Brits ben­e­fit from giv­ing up al­co­hol for ‘Dry Jan­uary’

The Sun News (Sunday) - - Tv - BY KAREN D’SOUZA

Af­ter the hul­la­baloo and ex­cess of the hol­i­days, Jan­uary often feels like the right time to make some healthy res­o­lu­tions about eat­ing and drink­ing. Those of us who have gone a lit­tle over­board with the eggnog and cham­pagne of late might start con­sid­er­ing one hot New Year’s trend in par­tic­u­lar: Dry Jan­uary. Say say­onara to the sauce.

A ma­jor pub­lic pol­icy push in Eng­land, Dry Jan­uary is gain­ing trac­tion all around the world as a way to hit the re­set but­ton on im­bib­ing and learn how to be more mind­ful of con­sump­tion year round. In fact, one study from the Univer­sity of Sus­sex in the UK shows that tak­ing part in Dry Jan­uary can bring about health ben­e­fits like im­proved sleep, more en­ergy and weight loss.

“This is a long-es­tab­lished Bri­tish tra­di­tion that should be wel­comed in the U.S., even though we drink less than they do,” says Dr. Keith Humphreys, psy­chi­a­trist at Stan­ford Health Care.

The re­search, con­ducted by Sus­sex psy­chol­o­gist Dr. Richard de Visser, in­volved more than 800 peo­ple who took part in Dry Jan­uary in 2018. The re­sults show that most par­tic­i­pants were still drink­ing less than usual by Au­gust. Over­all, par­tic­i­pants threw back the booze less often and sipped less when they did par­take.

The last­ing ben­e­fits were im­pres­sive. Sev­enty per­cent re­ported im­proved over­all health, 71 per­cent slept bet­ter, 67 per­cent felt more en­er­gized, 58 per­cent lost weight, and 54 per­cent had bet­ter skin.

It’s a pretty easy way to boost your health as well as save some dough, ex­perts say. Katie Witkiewitz, a pro­fes­sor of psy­chol­ogy at the Univer­sity of New Mex­ico’s Cen­ter on Al­co­holism, Sub­stance Abuse and Ad­dic­tions, says that cut­ting back on the craft cock­tails, even for just one month, can make a real dif­fer­ence.

“We know that re­duc­tions in drink­ing are as­so­ci­ated with im­proved health and im­proved sleep and im­proved mood, and tak­ing just a month to re­duce your drink­ing re­duces the over­all pat­tern of con­sump­tion,” says Witkiewitz, as Time re­ports. “By cut­ting it out for a month, you’ve con­sumed less for the year.”

Ex­perts say that even if you don’t make it all the way to Fe­bru­ary with­out a lit­tle fruit of the vine you may well have given your­self enough of a break to re­think your habits. That alone could be price­less.

“Tak­ing a break from any be­hav­ior that has be­come a mind­less habit, be it drink­ing, check­ing Twit­ter 100 times a day, or flip­ping on the tele­vi­sion the mo­ment we walk in the door,” says Humphreys, “pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity to re-as­sess if this is some­thing we truly en­joy and want to keep do­ing so much.”

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