What fun would the topic of sleep be if we did not take a look into the Magic 8 Ball and ask if food has the ability to influence dreams, signs point to yes, I mean why not, what if we discover a dreaming diet!
Researchers at a Canadian University questioned 396 students. Of those questioned 17.8% said they felt as though certain foods impacted their dreams. 43.8% of people said that dairy caused disturbing dreams and 38.5% said that dairy caused bizarre dreams, it was not reported if dairy could cause disturbingly bizarre dreams. Other foods identified as either disturbing or bizarre dream causers were: sugar, chocolate, spicy, pickles, pasta, meat, vegetables and junk food. The only food group not noted as distorting dreams was fruit. (1)
A small study of 49 people hypothesized that those with diets of fast food have less dream recall, nightmares and sexual dreams with fewer recurring dreams. The dreams of those who ate organic food were reported as having more meaningful dreams of risk taking, sex, flying and water. Well, looks as though either way we are dreaming of sex! (1)(2)
Although the article went unpublished a study done by the British Cheese Board reported that different types of cheese caused different types of dreams, cheddar will make you dream of celebrities and Brie will have you dreaming of sunny beaches. (3)
I can hear it now, “ Doctor, I would really like to dream about winning the Lotto”, and the doctor says, “Eat walnuts, Brie cheese and jalapenos before bed tonight and your dreams will be answered.” Although it may seem interesting, diet serves a much greater purpose than controlling your dreams. Look to eating a balanced diet that includes nutrients from whole foods, calorically balanced and avoid eating at night before bed or during waking from sleep. Night eating syndrome alters stress hormones and the way our bodies’ process calories and can promote weight gain. (4)
- Nielsen, T., & Powell, R. A. (2015). Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend: food and diet as instigators of bizarre and disturbing dreams. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 47. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00047
- Kroth, J., Briggs, A., Cummings, M., Rodriguez, G., & Martin, E. (2007, August). Retrospective reports of dream characteristics and preferences for organic vs. junk foods. Retrieved July 04, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17958143/
- Cheese on the Nightstand: Are sweet dreams made of these? (n.d.). Retrieved July 04, 2017, from http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/cheese_on_the_nightstand_are_sweet_dreams_made_of_these/
- Stunkard, A. & Lu, XY. Rapid changes in night eating: considering mechanisms. Eating and Weight Disorders. (2010) 15: e2. doi:10.1007/BF03325274
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