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A ‘Sober September’ May Be Just What You Need for a Healthy Fall Season

Experts say there are physical and mental health benefits to not drinking for a month. Here’s some of them.


If your “rosé all day” attitude of summer has left you feeling less than rosy in the fall, you may be considering a drying out period. You’re not alone.

Thirty-day detox periods are gaining popularity as more individuals look for activities or goals that can help them reshape behaviors or drop bad habits altogether.

Sober September is one such challenge.

Like its start-of-year counterpart Dry January, Sober September takes the new season — or the restart to school and routines — as a chance to say “no” to sips of wine at dinner, beers at ballgames, or pints after your intramural practice.

In short, it’s a chance to dry out.

But how much impact can a brief period of sobriety really have on your overall health?

Quite a bit, it turns out.

What does the research say?

Several informal studies have looked specifically at the benefits of Dry January.

The results can be expected at any month you decide to take on the challenge, of course. January holds no magical drying-out powers.

In 2013, a team of magazine journalists tagged up with researchers at the Institute for Liver and Digestive Health at the University College London Medical School.

A total of 14 staff members from the magazine all underwent basic health exams and screenings. Then, 10 of the members were sober for 5 weeks. The remaining four drank as they normally would.

At the end of the study, the medical school’s researchers found that the 10 who had been sober had lower levels of fat on their livers (a precursor for liver damage), lower cholesterol, and improved blood sugar levels. They also reported better sleep and improved concentration.

The four who kept up their boozy habits did not report any benefits.

Another study from England found that participants in Dry January experienced benefits that went beyond the purely physical.

In the study from the University of Sussex, 82 percent of Dry January participants felt a sense of accomplishment, and 79 percent reported saving money.

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