If you are like me, life is hectic and sometimes it is hard to sleep. Well, drink a beer. There is more evidence that beer is healthy. I know that is a relief for many of you!
A study in PLoS ONE (2012) did a study on the effects of non-alcoholic beer in female nurses. They wanted to know how it affected their sleep. Specifically, they wanted to see if hops helped to regulate sleep better.
It ends up that hops help regulate sleep patterns, especially when taken with valerian (Valeriana officinalis). That is one case where drinking beer with your medicine is a good thing.
A bottle of beer makes the medicine go down
Hops in beer and valerian work together to increase alpha wave activity in the brain. Alpha waves are responsible for relaxation to that is a good thing.
The study finds that, " health professionals experiencing a considerable amount of work stress showed that, even though there was no increase in the length of repose (academic for sleep and rest) in bed, there was a clear improvement in the quality of night-time sleep after the ingestion of beer at the end of the day This is illustrated by the reduction in sleep latency and the notable reduction in nocturnal mobility, thereby achieving restful sleep which was reflected in decreased anxiety." That sounds like a good reason to drink beer to me.
The biggest problem with other studies, which did show a positive affect on sleep cycles, was the amount of hops given to the rats in the study. The PLoSONE study took that into account. The study used the recommended amount of beer consumption by several scientific studies as the baseline. This was 1/3 liter or about 11 oz per day. Close enough to the American 12 oz to not really make that much of a difference.
The amount of hops in an average beer, and I assume they mean fizzy yellow beer from a major corporation, is 0.3 percent. That means you two 12 oz beers, on average, will contain about 2 grams of hops. Yes, I know you hop-heads that like the hop water will get a lot more than that, but the research actually shows that you can overdose on hops. Not in the same way as hops cousin Cannibus, but you still risk narcosis and that ain't good. So, even though I say it all the time, moderation is good. Just don't drink 10 imperial IPA's with 100 IBU's daily and you might just be OK (I am not a doctor so I can't tell you anything like that).
So, if you need some help sleeping, consider a beer or two at night. Along with the other positive benefits like improving cardiovascular health and anticancerigenic properties (also known as cancer fighting).
Again, I am not a doctor. Don't take this as medical advice. I have done my best to translate academic research into English, but if I screwed something up, it is because I am drinking so don't blame me (I have no money for you lawyers to get anyway).
Franco, L., Sánchez, C., Bravo, R., Rodríguez, A. B., Barriga, C., Romero, E., & Cubero, J. (2012). The Sedative Effect of Non-Alcoholic Beer in Healthy Female Nurses. Plos ONE, 7(7), 1-6. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037290