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...
What do blind people dream about? Can they "see" in their dreams? Take a look at scientific studies into the dreams of the blind, colorblind, and black-and-white dreamers. In 1999, dream researchers at the University of Hartford analyzed 372 dreams of 15 blind people. They found that both the congenitally blind and those who went blind before five years old did not have any visual dreams at all. That's because our dreams are made up of real world experiences and our innermost thoughts, anxieties and desires. So for someone who has never perceived images or light (or can't remember any) their dreams simply can't manifest visually.
Not long ago, scientists at Frankfurt University discovered how to produce lucid dreams with electronic stimulation. It was a world first. And - astonishingly - it worked in non-lucid dreamers 77% of the time. Now you can buy the same technology for yourself. The foc.us V2 - which delivers the proven optimum 40 Hz transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) - was originally developed to increase working memory in video gamers and improve sleep.
As technology continues to move us towards more immersive dreamlike experiences, one can only wonder what digital wonders lay just beyond the horizon of tomorrow. We may also question just how the future of virtual reality will impact the study and practice of lucid dreaming. Are we, perhaps, the last generation to whom lucid dreaming will maintain an appeal?
Jeremiah Morelli is a whimsical fantasy artist and visual storyteller. He places conceptual fairytale creatures in vivid dreamscapes to capture the imagination. He's also a school teacher, and amazingly finds the time and motivation to create this huge gallery of artwork. Such light and dark fairytale paintings make beautiful places to visit in your lucid dreams.
Inspired and named for the notion of Flatland, artist and photographer Aydin Buyuktas has created a series of works where "a space of surprises creates a space that creates surprises." Based on photos of Istanbul, Buyuktas explains: "We live in places that most of the times don't draw our attention, places that transform our memories, places that the artist gives another dimension; where the perceptions that generally crosses our minds will be demolished and new ones will arise. These works aim to leave the viewer alone with a surprising visuality, ironic as well as a multidimensional romantic point of view."
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?