Welcome to 2021 and welcome to a LOCKDOWN upgrade.
We had said goodbye to the ‘worst year ever’ and embraced a return to hope and freedom in 2021. Everyone had resolved to adopt a ‘new year, new me’ attitude and Dry January swept our social media accounts. Then Boris announced another lockdown, and almost immediately everyone was back on the booze.
But what if you are in the minority and want to stick to Dry January? What are the benefits of punishing ourselves throughout the most miserable month of the year? From weight loss to better skin – what happens to your body when you give up booze?
Dry January is a campaign which involves cutting out alcohol for 31 days – in order to help people reset their relationship with alcohol after Christmas.
Ditching alcohol can have a hugely positive impact on your health. It will improve your skin, your liver function, your blood pressure, sleeping patterns and aid weight loss.
You’ll wake up feeling a lot less tired and more energised after a week away from alcohol.
This is because alcohol interrupts your normal sleep pattern and makes your miss the important rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
We know one’s supposed to have between six and seven cycles of REM sleep a night, but you typically only have one or two when you’ve been drinking.
Similarly, one recent study found drinking before bed increases alpha wave patterns in the brain—a kind of cerebral activity that usually occurs when you’re awake but resting.
By cutting out alcohol you’ll avoid this and get an additional five to six REM cycles a night. Better sleep also comes with many benefits including being more productive and more effective at learning and problem solving.
Everyone knows that horrible feeling of being completely dehydrated and headachey after a heavy night on the booze.
You feel like this because when you drink alcohol, you lose around four times as much liquid as what you actually drank.
And the headaches come from your organs taking water from the brain due to their own water loss. Giving up alcohol will cut this completely – which in turn is hugely beneficial for your brain.
Your mood and concentration will be more stable and the frequency of headaches will decrease.
No more acid reflux
After a fortnight without alcohol, you’ll see a reduction in symptoms such as reflux where the stomach acid burns your throat.
Alcohol has a sneaky way of increasing your daily calorie intake without you realising it.
One pint of beer contains an average of 208 calories while a glass of wine may contain 83 calories.
On top of this many people find themselves reaching for a pizza or a kebab after a night of heavy drinking – which will make your calorie intake go up even more.
Cutting out alcohol will therefore mean you’re consuming less unhealthy food and drink which in turn means weight loss.
Blood pressure reduces
Cutting out booze will see your blood pressure slowly reduce to a normal rate.
Reducing your blood pressure can be crucial as it can help to lessen the risk of health problems occurring in the future including Type 2 diabetes.
If you cut out alcohol you’ll not only reduce your chances of this happening to you but also have a healthier heart.
Better looking skin
Giving up alcohol will have a great impact on your skin due to you having better levels of hydration.
Alcohol is a toxin that makes you go to the loo more often. It also makes your kidneys work harder and your liver has to go into overtime to break it down.
This leads to dehydration, which can cause dry, flaky skin.
Improved liver function
Your liver function will dramatically increase when you remove alcohol from your diet for a month.
Given the liver plays a vital part in more than 500 processes, this will give your body a better chance of converting food nutrients, storing minerals and vitamins and removing contaminants.