One of my friends in this class wrote a blog entry about the effects that different types of cheese can have on your dreams. I thought this topic was so interesting because I had never heard of anyone eating a certain type of cheese and having an outrageous dream. She told me that different types of cheese could make you feel like you are on different kinds of drugs in your dreams, which I thought was extremely interesting. This got me thinking, can any type of food affect your dreams?
The first article I came across listed different types of foods and how they affect your dreams. The first food the article listed was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The article says this type of food promotes happy dreams because of the high amount of carbohydrates and sugar. Sugary foods are good because our brains require a lot of sugar. The amount of protein from the peanut butter and the carbohydrates from the bread, when combined help boost the amount of serotonin produced in your body. The article lists a couple other types of food including cheese. They did not go into much depth with it, besides explaining that numerous studies have been conducted in which people would eat cheese and monitor the type of dreams they had.
I decided to search for another article that instead of focusing on how certain foods aid your sleep, I wanted to find out how certain foods affected your dreams. I found this article that talks about a man having consistent nightmares, sleep apnea, and a snoring problem. The man was involved in a serious car accident about 10 years before this experiment took place, which could have had an effect on the results. After this accident, was when the man started developing these bad sleeping habits. The man and his wife also mentioned that chocolate was something they ate frequently. Chocolate, when consumed before sleeping, can cause someone to have more vivid and enhanced dreams. This article talks about the psychoactive effects that chocolate has on the brain. In this article, it states that milk and cheese can cause you to have happier and more relaxed dreams. They also go on to quote Dr. Lori Shemek who states that the effect food has on dreams can change depending on the person having the dream. Your dreams are altered due to the digestion process, what phase of sleep you are currently in, and even the setting you are currently sleeping in. Dr. Lori Shemek also states that you should stay away from eating larger meals before you go to sleep, because if your body is having a harder time digesting the food, it could cause you to have nightmares and even disturb your sleep cycles.
Eating foods containing excessive amounts of fat could also influence your dreams. Going off of what I said earlier about your body having a harder time digesting foods can cause nightmares, that is what happens when you eat foods containing a lot of fat.
This article does not just talk about what you are eating before you sleep, but when you are eating before you go to sleep. When you eat right before you go to sleep your body temperature increases and so does your metabolism. The combination of these two things could enhance your sleep, especially during the REM phase.
I didn’t realize so many different foods, or the amount of food you are consuming before you go to sleep, could affect your dreams. If I were to research this topic into more depth I would probably focus on one type of food: Chocolate, cheese, spicy food, or carbs, and study the effects of those foods individually rather than as a group.