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Dry January - 5 benefits from taking a break from alcohol

Posted by Ted Fleming on

Dry January is a custom that originated in the UK in the 90's as a rallying cry for people to take a month off alcohol immediately after the holidays. More recently the slogan has been adopted by charities wanting to raise awareness about the harms of excessive alcohol consumption. It is estimated that over 20,000 Brits participate in Dry January each year. 

So will you be taking the month off booze for Dry January? If so you're likely to experience some of these positive effects:

Better Sleep - Even a couple of drinks can interfere with the normal sleep process. Alcohol can help you to get to deep sleep faster but it will be shorter and more interrupted. Typically we experience 6 to 7 cycles of REM sleep in a night but alcohol can cut this down to 1 or 2 cycles. Add in those extra midnight bathroom breaks you will likely wake up feeling exhausted. 

Flawless Skin - Alcohol is a well known diuretic and its consumption will lead to dehydration which shows up as dry and irritated skin. Alcohol is also a hepatotoxin meaning it's toxic to the liver and skin causing you to look jaundiced, sallow, and pasty as your liver cells are killed by the alcohol. Luckily the liver can regenerate itself and it will definitely thank you for a month without alcohol.

Weight Loss - Alcohol is packed with calories that most of us could do without. The Health Canada guideline for alcohol consumption recommends less than 15 units per week for men and 10 units per week for women. This equates to 2250 and 1500 calories per week respectively or roughly 3 to 4 Big Macs!

Be Richer - Those same 10 to 15 units of alcohol per week can put a real dent in your wallet too. Who couldn't use an extra $35 to $100 per week? Extend it over a year and that trip you've always wanted to take should be within reach.

Get Ripped - Trying to get in shape this new year? Alcohol has been shown to diminish the effects of your workouts by lowering protein synthesis and blocking the absorption of important nutrients that are key to muscle growth including calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, and potassium. 

  • Dry January

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