Author Archives: Josefine Satzke

Can Certain Foods Cause Us to Have Vivid Dreams?

Once my friend told me that eating an apple before bed makes you have really weird and vivid dreams. I didn’t know if I believed her so I tried myself and that night I didn’t have a dream at all, or at least I didn’t remember the next morning. So now I pose the question, can certain foods cause one to have vivid dreams?

First I decided to see if this idea is even true. When researching this, I came upon a study that the British Cheese Board did in 2005; this study was about how different cheeses can give someone different types of dreams. They did this study because of the common myth at the time saying that cheese gives you nightmares. To give you a summary of this study, 200 people (100 male and 100 female) volunteered to participate in a week-long study where “72% slept well every night, 67% remembered their dreams and none recorded experiencing nightmares after eating a 20g piece of cheese half an hour before going to sleep.” Dr. Judith Bryans a Nutrition Scientist at The Dairy Council disproves the myth that cheese gives us nightmares by stating, “ One of the amino acids in cheese – tryptophan – has been shown to reduce stress and induce sleep so cheese may actually help you have a good night’s sleep”. Clearly proving that is scientifically impossible for one to say the cause of nightmares is because of the cheese they ate the night before, and even saying that cheese can actually aid one’s sleep. This study went even further to show some similarities between the content of the dream and what type of cheese they ate before sleeping. Of those who ate Stilton cheese 85% reported to have very unusual dreams, cheddar cheese led to 65% to report about have dreaming about celebrities, where as Red Leicester cheese had over 65% have dreams about their childhood. British Brie cheese made all 100 female participants to have relaxing dreams and the majority of the men had cryptic dreams. Lancashire cheese led two thirds to dream about work and more than 50% of those who ate Cheshire had a dreamless sleep. (source of all the results)


Other studies and surveys have been done since the British Cheese Board, one survey included first year Canadian University students if they thought food influences their dreams and if so what foods. Of those who believed that food does indeed influence dreams in a negative aspect (disturbing dreams), 39% included dairy products (cheese, milk, ice cream), 19% were spicy foods, and sweet foods were split 27% believing it causes bizarre dreams rather than the 13% who thought it causes disturbing dreams.

As300 Dr. Bryans stated before, cheese has high levels of tryptophan, which actually aids one to fall asleep and causes more vivid dreams. Therefore foods with high levels of tryptophan as well as vitamin B6 (In 2002, a double-blind study revealed that participants who took a daily 250mg B6 supplement reported a significant increase in dream content – as measured in dream vividness, bizarreness, emotionality and color) will cause one to have more intense vivid dreams and also aid in recall of those dreams. Foods that fit in that category include chicken, soybeans, turkey, tuna, venison, lamb, salmon, halibut, shrimp and cod. All these foods all give 0.29-0.41g of tryptophan on average. Therefore yes some foods can influence one’s dreams however the amount of tryptophan in those foods is the deciding factor on how much they affect one’s dreams.

Is Epsom Salt Really Good for your Muscles?

Whenever I was stressed or my muscles were sore, my mom would tell me to soak in an Epsom salt bath. I never really knew what it was, but I felt better after a distressing bath; however now I question is Epsom salt is actually good for one’s muscles.

Epsom salt isn’t really salt at all. It’s a pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. It also has a variety of uses including hair volumizer, sunburn relief, bug bite relief, dry lips, pedicure, facial, bee sting remedy and more. But my question is how does it actually help one’s sore muscles?


According to Salt Works a website that explains and sells various salts, when the body is stressed it is drained of magnesium and “increases level of adrenaline”. However Epsom salt when in warm water can be “absorbed through the skin and replenish the level of magnesium in the body”. This aids to “detox” the body of stress because serotonin is produced and enables the body to be more calm and relaxed. This explains the aspect of being less stressed after soaking in an Epsom salt bath, but does it physically help your sore muscles or is it just the release of more serotonin telling your body that you are relaxed?

The authors of Salt Works simply state, “Epsom salt bath is known to ease pain and relieve inflammation, making it beneficial in the treatment of sore muscles, bronchial asthma and migraine headaches”, but they do not provide any studies or scientific research to prove this idea. It does state later on that “our skin is a highly porous membrane and adding the right minerals to your bathwater triggers a process called reverse osmosis, which actually pulls salt out of your body, and harmful toxins along with it”, proving that Epsom salt does aid with flushing toxins out of your body. But when one’s muscles are sore it’s not because they are filled with toxins, there is simply a build up of lactic acid in a specific part of the body. Therefore the question still stands are Epsom salt really good for your muscles?

Paul Ingraham, the author of the article “Does Epsom Salt Work?” on PainScience questions the medical use of Epsom salt. He states, “Epsom salt baths do not even rate a mention in Home Remedies: Hydrotherapy, massage, charcoal, and other simple treatments. They describe five medicated baths — alkaline (soda) baths, starch baths, oatmeal baths, peroxide baths, and sulfur baths — for conditions ranging from poison ivy rashes to diabetic gangrene (!), but they never mention Epsom salt baths. Could they possibly have just neglected it? Or is it more likely that Epsom salt baths simply have no (clear, known) medical usage?” Ingraham states later on that there seems to be virtually no scientific evidence that Epsom salt helps muscles and their soreness. It could simply be that Epsom salt aids to reduced stress, and one’s brain is tricked into thinking their muscles don’t hurt since they are now so relaxed. However there is even evidence that Epsom salts can’t even get past the skin barrier. Therefore I agree with Ingraham when he says, “There is no good or specific reason to believe that bathing in dissolved Epsom salts will have the slightest effect on muscle soreness or injury recovery time”.

Is Decaf Coffee a Healthier Choice?

When I drink coffee, it’s usually because I need something to help me get out of bed and get to my 8am classes. But I’ve never understood the purpose of decaf coffee, it doesn’t give you energy or help you wake up in the slightest, and I know myself I’m not drinking coffee for the taste. So I decided to see if decaf coffee had any benefits, and it might actually be the healthier choice.

Caffeine definitely has its benefits including ” enhances performance during physical activity, boosts mental performance and alertness, increases concentration and problem-solving abilities, improves neuromuscular coordination, quickens reaction time, and boosts overall brain function”. But it also has drawbacks such as increasing blood pressure (only for a short period of time), but a more serious con is that too much consumption can lead to risk of heart disease.

Decaf coffee also have their pros which are very beneficial to one’s health, according to Natural News “Decaf coffee reduces the risk of incurring diabetes, cancer prevention, [and] decreased risk of heart problems”. Erin Coleman a nutrition, health, and fitness writer recommends decaf coffee if one tends to drink more than three cups of coffee a day.



Why do we remember song lyrics so well, but not school work?

Over the past four weeks at Penn State, I have been attacked with an abundance of information. Information on where classes are, what to study for a test, what time a club starts and so on. As I continue to forget little pieces of information in my classes, I realized I can still recite the lyrics to American Pie (a song that came out when I was only three years old). So why can we remember song lyrics so well, but not information we need to know in class?

We have something called “cement” memory and it can only store so much information, so when we learn something new it is hard for it to get “stuck” in your cement memory. Therefore the things we learn in bio don’t make the connection and we can easily forget about it. But the main thing is that as we get older we want to learn more but our memories are in fact too full. In a New York Times article it states Learning becomes more difficult as we age not because we have trouble absorbing new information, but because we fail to forget the old stuff, researchers say.” Therefore maybe our memories are filled with lyrics of songs we heard over and over as children and now our memory is too full. In this same article it talks about an experiment done with mice stating, “The researchers focused on two proteins — NR2A and NR2B — long known to play a role in the forging of new connections in the brain. Before puberty, the brain produces more NR2B than NR2A; in adulthood, the ratio reverses.”

While we might not be trying to learn the lyrics of songs, sometimes a catchy tune can get stuck in our heads and make the connection that other information can not. Therefore maybe start making catchy songs to help you study, because the brain can’t hold that much memory.

Is Chocolate Milk a Good Recovery Drink?

I ran cross country and track all throughout high school and my one coach would always tell us to drink a glass of chocolate milk after a hard workout. My mother is a health nut and when I told her I had to drink chocolate milk she told me that drinking chocolate milk after a workout only applies to professional runners otherwise it is a myth. She claims that high school runners did not run hard enough to need chocolate milk after a workout, but time and time again my coach told us to drink it.

To answer this question we should first state the components of a “good” sports recovery drink. The three key ingredients to a proper recovery drink include carbohydrates, proteins, and water. These ingredigients aid to replenish the body after it lost the necessary muscle glycogen , muscle tissue, and any lost fluids. The purpose of a recovery drink is to give the body the nutrients and energy it looses after a hard workout. Popular recovery drinks include Nuun (which aids to replenish electrolytes), SIS (science in sport tablets or protein powder), Optimum Nutrition: Essential AmiN.O Energy, Gatorade recovery drinks, and many others. So what makes these more favorable than others? A main factor to consider is the idea of the carbohydrates to protein ratio. An ideal ratio is anywhere between 3:1 to 4:1. Gatorade recovery drinks have a 1:1 ratio.

Chocolate milk’s benefits include the ideal ratio of 3:1 carbohydrates to protein, the presence of whey protein (digests and absorbs quickly and also replenishes amino acids into the blood stream), the cheap cost, and the presence of protein casein, which aids to reduce the amount of muscle breakdown. Here is a chart showing the differences between chocolate milk and Gatorade’s recovery drink

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In the end it is evident that chocolate milk is a better recovery drink than Gatorade’s recovery drinks. But the initial question, is chocolate milk a good recovery drink answered? In some ways chocolate milk is a good recovery drink aiding to replenish the necessary nutrients, calories, and energy that athletes lose during workouts. Athletes need to drink and eat more than a non-athlete therefore they can afford to drink chocolate milk after a workout, whereas a non-athlete would most likely be putting on more weight from drinking loads of chocolate milk. So chocolate milk is a decent recovery drink, but at least I would recommend only to drink it after the hard workouts, not just every run.

Intro to SC200

Hi I’m Fini from a small town in New Jersey by the beach. Fun fact: Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen live in the town next to me and I go to the same gym as Bruce. Like many others I have the unoriginal answer in saying I am simply taking this course for a general ed requirement. My advisor said a lot of freshman took and enjoyed this class and as a communications student any science class that didn’t really sound like a science class appealed to me.

Science and I were never friends in high school. Lab reports were the death of me and I’m pretty sure I still don’t understand the difference between independent and dependent variables. I hated that my previous science classes were based on memorization and following the instructions precisely in order to just get an “A”. I feel like that isn’t the way to actually learn and remember information for a lifetime. That’s why I’m actually excited for this course, and I’m also in love with Andrew’s accent (but honestly who isn’t?)

Here’s an ariel picture of the beaches at home. Jersey isn’t as dirty as you think.9d668553c11966847c724b8caf2957f3

And here’s a video of the world’s fastest clapper Kent “toast” French. One can only dream to achieve the amount of success as this rare man.