How to Create a Healthy Evening Routine, Without Alcohol

by | Apr 17, 2024 | Addiction, Alcohol, Substance Abuse, Well-being | 0 comments

Having a serene evening routine helps us achieve a good night’s sleep and a healthier mindset for the following day. We are used to moving at lightning speed as a society, and winding down can often seem like a challenge. For this reason, amongst others, many people end up turning to a glass of wine or a nightcap to relax. This common, seemingly harmless habit will disrupt sleep and negatively impact your health. In this blog, we will explore healthier alternatives that will allow you to wind down and develop an evening routine that nourishes both the mind and body.

The Impact of Alcohol on Sleep

The initial sedative effect of alcohol is wildly misleading. While it may hasten sleep onset, it severely disrupts the sleep cycle, particularly the Rapid Eye Movement, or REM, stage. Without adequate REM, we wake up feeling groggy, despite seemingly sleeping enough hours. Alcohol’s diuretic properties also lead to frequent awakenings due to the need to urinate. Over time, reliance on alcohol for sleep will exacerbate sleep disorders and create a dependency that’s extremely hard to break. For this reason, it’s so important to understand that alcohol is more of a hindrance than a help in achieving restful sleep.

Elements of a Healthy Evening Routine

Leaving alcohol off the table is just one helpful component when it comes to creating a healthy evening routine. Below are some other areas to consider:

  • Dinner Choices: Though it might be tempting to reach for bread or pasta after work, try to opt for a light, nutritious meal in the evening. Foods that are heavy or rich can cause discomfort and ultimately disrupt sleep. Incorporating foods rich in tryptophan, magnesium, and calcium, like yogurt, almonds, and bananas, will also help to promote better sleep.
  • Physical Activity: Light exercise, like walking, gentle stretching, or yoga, is incredibly beneficial to add to your evening routine. It helps release the physical tension of the day and signals to your body that it’s time to start winding down.
  • Winding Down and Relaxation: Incorporating relaxing practices like meditation or even journaling can help calm a racing mind and prepare your body for sleep. It also allows you to get your thoughts down, so that they can be released.
Creating a Routine That Works for You

Your evening routine should reflect your personal needs and lifestyle, as there is no one-size-fits-all. For instance, if you’re a night owl, your routine might start later but should still include activities that help you unwind and signal to your body that it’s time to rest. Consistency is really the most important aspect. Find a pattern that you can adhere to every night, without fail. The goal is to relax and prepare your body and mind for a good night’s sleep, so it should be one that you look forward to and enjoy.

Alternative Wind-Down Methods

Instead of alcohol, consider healthier alternatives like herbal teas – chamomile or valerian root are excellent choices known for their sleep-inducing properties. Taking advantage of a tech-free hour before bed is also beneficial as it helps reduce exposure to blue light, which will disrupt your circadian rhythm. Other relaxation techniques, like listening to calming music, reading a book, or using aromatherapy with scents like lavender or sandalwood, are also very effective.

Final Thoughts

Developing a healthy evening routine involves experimentation and consistency. You want to be able to create a routine that is enjoyable and sustainable. By replacing the habit of using alcohol with more wholesome practices, you make way for better sleep and a healthier mindset. The goal is to create a routine that feels right for you and leads to a healthier self.

We Can Help!

MHThrive provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit to learn more.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any mental health or substance abuse issues, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

Online Treatment Programs provides Teletherapy Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs allowing participants to receive intensive therapy with our licensed therapists and psychiatrists without having to leave home.  If you or someone you know is struggling to overcome depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, trauma, panic attacks, PTSD, alcoholism, drug abuse, or other mental health or addiction issues, we can help.  To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our teletherapy programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.


Keywords: Evening routine; Alcohol-free; Healthier alternatives; Winding down routine


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