There are health benefits to giving up alcohol for one month a year

April 15, 2019

Dean Martin and Foster Brooks had successful Las Vegas nightclub careers based on characters who were fun-loving drunks. Once people sobered up and realized that a drunk wasn’t something to laugh at, those characters were retired. Now, it seems sobriety is all the rage, at least for the month of January in the U.K.

The charitable group Alcohol Change U.K. started Dry January, which is an initiative to get people to give up alcohol for the first month of the year.

People all around the world have taken part in it. Researchers from the University of Sussex have found that the health benefits of abstaining for a month are far-reaching.

A three-times-a-year survey of 2,500 people who took part in Dry January found that everyone who took the challenge reported higher energy levels and healthier body weights.

Participants reduced their average number of drinking days throughout the year from 4.3 to 3.3 days per week.

On days when they did drink, consumption was down more than 10%. They also reduced excessive drinking

by more than 30%. Ninety percent of participants reported that they saved money, 80% felt more in control of their drinking habits and 70% reported better overall health and improved sleep.

Interestingly, the benefits from Dry January extended, although to a lesser degree, to those who didn’t make it through the whole month. So just giving it a try can boost your health. Don’t wait until next January. Test it out in any month in the ol’ USA.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.