7 Amazing Benefits of a Dry January

One month without booze will serve you for the rest of your life.

The holidays are over, the New Years ball has dropped, and now millions of Americans are settling into the traditions of this season: making resolutions, joining gyms, going on diets, and vowing to do dry January.

Going an entire month without drinking isn't easy, especially when you're coming out of a few weeks of steady holiday punch, and when it's so cold that all you want you to do is stay home cocooned on the couch with a bottle of wine. But if you can do it (and you can!) the results are totally worth it!

Here are just a few amazing benefits of a booze-free month. And if you're still feeling a lingering headache from December, don't miss these 10 Best Science-Backed Hangover Cures. 

You're Guaranteed to Lose Weight.

Woman in gym measuring herself in Dry January

Everybody knows that alcohol is empty calories–and a ton of them at that. A standard glass of red wine contains as many calories as a Red Velvet Cupcake (around 160), and cutting out just a glass a day can save you as much as 10,00 calories for the month.

While spirits contain no carbs and wine is relatively low-carb, beer and cocktails are packed with bad carbs, and the latter also contains tons of sugar. Alcohol releases estrogen, decreases muscle growth, and promotes fat storage. Last but not least, it eats up all of the stored glucose in your liver, which makes you hungry, and that along with the loosened inhibitions makes it much more likely you'll reach for another glass or devour a whole bucket of fried chicken, neither of which are good for weight loss. And for more great ways to lose weight, here's the Best Way to Lose Weight in Winter. 

You Won't Feel Bloated.

Man measuring himself in dry January

People who stop drinking often remark about how much lighter and thinner they feel within just days of tee-totaling. Even though alcohol is a diuretic that makes you dehydrated because you end up peeing out more liquid than the booze actually contains, it also causes water retention.

Basically, by temporarily inhibiting the release of the anti-diuretic hormone, the kidneys start to dilute the body's urine, and so the body holds onto its precious water, thereby causing the uncomfortable sensation of bloating.

You'll Sleep Better Than Ever.

Man sleeping during Dry January

While alcohol helps you fall asleep better, it's also been proven to lead to more sleep disruptions later on, thereby resulting in an overall worse night of rest. Alcohol also relaxes the tissues in your throat, making you much more likely to snore. Given that clean sleeping is all the rage right now, this point alone makes the struggle worthwhile!

You'll Have Way More Energy.

Someone skiing with more energy during dry January

In one UK study of 857 British adults participating in Dry January, 2/3 of volunteers said they felt they had more energy after going a full month alcohol-free. It's no surprise, given that drinking less means fewer late nights, better sleep, and, most importantly, no hangovers! And for more ways of maximizing your days, here are 15 Ways to Be a Higher-Energy Person Immediately. 

You'll Have More Money.

Booze money in dry January

Even if you only go to dive bars or drink Trader Joe's two buck chuck at home, the price of those nightcaps can quickly add up. One survey found that many people blow as much as $50-$100 a week on this unnecessary spending habit, aka over $400 a month. Going dry for January means you can reward yourself at the end with a nice luxury item that, unlike booze, will actually make you look good. Also: Don't miss these 52 Ways to Be Smarter With Money in 2018. 

You'll Have Healthier Skin.

Woman tending to her skin in Dry January

As most people know, alcohol dehydrates your skin, and deprives it of essential vitamins and nutrients. It's also linked to rosacea, a skin disorder that causes the face to flush. It's relatively mild, but if it worsens it can turn your face into a red, raw, pus-filled terrain. What's worse is that it has no cure. Abstaining from booze for as little as a month can therefore make you look younger, especially since it makes it more likely that you'll get your calorie intake from food, thereby ingesting more vitamins.

You'll Make Way Better Decisions.

Man texting in bed during dry January

Ethanol alcohol slows down our brain pathways, thereby impairing our speech, our thought processes, and our ability to make decisions. Many, many life-destroying choices have been made under its influence. Even more dangerously, perhaps, is the fact that ethanol blocks NMDA receptors, thereby interfering with our memory and causing blackouts.

Not drinking for an entire month can be a real journey into the self, and it has a way of separating the people/things you like from those that you do simply out of habit. Do you even really like Steve when you're sober? Can you actually pull off that fedora? You know what, Ashley, no, I'm sorry, I don't want to go to that Death Metal festival with you. I'm going to stay home with a good book and a cup of tea, thanks!

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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