Study shows long list of benefits of doing Dry January

Over the past several years, "Dry January" has risen in popularity. But why? Some may abstain from drinking in order to improve their health, while others may try it out as a way to save money. However, with more research, the list of benefits proves to be pretty lengthy.

According to a study done by the University of Sussex, cutting booze out for just 31 days improved participants energy, sleeping habits, relationship with alcohol and more. They also found that participants continued to drink less alcohol throughout the rest of the year. 

"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," Dr Richard de Visser, psychologist and leader of the study said. "There are also considerable immediate benefits: nine in 10 people save money, seven in 10 sleep better and three in five lose weight." 

Benefits of "Dry January," according to University of Sussex study
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Benefits of "Dry January," according to University of Sussex study

Feel accomplished 

In a study done by University of Sussex on "Dry January," 93 percent of participants who finished Dry January felt a strong sense of achievement.

Save Money

Drinking isn't cheap — 88 percent of participants saved money by staying sober for the month.

Feel more in control of your relationship with drinking

The study showed that 82 percent of participants thought more deeply about their relationship with drinking, including 76 percent who observed when and why they drink. Eighty percent of participants felt more in-control of their drinking habits.

Nonetheless, when finished with the month, 71 percent realized that they didn't need to rely on alcohol to have fun. 

Improve general health

The study showed that 70 percent of participants had generally improved their health. 

Sleep better

Seventy-one percent of people reported getting a better night's sleep without drinking. Makes sense — alcohol has been found to mess with your body’s circadian rhythms.

Have more energy

When not drinking, 67 percent of participants said they felt they had more energy. 

Lose weight

In the study, 58 percent of participants lost weight. 

Not only is alcohol high in calories, but feeling hungover will also probably make you feel like eating greasy food and skipping the gym. 

Improve concentration

Fifty-seven percent of participants had better concentration than when they were drinking. 

Improve skin 

By not drinking, 57 percent had better skin.  


For those participants who weren't able to stay completely alcohol-free over 31 days, but still toned down their consumption, de Visser reported that they also seemed to drink less in the future. (However, benefits were still higher in those that were totally sober.) 

Keep in mind, this study was conducted with Alcohol Change UK, the charity that founded the "Dry January" campaign and movement back in 2013. Their goal was and still is to change the way people think about and drink alcohol in order to improve their health. 

SEE MORE: 11 delicious drinks to enjoy during Dry January

According to Dr. Richard Piper, the CEO of Alcohol Change UK, "Dry January" doesn't even have to be completed in the first month of the year. Say you're celebrating your birthday this month and you're not ready to skip the champagne — start your month-long sobriety after.

"Being alcohol-free for 31 days shows us that we don't need alcohol to have fun, to relax, to socialize. That means that for the rest of the year we are better able to make decisions about our drinking, and to avoid slipping into drinking more than we really want to," he said.

Check out the full list of benefits found in the study on "Dry January" above.

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