We are in the middle of January and all holidays are gone. Now we have no excuses: It’s time to go back to a balanced lifestyle and to store the remaining – if there are some – bottles of Champagne in the cellar, keeping them cool for the next celebration. But what can we do to recover our liver from the past alcoholic days? Dry January could be the right solution to purify the body and make up for the Christmas boozing. Here are some benefits of a totally alcohol-free month.
1. Your immune system will get stronger
Drinking too much alcohol can weaken the immune system, making it harder for our body to recover from an illness or to fight off a disease. This happens because alcohol impedes white blood cells to fight off bacteria. Heavy drinkers are very susceptible to infectious diseases, but even just one episode of heavy drinking can damage the immune system and expose the body to infection for up to 24 hours after the consumption of alcohol. Opting for a dry January can boost your immune system and improve your ability to fight infections.
2. Your mood can improve
It’s true that a glass of wine or a nice cocktail can free our minds and improve our mood for a short time. However, if consuming alcohol becomes a regular habit or a strategy to forget our problems, it might turn out to be dangerous. Behind a large consumption of alcohol there might be a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety. Researchers have found out that alcoholic beverages tend to make these mental issues even worse and may negatively alter the mood. Conversely, avoiding the consumption of alcohol can stabilize our mood and cast a light to the actual causes of our mental illness. Instead of filling your glass with wine, why don’t you fill your water bottle and go for a walk in nature?
3. You will sleep better
Alcohol negatively affects sleep quality, causing shorter sleep duration and more sleep disruptions. According to the National Sleep Foundation, too much alcohol can wake you up in the middle of the night. This happens because of the unstable levels of adenosine, a sleeping-inducing chemical. Right after consuming alcohol, the adenosine levels are very high: This is why we fall asleep pretty fast after a drinking night. However, the adenosine then suddenly crashes, waking us up. Additionally, binge-drinking (consuming a large amount of alcohol very quickly) can be particularly harmful to sleep quality. Some studies have demonstrated that people who take part in binge-drinking on a weekly basis are more likely to have difficulties in falling and staying asleep. If you decide to go for a dry January, you’ll get better rest, which means that you will store more energy to fully live your day.
4. You will lose weight
Alcohol has a lot of calories and most cocktails contain a large amount of sugar. But liquid calories don’t give us the sense of satiety that food does, which means that we might keep ingesting calories without even realizing it. Additionally, when we are under the influence of alcohol, the majority of us will tend to consume more junk food and high-calorie snacks.
5. Your digestion will improve
Heavy drinking can cause serious damages to the pancreas, an organ which is responsible for digestion. The consumption of alcohol prevents the absorption of vitamins and nutrients in the small intestines, causing several digestive issues including nausea. All these negative digestive effects can be avoided when drinking is stopped.
6. How to accomplish dry January?
- Change your routine: Try to avoid that moment of the day when you’re alone with your glass. Fill your day with activities and stuff to do and do not give you time to think about alcohol.
- Involve your friends: Convince your close friends to start this detox with you. Make plans with them that do not involve alcohol.
- Find a substitute: Replace your daily glass of wine with an infusion, a tee, kombucha or simply water.
- Start practicing sport: No alcohol means more energy. Dry January is the perfect moment to start being more active and to join the gym.