Skip to Content

Does California Poppy Extract Help Sleep? (Does It Even Work?)

I may receive a commission for purchases made through product links on this page, but I always stand by my opinions and endorsements!

I was very much on the fence on whether I should do another article on a promising supplement for sleep.

After all, I’m having great success with using Holy Basil and Phosphatidylserine.

But this website isn’t about me…

It’s about helping you.

So, whilst Holy Basil and Phosphatidylserine are working great for me, that isn’t to say they’ll work for you too.

(We’re all unique humans and in reality, there’s no “one size fits all” supplement that works for everyone.)

For this reason, I’ve decided to write this article which explores the science on using California Poppy Extract (CPE) for sleep.

But that’s not all…

I’ll also be reviewing Herb Pharm California Poppy Extract (Amazon) in this article.

california poppy for sleep

That’s right. I’m going to share with you the results I’ve experienced after supplementing with CPE for 10 days straight.

(And before you ask… Yes, I stopped supplementing with Holy Basil and Phosphatidylserine in the 10 days of using CPE.)

Ready? Let’s dive in.

What is California Poppy Extract?

CPE is a liquid derived from California Poppy plants (formally known as Eschscholzia Californica plants.)

Originating from North America and Mexico, these plants had many different uses for the Native Americans who first discovered them.

For example, some groups boiled the plants to be eaten as a green vegetable.

(I think I’ll pass on that one!)

Others used them to treat toothaches, headaches and to kill lice.

With such a wide range of uses, it’s fair to say this plant was very highly regarded by the indigenous tribes.

Reasons for Supplementing with California Poppy Extract for Sleep

This section of the article is all about the case for supplementing with CPE to benefit your sleep.

If you think CPE may help you, then this section is for you.

1. California Poppy Extract activates Serotonin Receptors

A USA study showed that CPE could bind to and activate Serotonin receptors (notably the 5-HT(1A) and the 5-HT(7) receptors).

So what the heck has that got to do with sleep? I hear you ask.

Well it turns out Serotonin is one of the most important neurotransmitters when it comes to sleep, and there are a few reasons why.

Firstly, Serotonin is synthesized by the pineal gland to make Melatonin which is the hormone responsible for making you sleepy.

Secondly, Serotonin plays an important role in regulating the circadian rhythm (aka the sleep/wake cycle). Nowadays, many of us have a sleep/wake cycle which is out of sync due to high Cortisol levels from a stressful lifestyle.

Finally, Serotonin is the neurotransmitter which is responsible for us feeling calm and happy. I don’t know about you, but falling to sleep is so much easier when I’m in a calm and happy mood.

2. California Poppy Extract stimulates GABA

A 2015 study showed that (S)-reticuline, a chemical compound found in CPE, could stimulate GABA.

Like Serotonin, GABA is another neurotransmitter which plays an important role in sleep.

It works by “calming down” the CNS aka the Central Nervous System.

(In fact one of the reasons why Alcohol makes you feel calm is due to its ability to boost GABA.)

Reasons against Supplementing with California Poppy Extract for Sleep

No supplement is perfect.

And just like pretty much every other supplement, there are reasons why you perhaps shouldn’t supplement with CPE.

So that’s what we’ll cover right now.

1. Little human research available

Whilst we’ve covered the benefits of CPE, the truth is the studies were performed in labs – not people.

So whilst yes, CPE has been shown to stimulate Serotonin and GABA which both help with sleep, there hasn’t actually been any studies which directly look at the link between sleep quality and CPE in humans.

In fact the only clinical study on CPE looked at the effects of CPE on anxiety.

The results showed that those who supplemented with CPE had less anxiety than those taking the placebo.

This is interesting since less anxiety is associated with better sleep and more anxiety is associated with poor sleep, but again, there are no actual studies which show the effects of CPE on sleep in humans.

2. Lifestyle choices should be addressed first

Before you even consider using supplements to aid with sleep, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I stressed?
  • Is my room warm?
  • Do I drink caffeine after 3pm?
  • Does my room have any light pollution?
  • Do I use electronic devices before I go to bed?

If you answered Yes to any of the questions, then you really need to adjust your lifestyle first.

I hate to break it to you, but using supplements very rarely improves health woes caused by poor lifestyle choices.

3. Potentially better alternatives

As mentioned at the start of this article, there are many different supplements you can try to improve your sleep, and I’ve personally had results with Holy Basil and Phosphatidylserine.

These 2 supplements have been studied a lot more too, so are perhaps the more reliable choices.

Vitalized Future’s Review of Herb Pharm California Poppy Extract

With literally no human research looking into the effects of CPE on sleep, I decided to be a participant in my own little experiment, just for you.

( I’m a nice guy, right? 🙂 )

I wanted to know whether I felt any improvements in my sleep from supplementing with Herb Pharm California Poppy Extract (Amazon), so for 10 days straight, I took a full dropper’s worth 30 minutes before going to sleep.

california poppy extract

And in all honesty, I didn’t notice much difference in my sleep quality.

Now I’m not saying it won’t work for everyone, as I believe supplements affect each of us differently, but for me, Holy Basil and Phosphatidylserine are superior.

Maybe if I tried a bigger dose, I may have seen noticeable difference?

I don’t know.

But it’s fair to say I won’t be buying Herb Pharm California Poppy Extract (Amazon) again any time soon.

I’ll happily stick to my Holy Basil and Phosphatidylserine.


I hope this article has given you all of the information you need to decide whether you want to give CPE a try.

I really hope sometime in the future, there are some studies on CPE and sleep in humans as I still believe the potential is there.

And although it didn’t work exactly as I hoped, that’s not to say it won’t work for you.

The only way to find out is to try it for yourself.

Thanks for sticking with me to the end and please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.