Dry January and it’s benefits for our Mental Health
What is Dry January?
Dry January is a campaign created to compensate for the ‘binge-drinking’ increase we see over the festive period. It challenges people to participate in one-month of sobriety, whilst outlining the long-term effects abstaining for the month can have. Researchers show that 7 out of 10 people reported drinking less six months after the challenge finished (de Visser, Robinson & Bond, 2016).
What are the benefits?
Giving your body a break from alcohol for January inherently seems like it would have a positive effect, but many of us are unaware about how many different benefits it has. Physical health improvements from drinking less are the advantages we tend to hear about, which include losing weight, better skin and feeling less lethargic.
However, the benefits for our mental health are important to consider. Whilst drinking may alleviate our feelings of anxiety or depression in the short-term, it can disrupt brain and body functioning in the long-term.
Research suggests that alcohol can interfere with your mood stability through its depletion of the brain’s serotonin levels, which means that abstaining from drinking is associated with improving your mood (Lovinger, 1997).
Drinking can also disrupt your sleeping patterns, which can impact our energy levels, attention and anxiety levels. Inadequate sleep has been linked to frequent mental distress, depressive symptoms and anxiety (Strine & Chapman, 2005); suggesting any factor affecting sleep will in turn effect our mental health.
By having a month off, we are encouraged to think about our drinking. This can lead us to make healthier and happier decisions in relation to alcohol all year round and promote mental wellbeing.
If you feel as though you have issues with your alcohol consumption, or if you have any other mental wellbeing concerns, please contact us via our enquiry form or call 01483 917000. The Eaves has fully qualified practitioners with immediate availability to help.
de Visser, R. O., Robinson, E., & Bond, R. (2016). Voluntary temporary abstinence from alcohol during “Dry January” and subsequent alcohol use. Health Psychology, 35(3), 281.
Lovinger, D. M. (1997). Serotonin’s role in alcohol’s effects on the brain. Alcohol health and research world, 21, 114-119.
Strine, T. W., & Chapman, D. P. (2005). Associations of frequent sleep insufficiency with health-related quality of life and health behaviors. Sleep medicine, 6(1), 23-27.