How Does Food Affect Your Dreams?

It’s long been an old wife’s tale that cheese before bed will give you nightmares, or at best, some rather odd dreams, and if you’ve ever had a few drinks before bed time, you’ll know that alcohol makes some rather kooky stuff go on in the brain. We’re going to be exploring the anecdotal, scientific and cultural evidence to determine whether or not certain foods and alcohol effect the dreams you have.

So, when you’re asleep, not a huge amount goes on until you reach a deep, proper sleep – this is where brain activity can vary dramatically. The most activity in the brain occurs during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage. REM is the stage in which the brain mostly resembles a fully awake person.

During REM, the brain suppresses many chemicals and core functions, allowing us to dream more freely and not question even the most unusual or most bizarre situations. Continuing that line of thought, food is packed with chemicals – some natural and some not so much – so they surely must have an impact on our brain. We know that chemicals in our brain can be effected with sugar and our brain is obviously effected when we drink alcohol, so if food and sugar (as an example) affect us so much, they must effect our brains as we sleep.

We dug a little deeper to find out.

A study on Canadian students (by Nielsen around 2015) found evidence that a substantial proportion of individuals (17.8%) claimed that either particular food or eating late at night influence their dreams.

The most frequent foods that were seen to have caused an adverse effect on dreaming, were, as traditionally though – dairy.

So, what foods do affect our dreams? Take a look at our infographic to find out how and why the food we eat plays such havoc with our subconscious!

An infographic explaining how food affects your dreams