How are your January resolutions going? If you pledged after the excesses of Christmas and new year to cut down on alcohol, you’re far from alone, but just what is Dry January - and how can it help you?
Dry January is an annual movement run by leading drink awareness organisation Alcohol Change UK, during which millions of people stop drinking for 31 days. Participants report seeing significant changes quickly to their health, including weight loss, clearer skin and improved sleep - as well as to their bank balance!
The benefits of cutting down on alcohol
According to Alcohol Change UK, one person dies every hour in the UK as a result of alcohol, including from liver disease, one of seven forms of cancer, mental health problems, economic difficulties and many more. And the impact isn’t only on the individual drinker, but also on their family and friends and the wider community.
If you’re thinking: ‘But it’s only for a month and then I’ll go back to my old ways, so what’s the point?’, the good news is that the benefits don’t last just while you’re taking part. It takes just three weeks to change key habits, so Dry January is the perfect chance to reset your relationship with alcohol in the longer term. It’s not about banning or denying yourself a drink, but pausing to think about your choices. According to a World Health Organisation audit, 72% of those taking up the Dry January challenge are still drinking less riskily six months later.
Although we’re into the second week of 2019, it’s never too late to begin - your 31 days can start from here! You can ask friends and family to sponsor you for your favourite charity as an incentive and get lots of help and support from the online community - just sign up today!
According to Alcohol Change UK:
- 24% of adults in England regularly drink more than the recommended level
- Alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for deaths, disability and ill-health among 15-49 year olds.
- In 2017, 20% of people reported drinking nothing at all, with consumption having fallen overall by around 16% since 2004
In November, new NHS statistics revealed that almost nine out of 10 adults in England are putting their health at risk, with just 13% leading a lifestyle with no risk factors. Drinking too much alcohol is one of five health markers determining risk, with others including being overweight and smoking.
Taking part in these risk behaviours leads to an increased chance of being diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease and cancer, as well as shortening life expectancy. Last year, TV presenter and broadcaster Adrian Chiles opened up about his alcohol intake, which sometimes included up to 100 units a week. The recommended level is no more than 14 units.
Alcohol Change UK is a leading drink awareness charity, formed from the merger of Alcohol Concern and Alcohol Research UK. If you’d like help cutting down on your drinking or you’re worried that someone close to you is drinking too much, visit the website’s help and support page for further advice and useful phone numbers.
Did you know that the healthier your lifestyle, the cheaper your health insurance? Premiums are often lower if you’re fit and healthy, while many health insurers offer rewards, such as free Fitbits and reduced gym membership, if you track your daily activity. To find the right policy to get your new year off to a flying start, speak to our team on 0800 862 0373.