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Hops are the insomnia cure you’ve been hoping for

It's not really a secret that alcohol can help you sleep. Unfortunately, it's hardly a reliable long term solution to insomnia - first of all, you don't get quality sleep when it's induced by alcohol, and secondly your liver certainly won't be thanking you.

Don't lose hope just yet, though; as the Irish Times reports, hops can promote sleep even when not in beer form.

Apparently, a substance called lupulin was extracted from hops back in 1813. In 1983 a substance was purified from lupulin and acted as a sedative in animal studies. In a later scientific trial, those taking a mix of valerian and hops took less time to fall asleep than those taking valerian alone. Unfortunately, future studies showed inconsistent reports.

That being said, in a 2010 study, test subjects (who were all chronic insomniacs) were given hops alone to see how their sleep would be affected. An impressive 60% of the test subjects experienced improved sleep quality compared to those taking just a placebo.

If you don't indulge in a round of real ale from time to time, the report mentions that a pillow filled with hops may be sufficient to help you fall asleep. Here's to more research in this promising area.


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Last updated: October 2, 2010

This Article Was Written By

Martin Reed

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  • A. Marina Fournier
    November 15, 2010, 10:44 pm

    I am one of those who loathe hops–can’t stand the smell or taste. They’re pretty, though.

  • Martin Reed
    October 5, 2010, 2:09 am

    I think aromatherapy is all too often overlooked. I have actually written before about a study that found scientific proof for aromatherapy.

    It’s definitely something that insomniacs should try.

  • MorgansDead
    October 2, 2010, 2:21 am

    Glad you pointed out that alcohol isn’t a long term solution. However, this is the first I’ve heard of hops as a help. The only plant that I’ve heard of as some sort of aid is chamomile and lavender. It’s always good to see another option for aromatherapy treatments for insomnia