Over the past few years, the health challenge known as “Dry January” has continued to gain popularity. Often used as a way to reset following a busy holiday season, Dry January is when participants abstain from alcohol for the entire month of January. Through this challenge, research has shown that those who participate in Dry January can experience several positive health benefits. In fact, according to a University of Sussex study, nearly 75% of people who took part in the challenge reported better sleep and improved energy levels, and more than half of the participants lost weight throughout the month. In this blog, we wanted to take this research and explain how Dry January can benefit your health. 

Better Sleep

As we previously mentioned, one of the most noticeable benefits of taking part in Dry January is improved sleep quality. Studies have shown that having as little as one alcoholic beverage can disrupt your REM sleep. REM sleep is known as your deepest level of sleep, so when this is inhibited by alcohol, your body’s ability to achieve accurate sleep is limited. From an orthopedic standpoint, sleep is essential when recovering from an injury since the body can most effectively repair itself at rest. Without alcohol, your body can maximize its rest potential, leading to better sustained energy throughout the day. More energy lets you get the most out of your workout, sport, or activity and helps you stay motivated.

Mental Clarity

The REM cycle is imperative for optimal sleep and is thought to play a role in memory consolidation. This helps to explain why you may feel foggy-brained after indulging in alcohol the night before. Abstaining from alcohol coupled with better sleep helps to create an increase in mental clarity, which can help you stay sharp and alert. Staying vigilant allows for increased focus and can also help you avoid injuries from tripping or other hazards. 

Weight Loss

As reported by the University of Sussex study, the majority of people who took part in Dry January lost weight, making it an easy way to start slimming down in 2024. Many people hoping to improve their orthopedic health in the New Year typically start with common goals relating to exercise and weight loss. While activity is essential in strengthening the bones and muscles, watching your calorie consumption is also vital to losing weight. Not only is it important to choose healthy foods, but by avoiding the empty calories in alcohol, you can also drop off the extra pounds. Maintaining a healthy weight is key to orthopedic health, so participating in Dry January may serve as a great way to help jumpstart your weight loss goals.

Strengthened Immune System

The winter months typically see the highest levels of sickness, which means that keeping your immune system healthy is crucial to staying on track. Practicing healthy habits, whether it’s working out, eating well, getting adequate sleep, or avoiding alcohol, can all help boost your immune system. Getting into a healthy routine can help support a healthier spine, which in turn helps boost your immunity. Staying healthy doesn’t just mean that you never have to miss a workout due to sickness; it is also a fundamental part of maintaining your orthopedic health. At the end of the day, all of our bodily systems are interconnected, meaning that our orthopedic health can also reap the health benefits associated with participating in Dry January.

Learn More With South Shore Orthopedics

Minimizing your alcohol intake can provide health benefits for various systems in your body, including your orthopedic health. For more orthopedic resources, check out our website. Our team is here to help you maintain your orthopedic health throughout 2024. For more personalized recommendations on what you can do to improve or treat chronic pain, injuries, arthritis, and more, make an appointment today.