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Can Eating Foods Such as Cheese Cause Vivid Dreams?

Author: Disabled World : Contact: www.disabled-world.com

Published: 2011-08-08 : (Rev. 2019-03-12)

Synopsis and Key Points:

Does eating certain foods before sleep cause you to dream more? Includes a list of foods that are reported to make you have vivid and lucid dreams.

Main Digest

One of the age-old beliefs is that eating cheese before bed will give you nightmares. But is it true and do different cheeses have different effects?

Although scientists are still unsure of the relationship between dreams and eating before bed, it is clear that eating close to sleeping can cause disrupted sleep. It seems to depend on what is in the meal and what time you eat that meal before you go to sleep.

According to Medline Plus, eating right before bed increases your metabolism which also increases your brain's overnight activity, leading to dreams and nightmares. Whereas some substances such as alcohol and nicotine cause a lighter sleep and prevent REM sleep, which decreases dreaming.

Eating before bed can affect things other than dreams.

Eating before bed can increase heartburn, a condition in which stomach acid leaks from your stomach into your esophagus. This can lead to burning sensations and chest pain, disrupting your sleep. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, eating right before sleep can also aggravate cyclical vomiting syndrome, in which individuals suffer from episodes of nausea and vomiting.

What is the Difference Between Vivid and Lucid Dreams

What Can You Eat Before Bed to Make Dreams Seem Real?

Colorful abstract artwork that may be depicting psychedelic dreaming - Lovers and madmen have such seething brains. Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend. More than cool reason ever comprehends... A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 5, Scene 1.
Colorful abstract artwork that may be depicting psychedelic dreaming - Lovers and madmen have such seething brains. Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend. More than cool reason ever comprehends... A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 5, Scene 1.

Other Foods to Make You Dream:

Nicotine Patches: Though certainly not a food, one of the side effects of nicotine patches include hyper vivid dreams that last for hours and feel very real. Here is a link (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16782142) to a medical study titled, "The effect of transdermal nicotine patches on sleep and dreams. "

Facts Regarding Dreams and Dreaming

Lucid Dreams and Meta-cognition

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich have discovered that the brain area which enables self-reflection is larger in lucid dreamers. Thus, lucid dreamers are possibly also more self-reflecting when being awake. Lucid dreamers are aware of dreaming while dreaming. Sometimes, they can even play an active role in their dreams. Most of them, however, have this experience only several times a year and just very few almost every night. Internet forums and blogs are full of instructions and tips on lucid dreaming. Possibly, lucid dreaming is closely related to the human capability of self-reflection - the so-called meta-cognition.

Neuroscientists compared brain structures of frequent lucid dreamers and participants who never or only rarely have lucid dreams. Accordingly, the anterior prefrontal cortex, i.e., the brain area controlling conscious cognitive processes and playing an important role in the capability of self-reflection, is larger in lucid dreamers.

The differences in volumes in the anterior prefrontal cortex between lucid dreamers and non-lucid dreamers suggest that lucid dreaming and meta-cognition are indeed closely connected. This theory is supported by brain images taken when test persons were solving meta-cognitive tests while being awake. Those images show that the brain activity in the prefrontal cortex was higher in lucid dreamers.The results indicate that self-reflection in everyday life is more pronounced in persons who can easily control their dreams.

The researchers further want to know whether meta-cognitive skills can be trained. In a follow-up study, they intend to train volunteers in lucid dreaming to examine whether this improves the capability of self-reflection - (Filevich, E., Dresler, M., Brick, T.R., Kuhn, S. - Meta-cognitive Mechanisms Underlying Lucid Dreaming - The Journal of Neuroscience (2015) (DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3342-14.201)

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