Non-Alcoholic Beer May Help You Fall Asleep Faster
It’s not the alcohol, it’s the hops…
Posted Jul 23, 2012
A group of Spanish researchers studied 17 healthy nurses working rotating or night shifts. During a 14-day period, the nurses drank one 12-ounce bottle of non-alcoholic beer with dinner and had their sleep quality assessed with an actigraphy, a motion sensor used to analyze sleep. The nurses also completed a standardized questionnaire assessing their anxiety levels. The data were compared to those obtained prior to the study period.
The researchers found that drinking the non-alcoholic beer reduced the time it took the women to fall asleep and reduced the amount they moved about (or “tossed and turned”) while asleep. During the study period, the women’s anxiety levels were also noted to decrease.
Remember: all of this happened DESPITE the fact that the women’s beer contained no alcohol. The secret, apparently, lies in the hops. A major ingredient of beer, hops act on the central nervous system by increasing the levels of GABA, a known inhibitory neurotransmitter.
While alcohol certainly does make you sleepy, it often results in fragmented sleep in the second half of the night as its effect wears off. It can also make your breathing more labored, and worsen obstructive sleep apnea. So perhaps non-alcoholic beer is indeed a solution for better sleep (though try not to overdo it, or you’ll find yourself waking up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night!).
Dennis Rosen, M.D.
Help your child get a great night's sleep with Successful Sleep Strategies for Kids (a Harvard Medical School Guide)