If you've been doing a Sober October or are considering a Dry January after Christmas, you can give yourself a little pat on the back right now.

A new study has found that refraining from alcohol for just one month could have huge health benefits – and not just in the short term.

Adults who removed alcohol from their diet for four weeks saw improved liver function, a lowering of blood pressure and a drop in cholesterol levels, according to research from University College London.

They also reduced their risk of developing diabetes and liver disease, two illnesses which are both often linked to alcohol and sugar-heavy lifestyles.

Of course, cutting out cocktails and cider for a month has short-term perks too – participants noted weight loss, better sleeping patters and improved focus. 

Of the 102 adults studied, the women had been taking in an average of 29 units of alcohol a week, while the men had been having an average of 31 – both almost doubt the recommended weekly amounts for Irish adults.

Considering cutting out alcohol for a while?  A good start is to reduce your weekly alcohol intake by having a glass of water between each drink and making a note of how many units you generally consume on a night out.

If you're not sure how many units are in your favourite drinks, here's a guideline. 

1 pint of beer = 2 standard units


1 pub measure of spirits (gin, vodka, whiskey, rum etc) = 1 unit


1 pint of cider = 2 units


1 small glass of wine = 1 unit


1 bottle of wine = 8 units


1 4% alcopop (small bottle) = 1 unit