Humulus lupulus, otherwise known as hops, is mostly commonly known for its use in brewing beer. Do I have your attention yet?
While it won’t make you drunk in supplemental form, this compound has some pretty impressive sedative qualities that can help you get a good night’s sleep.
In this article we will discuss what humulus lupulus is, benefits, the research, dosage, how to take it, side effects, and where to buy it.
Hops are the dried, flowering part of the hop plant. The compounds found in hops that help with sleep are sesquiterpenoids, diterpenoids, and triterpenoids, phytoestrogens, and the flavonoid xanthohumol.
While all these compounds sound thoroughly confusing, the main thing to know is they are remarkably effective at making you fall asleep (and stay asleep) fast when your head hits the pillow.
The benefits of hops are:
Let us briefly look at the research behind these benefits/claims
A 2017 study conducted by Kyrou et al. discovered that subjects who supplemented daily with hops for 4 weeks significantly decreased anxiety, depression, and stress scores compared to placebo.
In one small trial conducted by Franco and colleagues, 333mL of hops improved sleep quality in 17 people. Researchers found diminished sleep latency and activity pulses compared to placebo.
A 2006 rat study saw significant improvement in sleep time, reduced physical sleep movement, and decreased body temperature when given hops which all led to improved sleep quality.
Lastly, a 2012 study conducted by Franco involving quails (who have similar sleep/wake patterns to that of humans, found 2mg of hops extract daily was effective at preserving a normal circadian rhythm while also reducing night activity.
In three trials with over 250 people, researchers discovered the combination of hops and valerian root significantly reduced insomnia. Also, it was found that this combination was more effective than valerian alone. Let’s briefly look at each study.
In a double blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled sleep EEG study, researchers discovered that a single dose of hops extract and valerian increased time spent in sleep compared to placebo.
A 2007 sleep disorder study conducted by Koetter found that 120mg of hops and 500mg of valerian root extract significantly reduced sleep latency compared to placebo.
Lastly, a 2005 study involving 184 adults discovered that 187mg of valerian and 41.9mg of hops improved sleep latency, sleep efficiency, and reduced insomnia compared to placebo.
A 2006 study conducted by Schiller et al. found subjects who supplemented with hops 30-60 minutes before bedtime increased the ketamine-induced sleeping time and reduced body temperature, confirming a central sedating effect.
A 2005 pilot trial conducted by Lukaczer involving 54 subjects, discovered that supplementing daily with hops reduced pain and inflammation caused by arthritis and fibromyalgia. However, more studies are needed to confirm this potential benefit.
In a 2016 review article, the authors discovered that hops possess a strong spasmolytic effect on smooth muscle and thus are effective in conditions characterized by tension of visceral smooth muscles, including nervous colitis, nervous dyspepsia, palpitations, nervous or irritable coughs, and asthma[
The correct dosage of hops flower extract is 150-300mg at a 5:1 ratio of ethanolic extract.
30 minutes before bedtime on an empty stomach to promote sedation, relaxation, reduce anxiety, stress, and restlessness.
Hops work immediately upon ingestion but can take 30-60 minutes to experience the full effects of sedation.
As a whole, supplemental hops are very safe. However, there are a few conditions where taking hops may not be a good idea. These are:
If you have any of these conditions, please consult with your doctor first before taking hops.
Hops can be purchased online at Amazon or any reputable supplement store. However, please make sure it is dosed at the correct concentrations at a 5:1 ratio.
Additionally, hops can be found in EndurElite SleepElite X; a comprehensive sleep formula that improves sleep quantity and quality through the use of over 16 research proven compounds.
About the Author:
Matt Mosman (MS, CISSN, CSCS) is a research scientist, endurance athlete, and the founder and Chief Endurance Officer at EndurElite. Matt holds his B.S. in Exercise Science from Creighton University and his M.S. in Exercise Physiology from the University of California. Matt and his family reside in Spearfish South Dakota, where they enjoy running, mountain biking, camping, and all the outdoor adventures Spearfish has to offer.