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Why does beer make me sleepy?

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Whenever I drink a beer, I get so sleepy that I can barely keep my eyes open. Is it the hops? It can't be the just alcohol - wine and vodka don't make me sleepy like beer.

Has anyone else noticed this effect? Are there any styles or brands of beer that make you less sleepy than others?

Me, I usually drink Summit Extra Pale Ale, Capitol Special Amber, or Guiness dark. But because of this effect, I've been drinking less and less beer lately, which is Not A Good Thing. (I love beer!)

Thanks,
Anne

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  1. Indeed, hops induce sleep. Many years ago a person suffering insomnia is likely to have been given a hop pillow.

    1. If Guinness makes you sleepy also, its probably not the hops, but the alcohol. It is a depressant after all.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LStaff

        Yeah but Guinness is only 4%. It's one of the lowest-alcohol beers on the market. Guinness also does have hops in it. It's not IPA level, but they're in there.

      2. just drink right before you take a nap or right before bed. Beer makes a lot of people i know tired and they drink liquor exclusively when they go out to bars or clubs as a result.

        1. Maybe it is the carbs.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Alan408

            As far as carbs translating to high blood sugar, which is the normal reason for feeling lethargic and sleepy after eating a lot of carbs, beer doesn't fit the profile. It's Glycemic index is listed as 0. My own experience testing blood sugar before and after indicates that it can actually go down - alcohol has the effect of reducing blood sugar, so even if there is a relatively small carb count (10-15g net carbs/16oz), it can be easily neutralized by the alcohol effect. OTOH, carb-loaded bar food (pretzels, chips, pop corn) would be a major contributor to high blood sugar.

          2. Maybe that's why I always feel like eating chocolate when I'm drinking beer!

            1. My brother and I have noticed the exact same thing for us. We can drink vodka and not feel sleepy at all from it. There is something about beer, maybe it's the yeast it contains...,. we don't know why either. I've decided that alcohol is best consumed in moderation, but it's too easy to become hooked on more and more of it. I get tired of it - I used to live just fine without it, but I always come back to it. Maybe it's a sign that we shouldn't drink it so much.

              Mike

              1. No brainer - drink coffee stouts or porters. Town Hall's Java porter will keep you wired for hours.

                1. Yes, Beer can make one sleepy. Best drink it before going to bed... when you are alone.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: luponostrano

                    Beer might make me sleepy, but when it wears off I'm wide awake.