The Unexpected Benefit Of A Dry January, According To Science

photographed by Janelle Jones; styled by Rhoda Boone.
It's a well-known fact that young people in the UK are drinking less. According to the latest ONS (Office for National Statistics) figures, more than a fifth of people aged 25-44 are now teetotal – a 30% rise since 2005.
At the same time, more than three million people in the UK began a Dry January at the start of 2018, and it's pretty safe to presume a similar number will be doing the same in a couple of days' time. So it's interesting to read new research which suggests that completing a Dry January can have longer-term benefits, too.
A study led by scientists at the University of Sussex, who tracked more than 800 people who attempted Dry January in 2018, found that, on average, they were still drinking less eight months later.
"The simple act of taking a month off alcohol helps people drink less in the long term: by August people are reporting one extra dry day per week," said the study's leader, psychologist Dr Richard de Visser. "There are also considerable immediate benefits: nine in ten people save money, seven in ten sleep better and three in five lose weight."
The study also found that people who completed a Dry January drank fewer units on their drinking days, and got drunk on a less regular basis, too.
Some 80% of participants said they felt more in control of their drinking after attempting Dry January, while 71% said they realised they didn’t need a drink to enjoy themselves.
More than half (54%) said they felt they had better skin as a result.
The study also found that people reaped some benefits from Dry January even if they didn't manage to stay teetotal for all 31 days.
“Interestingly, these changes (reductions) in alcohol consumption have also been seen in the participants who didn’t manage to stay alcohol-free for the whole month - although they are a bit smaller," said Dr de Visser. "This shows that there are real benefits to just trying to complete Dry January."

More from Wellness

R29 Original Series