What happens to your body when you give up alcohol for a month

Going alcohol-free for a month is easier said than done

Sabrina Barr
Saturday 30 December 2023 15:01 GMT
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Giving up alcohol for January can have both a positive and negative effect on your body, an expert has shared.

While there are obvious benefits associated with avoiding alcohol, such as a reduced risk of developing cancer and liver disease later in life, Dry January can also have a surprising detrimental impact on your body.

Dr Preethi Daniel from the London Doctors Clinic has explained what happens to your body during Dry January after the indulgence of the Christmas period.

For the first few days of the month, you may experience an inability to sleep soundly and some slight dehydration.

This could be a sign that your body is going through withdrawal from alcohol dependency.

Additional extreme symptoms of this may include restlessness, tremors, nausea, sweating and anxiety.

However, there’s no doubt that reducing your alcohol intake or avoiding alcohol altogether can do a whole lot of good for your overall wellbeing.

Having enjoyed many a glass of bubbly over Christmas and New Year’s, your liver could be in need of a few weeks’ rest.

Your liver generally needs around four to six weeks of recovery following a heavy bout of drinking, so giving Dry January a go could be an ideal way of keeping your health in check.

You’ll also notice your sleeping pattern improve in the long run.

After a few days of restless sleep at the beginning of Dry January, by day seven you’ll likely have found yourself sleeping far more peacefully.

This means that you’ll also start waking up with far more energy the next morning, ready to take on the day.

Another aspect of your body that’s affected by your alcohol consumption is your appearance.

As the days go by, your skin will appear more radiant and your eyes will look brighter.

This is because the majority of the calories entering your body will come from food as opposed to alcohol, thus increasing your vitamin intake.

Last but not least, giving up alcohol will give your immune system the boost it needs to stave off the pesky common cold that’s going around.

Of course, completing Dry January is far easier said than done.

With that in mind, Dr Daniel has also provided some tips for participating in the alcohol-free month as healthily as possible.

Make sure that you’re drinking lots of fluids to keep your body hydrated, drinking a glass of water before bed to ensure that you feel refreshed in the morning.

Eating regular, nutritious meals will help keep your cravings at bay, as will drinking alternative drinks such as lemon-infused beverages.

This article was originally published in 2018.

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