- Cutting back on alcohol — or eliminating it — has many health benefits, including better sleep, improved heart health, lower risk of disease and illness, and improved mood and energy, among others.
- Increase your chances of success by substituting alcoholic beverages with these tasty non-alcoholic “mocktail” recipes – some of which double as sleep-inducing evening sips.
- Other tips to make a dry-ish month easier include sharing your goal with friends, planning ahead, and finding new hobbies or activities to occupy your time.
A new year is a perfect opportunity to set new wellness goals — whether it’s to move more, eat healthier, and cut back on drinking. These are among the most popular New Year’s resolutions for a reason: feeling healthy feels good!
In particular, the goal of giving up (or cutting back on) booze has gained steam in recent years. “Dry January started with 4,000 people in the UK as a national campaign about 10 years ago,” explains Hilary Sheinbaum, journalist and author of The Dry Challenge: How to Lose the Booze for Dry January, Sober October, and Any Other Alcohol-Free Month. “Now, it’s something that almost 1 in 5 people in the U.S. regularly participate in, and more people are leaning into drinking less year-round.”
The benefits are well-founded, too: One study found that people who completed Dry January reported higher physical and psychological well-being and felt more in control over their drinking habits. Another study found people who tried one month alcohol-free experienced better sleep and weight loss – even if they were unsuccessful in completing the entire month!
LEARN MORE: How Does Alcohol Impact Oura Members?
Sheinbaum, who is undertaking her 8th (!) Dry January, confirms: “When I did my first Dry January challenge in 2017, I went from sleeping 4 to 5 hours a night to sleeping 7 to 8 hours! I also was in a better mood and saved money.”
|Member Tip: Conduct your own self-experiment to see how your sleep is impacted by alcohol. Tag whenever you drink alcohol, and use Trends view to compare it to days that you don’t. You can even compare a “wet January” with a dry January if you’ve been using Oura for a year or more.
The Benefits of Switching To Alcohol-Free Beverages
Plenty of research has shown that cutting down (or eliminating) alcohol benefits your mental and physical health. Switching to an alcohol-free alternative can make it easier to do that, because:
- It can make it easier to socialize – there’s less social pressure and room for questions if you already have a drink in your hand!
- You can still fulfill your daily rituals, like “having a drink” after work or with dinner
- Non-alcoholic mocktails, zero-alcohol beer, and other alcohol-free beverages taste great – there are an increasing amount of amazing drinks on the market.
- You won’t feel like you’re missing out – It can trigger FOMO when your friends are ordering a cocktail, drinking a mocktail can help you still feel included.
- Plus, alcohol-free beverages can have additional benefits. “I’ve recently been mixing a drink called Olipop into my mocktail recipes because it contains prebiotics!” says Sheinbaum. The mocktail recipes below have added benefits like helping you sleep better or boosting immunity – so enjoy!
7 Non-Alcoholic Drink Ideas
The following recipes are sourced from Sheinbaum and Melatonin: The Natural Supplement for Better Sleep, written by Locke Hughes, Oura’s health content editor.
1. Tart Cherry-Lime Soda
“I’ve seen a version of this drink called the ‘Sleepy Girl Mocktail’ on TikTok, which is the perfect description since tart cherry juice is scientifically proven to help you sleep better! Plus, making your own simple syrup reduces the sugar you need, creating a balanced drink that’s not overly sweet.” — Hughes
- 2 cups tart cherry juice
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- Seltzer water
- Lime wedges
Combine the cherry juice, sugar, lime zest and juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower heat to simmer. Let mixture thicken slightly, 15-20 minutes. Pour the syrup into a glass jar or bottle and let cool to room temperature.
Pour 1 tablespoon of the syrup into a highball glass. Fill the glass with ice, then top with seltzer water and a lime wedge. Drink immediately.
Store extra syrup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
2. French ’89
“A twist on the classic French 75, I make the French ‘89 (yes, I named it after Taylor Swift) to wow friends and party guests. P.S. As she just told Time Magazine, Taylor Swift didn’t drink on the Eras Tour!” – Sheinbaum
- 1 ounce Damrak 0.0 Gin
- 1/4 ounce simple syrup
- 1/4 ounce lemon juice
- 3 oz. chilled alcohol-removed sparkling white wine
- Lemon peel
Add all ingredients together in a glass and stir. Garnish with lemon peel.
3. Orange Tonic
“There are two ways to make this tasty drink, depending on the time of day. You can use chamomile tea to help you fall asleep at night, or go for lemon tea to give you a boost of energy during the day.” – Hughes
- 2 chamomile tea bags
- Juice from 2 oranges
- ¼ cup carrot juice
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- Lemon slices
Bring ½ cup of water to a boil. Pour into a large liquid measuring cup or pitcher with the chamomile tea bags and steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and let cool completely in the refrigerator, for at least 2 hours.
When tea is cooled, whisk in orange juice, carrot juice, and ginger.
Fill two highball glasses with ice. Divide tea mixture between glasses and top with a float of seltzer. Garnish with lemon slices and drink immediately.
4. A Celebratory Spritz
“For a celebratory occasion, I recommend Giesen 0% Sparkling Brut. This brand offers a full range of non-alcoholic wines, including rosé, riesling, pinot grigio, and sauvignon blanc. This recipe is essentially a mock Aperol Spritz, which is delicious any time of year, but especially on a warm day.” – Sheinbaum
- 1 ounce seltzer water
- 2 ounces Free Spirits: The Spirit of Milano
- 3 ounces Giesen 0% Sparkling Brut
- Orange peel
Add all ingredients into a glass in order of listed ingredients and stir. Garnish with an orange peel.
5. Paloma AF
“Everyone loves a refreshing Paloma, and this one is AF – alcohol-free! If you are a cocktail connoisseur, it’s all about the FLUÉRE Smoked Agave.” – Sheinbaum
- 1 part FLUÉRE Smoked Agave
- 1 part fresh grapefruit juice
- Seltzer water
Stir Smoked Agave and grapefruit juice together. Add a splash of seltzer water and a squeeze of lime. Garnish with lime wedge.
6. Winter Warmer Tea
“This immune-boosting tea is the perfect after-dinner drink, sans alcohol. With freshly grated ginger and soothing honey, this enhanced chamomile tea keeps you warm while helping you sleep more soundly.” – Hughes
- 2 chamomile tea bags
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 2 teaspoons honey
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Divide the water between two mugs with chamomile tea bags and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and set aside to cool slightly.=
In a small bowl, combine the ginger, lemon juice and zest, and honey. Stir half of the mixture into each mug. Drink immediately.
7. Iced Minty Passion Fruit Cooler
“This caffeine-free combines the sweetness of passion fruit with a refreshing hit of mint. It’s an alcohol-free take on a classic tropical cocktail, transporting you to the islands, even in the dead of winter!” – Hughes
- 2 bags peppermint tea
- 2 bags passion fruit tea
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2 tablespoons honey
Bring 4 cups of water to boil. Pour into a large liquid measuring cup or pitcher with the peppermint and passion fruit tea bags and steep for 5 minutes. Remove passion fruit tea bags and steep for another 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to the refrigerator and cool for at least 2 hours.
After mixture has cooled, stir in the lemon juice and honey. Serve in highball glasses over ice, option to add in passion fruit for decoration.
RELATED: How Alcohol Impacts Your Sleep
3 Additional Tips to Stay Dry This January
1. Share your goal with your friends.
Whether it’s a long-term plan or a month-long goal, telling your friends about it can help to absolve any awkwardness or social pressure when you deny a drink on a night out.
“A lot of my friends would ask me what the point of one-month sober was,” says Sheinbaum. “Some would pressure me to drink, but years later, they were asking me for Dry January advice!”
|Member Tip: Create an Oura Circle with friends who are also doing Dry January. You’ll be able to see their high-level daily Oura Scores to cheer on their successes and keep each other accountable.
2. Plan ahead and envision your success.
Research shows that people tend to get better results when they envision their success. Being optimistic, combined with a clear plan, can be a great path to success.
“If you’re attending a party, bring a non-alcoholic alternative and come prepared with how you’re going to respond to anticipated questions,” Sheinbaum says. “That way, it’s less stressful and easier to navigate.”
3. Try out new social activities and hobbies.
“Your friendships may change, particularly if you’re used to grabbing drinks or going to a bar together,” says Sheinbaum. “Try new things with friends, like working out together, coffee, museums, ice skating, art classes, or going on walks.”
You might find that taking alcohol out of the equation helps you create more meaningful connections, and find new fun hobbies. “I just ran the New York Marathon – my 3am party days have been replaced!” says Sheinbaum.
|Member Story: Oura member Gemma R. gave up alcohol after a January challenge, and enjoyed seeing the improvements in her Oura data – including a drop in her resting heart rate from 90 bpm to 55 bpm.