Does eating cheese give you nightmares? How about eating certain types of cheese just before bedtime? I was just wondering since I just ate a whole lot of cheese and its just gone midnight...
Rebecca says: Great question! I have often wondered about this rumor myself... To find out, The British Cheese Board (oh dear) carried out a scientific investigation in 2005 in which participants were asked to eat a small 3 ounce piece of cheese before bedtime. They kept a record of their dreams and nightmares to detect any patterns and see if they really could induce cheese dreams.
Interestingly, 75% of volunteers said they slept pretty well every night and most of those could remember and report their dreams. This led the Cheese Board to conclude that the essential amino acid in milk - called tryptophan - was having its effect on the cheese-eaters by normalizing their sleep patterns and reducing stress levels.
Now comes the really strange part... In an interview with National Public Radio, Nigel White, the Secretary of The British Cheese Board, explained that people eating Blue Stilton cheese before bedtime reported very vivid dreams - not necessarily nightmares, but certainly wacky in their content.
He also said that the common Cheddar cheese produced more dreams about celebrities, while Cheshire cheese produced a nice, dreamless sleep. Red Leicester led to nostalgic dreams featuring childhood content, while Lancashire produced dreams of work - definitely a nightmare for some!
So, does eating cheese give you nightmares? According to The British Cheese Board, the answer is no. But it does appear to increase dream intensity, which helps you to remember more dreams, and produces more vivid and emotionally charged dreams, depending on the type of cheese you eat...
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Humans are unique in our endless capacity for imagination. According to Steven Mithen, an anthropologist at the University of Reading in the UK, we needed to evolve seven critical mental skills before we could have imagination as we know it. Each of these abilities serve a distinct purpose in their own right, while imagination is the culmination of them all.
The coolest brain hack I've ever experienced is the Wake Induced Lucid Dream - or WILD. The name says it all: during a WILD, you literally hand-off your awareness from a physically waking state directly into a sleeping lucid dream state. Though not the easiest lucid dream technique, it does have two big advantages. Lucidity on demand - choose when you have a lucid dream. Peak lucidity - it's the most vivid type of lucid dream available. In this tutorial, I explain how to have a Wake Induced Lucid Dream via two routes: visualization (using your hypnagogia) and the out-of-body exit. Buckle up, Dorothy, 'cause Kansas is going bye bye.
So here's a quirky little nighttime oddity that can strike terror into your soul. Sleep paralysis. It's the mechanism that stops you from acting out your dreams. It happens to you every single time you go to sleep, and you've probably never even been aware of it. There's a lot to say about sleep paralysis. One the one hand, it's a very normal bodily process. One the other, it can be a terrifying sleep disorder. And on the third hand (yes, that's three hands now) it's the gateway to the lucid dream world. It covers quite the spectrum of emotions.
Want to get your hands on some futuristic technology? Then why not use your lucid dreams to explore new scientific concepts and developments? In fact, it's thought that numerous well-known scientists including Nikola Tesla exploited their dreams to simulate theories and prototypes in action. Here are five futuristic concepts to get your dream cogs in motion.
So you want a real challenge for your next lucid dream? Check out these thought experiments. They have no right or wrong answers, at least as far as we can prove in 2015. If you undertake any of these - please add a comment below. The beauty is that everyone's experience will be different and I'm eager to read your results.
Experts agree that everyone is capable of having lucid dreams. Dreaming itself is a normal function of the mind. We all dream every night, even if we don't remember. And we all achieve conscious awareness while awake every single day. So what does it mean to combine these states? Why, the amazing ability to have conscious - or lucid - dreams. Sounds simple, doesn't it? So why do I keep hearing from people who say they can't achieve their first lucid dream?