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Sleep, mood and savings are benefits in taking on a dry January, say experts

Sleep, mood and savings are benefits in taking on a dry January, say experts
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Better sleep, an elevated mood and more money in your pocket are just some benefits of starting the new year alcohol-free, according to a dry January advocate.

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Dry Challenge author Hilary Sheinbaum says the concept isn’t always so easy in practice but year over year, it could reduce habits for a heavy drinker looking to cut down.

“Eight years into my dry January experience, I barely drink anymore,” Sheinbaum boasts.

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“It wasn’t always that way … it’s definitely been an evolution.”

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) researcher Dr. Peter Selby says depending on how much one drinks, the immediate health benefit to taking a month off is an improvement in mood, since alcohol is a known depressant.

“It may (temporarily) numb your emotions, but over time it makes you more depressed,” Selby explained.

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“Clearly, we see depression lifting and also we see improvement in sleep over time.”


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He goes on to say blood pressure typically returns to normal levels over a few weeks with long-term effects potentially reducing ailments tied to the liver and pancreas.

Less drinking could also decrease cancer risks.

“People don’t realize that actually alcohol by itself is a class one carcinogen, which means it is associated with and can cause cancer,” Selby said.

“But quitting for a month will not reduce your cancer risk unless you maintain sobriety after that.”

Sheinbaum says the savings part comes by not having to spend on those “very pricey” cocktails.

Recruiting a friend is the best way to start, according to the author, particularly a partner one can have outings with that don’t involve going to the bar and drinking.

Non-alcoholic beverages can also play a part since so many reputable alcohol manufacturers are also offering such options in the form of beer, wines and spirits.

Sarah Kate, founder of Some Good Clean Fun, says a night with friends doesn’t have to be one with just soda pop.

She says innovation has been “really pushing the boundaries” with many notable Canadian brewers now having a non-alcoholic beer brand that “actually tastes good.”

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“There’s a Canadian brand, Libra, and they just they make a hazy IPA that’s just the bomb,” according to Kate.

“And there’s all these great breweries out in the West Coast in Vancouver and Victoria that are making one-off nonalcoholic IPAs.”

Kate says even tequila can come without alcohol, like Lyre’s Agave Blanco and Monday Mezcal which can give a burn through chili peppers and not alcohol.

Sheinbaum also recommends “dry dating” which she says not only shows what a potential partner enjoys outside of work and drinking but keeps “red flags” from being blurred during a first meeting.

“I think that there are other opportunities to really bond with someone over the things that you enjoy. So I definitely recommend it,” she suggests.

“I personally just got engaged so I can attest that it works.”

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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