Did you know, having more than five drinks a week on average can take years off a person’s life? According to research from Massachusetts General Hospital, drinking to excess increased by 21% in the U.S. during the pandemic. Because people tend to use alcohol to escape hard feelings, this makes total sense to us. But research also shows that cutting out alcohol for even a month can make a noticeable difference in your health. According to an article from Harvard Health, "Regular drinkers who abstained from alcohol for 30 days slept better, had more energy, and lost weight, according to a study in BMJ Open. They also lowered their blood pressure and cholesterol levels and reduced cancer-related proteins in their blood."
The Benefits of Damp or Dry January
You'll probably see an improvement in your mood.
When people first stop drinking, they often see a significant improvement in their mood and mental health. Although alcohol makes you feel good at the moment, it is a depressant. Most people experience a major boomerang effect the next day, often referred to as "hangxiety" when you wake up the next morning with depression, anxiety, and a looming sense of dread. Giving our brains and bodies a break from the depressive effects of alcohol, even just for 30 days, can significantly improve our mood and mental health.
You will sleep better and have more energy.
Even though we tend to fall asleep faster after a few drinks, alcohol interrupts our ability to reach the deepest levels of sleep (aka REM sleep), which is the most important type of sleep. REM sleep plays a particularly important role in dreaming, memory, emotional processing, and healthy brain development.
You will see an improvement in your vocal health.
Did you know that drinking less can improve your vocal health? Alcohol causes dehydration, decreases our ability to utilize our vocal training, causes us to abuse our vocal folds, increase acid reflux, and increases the likelihood of cancers of the pharynx, larynx, mouth, and esophagus.
Tips for a Successful Damp or Dry January
Find a substitute non-alcoholic drink. For social situations, or when you crave a cocktail after a long day, reach for alcohol-free beverages like sparkling water, soda, or a mocktail.
Avoid temptations. Keep alcohol out of your house. When you are invited to someone’s home, bring your non-alcoholic drinks with you.
Create a support group or join one. Let friends and family know about your intentions and encourage them to keep you accountable. Better yet, enlist someone to do the challenge with you.
Try a sobriety app. There are free apps that help you track your drinking, set personal goals, and offers motivational information like calories and money saved from not drinking.
So, are you in for damp or dry January?
January is a great time to examine our relationship with alcohol and other substances. We've partnered with Three Magnets Brewing all month long to support you on your sober curious journey. We've created a limited edition non-alcoholic beer benefiting SMASH featuring four local performers, Shaina Shepherd, Josiah Johnson, Jessica Dobson, and Corin Tucker, from our SMASH Benefit Tribute to David Bowie. Bubble Glam took influence from the Michael Moebius David Bowie Bubble Gum print and was brewed with bubble gum flavor (in moderation) and, in true glam-rock fashion, food-grade glitter!