Alternatives to drinking alcohol to relax

For many a glass of alcohol at the end of the day is something they do because they want to feel more relaxed. Drinking alcohol is a common and socially acceptable way in Australia to relax at the end of a day but does it actually work?

Does drinking alcohol help you relax?

The sense of relaxation you feel when you drink alcohol can be attributed to your blood alcohol content (BAC). As blood alcohol content (BAC) rises when you have your first drink it leads to temporary feelings of relaxation with simultaneous decreases in fatigue, restlessness and tension. This very temporarily gives a feeling of relaxation and taking the edge off the end of a busy day.

Having more alcohol at this point actually doesn't increase feelings of relaxation. Once you reach a BAC of 0.05 and above you start to experience impaired judgement and movement, reduced inhibitions, unstable emotions [1] and other negative effects of alcohol.

And if you stop at just the one or two drinks of alcohol, you unfortunately don't escape the negative side effects of alcohol. As your BAC starts to fall feelings of increased in fatigue, confusion, and anxiety can start to set in. Often leaving you feeling worse than when you had your first drink of alcohol. The key reason you can experience anxiety after drinking alcohol is because it changes the chemical levels in your brain:

alcohol disrupts your neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins, it can give you euphoria. But when these chemicals recede, it can also give you anxiety and depression. Alcohol also stimulates the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter that slows down your brain—a neurotransmitter that many anxiety medications are made to increase.

With a lot of alcohol, your brain starts to block the glutamate neurotransmitter that’s been linked to anxiety, as well, which can feel good until your brain starts to rebalance its chemicals again. When it begins blocking GABA and releasing glutamate, you can go from feeling blissful to depressed. {source}


Those who are stressed often turn to a glass of wine or other form of alcohol to relax without realising the downside which will come once the alcohol starts to leave their system. Once this starts to happen, it negatively compounds their current emotional state.

So unfortunately, as much as we might like it too, alcohol does not help us relax in a healthy way.

Alternatives to drinking alcohol to relax

So what are some alternatives to drinking alcohol to relax then? Thankfully there are many drinks you can have that will help you relax without any negative side effects.

Adapt Drinks Relax

Alternatives to drinking alcohol to relax

Naturally our very own Adapt Drinks Relax is a perfect alternative drink to alcohol to help you relax and take the edge off a stressful day.  Adapt Drinks Relax has been carefully crafted to create a sense of calm, naturally. The adaptogenic herbs have powerful properties to help our bodies manage the stressors of modern life, and L-Theanine promotes relaxation without drowsiness. You can order your relaxing drinks here.

Herbal teas

Alternatives to drinking alcohol to relax - teas

There are many delicious herbal teas you can drink to help you relax:

  • Reishi mushroom tea - Reishi is an adaptogenic mushroom so this tea helps with relaxation in similar ways to the adaptogenic herbs contained in Adapt Drinks Relax. Reishi has been shown to help support the function of the adrenal glands. These secrete cortisol, which is a hormone that helps the body respond to stress. 
  • Ashwagandha tea - the powerful adaptogenic qualities of Ashwagandha root can also made to drink in form of a cup of tea. Ashwagandha has been shown to help cope with the stress of daily life and to enhance overall general well-being.
  • Matcha and green tea - both matcha and green tea can be a great switch for coffee during the day if you are feeling stressed and need to relax but still would like some caffeine. Unlike coffee, they provides a less jittery pick-me-up. This is due to their high concentration of flavonoids and L-theanine, which increases the brain’s alpha frequency band and produces relaxing effects by raising serotonin, GABA, and dopamine levels. Research suggests that L-theanine is especially helpful for high levels of stress and anxiety, increasing relaxation without causing drowsiness. These effects have even been found at doses given in a cup of tea. Adapt Drinks Relax contains 132mg of L-Theanine which is substantially more than the 25 mg of L-theanine you find in green tea.
  • Valerian root tea - this can be a great relaxing tea before bed to help you sleep. Researchers aren’t sure how valerian root works to ease insomnia and anxiety. They think it subtly increases the levels of a chemical known as gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA contributes to a calming effect in the body. [2]
  • Chamomile tea - chamomile tea has long been used to help create calm. One 2016 study found that long-term use of chamomile extract significantly reduced moderate to severe symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). However, it didn’t prevent future symptoms from occurring. [3]

Lavender Mint Tea Lemonade

Alternatives to drinking alcohol to relax - lavender lemonade

Lavender has been used since the medieval times for its calming and soothing effects. Research from 2010 [4] has shown that orally administrated lavender can assist with symptoms of restlessness and disturbed sleep. It has been shown to help with anxiety, as well as improve general well-being and quality of life.

This recipe for a delicious Lavender Mint Tea Lemonade would make a great relaxing drink for a hot afternoon.

Warm milk drinks

Alternatives to drinking alcohol to relax - warm milk drinks

We have all heard about drinking a warm glass of milk before bed to help us sleep but to date, there’s no reliable evidence suggesting that warm milk is better for sleep than cold milk. But there are several sleep-promoting nutrients in milk, such as tryptophan, magnesium, and melatonin. These components of milk increase melatonin production and relax nerves and muscles.

Warming the milk for many is associated with peace and relaxation, so it’s possible the warming part of the drink can have a placebo affect to help you relax more. Either hot or cold, this article has six great milk based drinks recipes you might like to check out.

So next time you feel the need for a relaxing drink, give the alcohol a miss and try one of these tasty alternatives. 

[1] What are the effects of alcohol?

[2] Valerian Root Dosage for Anxiety and Sleep

[3] Long-term chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) treatment for generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized clinical trial

[4] Efficacy and safety of silexan, a new, orally administered lavender oil preparation, in subthreshold anxiety disorder - evidence from clinical trials