. And although it can make you feel nice and relaxed, and at times more confident, it is also a depressant. This means it alters the chemical makeup in your brain, slowing it down and affecting your mood both during and after drinking. And nobody likes a hangover right? By avoiding alcohol you’re allowing your brain to function properly whilst giving yourself a strong mind to deal with stress and anxiety.

 

BETTER SKIN

Who doesn’t enjoy healthy, clear, dewy skin? Especially during the winter months! Alcohol is very dehydrating so it leaves the skin cells parched and thirsty for water. Also as nutritionist Alison Stork says ‘alcohol is an anti-nutrient and it actually strips our body of nutrients’. So removing it completely means our body will be able to absorb more water, more vitamins and increase its cell turnover. It’s safe to say that the skin would much prefer a vitamin cocktail to a beer!

 

BETTER FITNESS

Your overall fitness is bound to improve. Apart from the mental gear shift towards a fitter, healthier lifestyle, things like muscle recovery and your body’s efficiency in turning food into energy will drastically improve. 

 

Alison Stork “Try to have at least 3 days a week with no alcohol, and try not to binge drink”

GOVERNMENT GUIDELINES ON DRINKING 

MEN – 3-4 UNITS PER DAY (Roughly 1.5 pints of 4% beer)

WOMEN – 2-3 UNITS PER DAY (Roughly 175ml glass of wine)