Does cheese really give you weird dreams?
As Eurhythmics famously sang, “Sweet dreams are made of cheese / Who am I to dis a brie”. Okay, maybe not exactly those words, but this dairy-based delight is said to impact our dream synopses, creating weird and wonderful pitter-patters in our imaginations.
But what’s the truth behind it all? Are cheese dreams a thing, or is the idea of them just a myth?
To get to the bottom of this urban legend, we’ve Caerphilly (see what we did there?) explored whether cheese does affect your dreams and what you can do to really get your mind going when your head hits the pillow.
Does cheese affect dreams?
Every man, woman and their dog has an opinion on whether or not cheese has any impact on your dreams. But there has actually been research into this, pitting cheese against cheese in a royal rumble against one another, weirdest dream wins.
The brilliantly named British Cheese Board (think about it) undertook an experiment, where 200 participants ate two-thirds of an ounce (18g) of cheese before going to bed over a week-long period. To delve further into the world of dairy dream, different cheeses were used on different people to see if there was any correlation in the results for a specific type of cheese causing wacky cheese dreams.
Turns out that cheese, weirdly, helps us get our 40 winks! Just under 75 per cent of those who nibbled the fromage before going to bed slept soundly and could remember the dreams that they had.
But the big outcome was that it was the different types of cheese that altered dreams – giving basic proof that cheese DOES in fact mess with your mind whilst you sleep!
Yes, that’s right. You can control your dreams with cheese.
The science behind cheese dreams
Top level, all these cheese dreams are said to be caused by an amino acid called tryptamine.
This is involved in the creation of melatonin and serotonin which help you get to sleep, and cheese is believed to be absolutely packed with the stuff. It helps to stabilise sleep patterns and reduce stress levels, giving you the perfect mental state for sleeping.
Tryptamine is also believed to be found in mild hallucinogenics. It is worth noting though that it is said to be evident in extremely low doses – come on, when was the last time you saw someone seeing the non-existent after eating some cheese!?
Other theories include the fungal content (especially in those nostril-burning blues) causing cheese dreams by influencing our mind, and that tryptamine plays with a specific part of our brain to unconsciously excite us.
But all in all, there’s nothing in concrete to say exactly why cheese affects dreams.
Does cheese give you nightmares?
Now this is a myth that can be totally debunked. The British Cheese Board has confirmed that indulging in cheese pre-bed won’t give you terrors in the night, which often wake you up and leave you wanting to cuddle your teddy bear.
However, as cheese can control your dreams, eating different variations may alter the style and outcome. So, although cheese nightmares are off the cards, you can still get vividly bizarre dreams from having a slice of the right fromage!
What type of cheese gives you the best dreams?
All cheeses can’t be captured under one dream-making net. It’s been proven that eating different cheeses may give you a slightly different sleep story synopsis, so here are some of the best cheeses for dreaming:
Red Leicester – a blast from the past
According to the British Cheese Board, this cheese will take your mind back to by-gone years and give you dreams based around nostalgia. Get ready to see familiar faces from throughout your life – whether you want to or not!
Cheddar – A-listers only
If you have a few chunks of cheddar before hitting the hay, you’re likely to dream about celebrities. So, if you’re wanting to take a hot air balloon ride with Ringo Starr, or go out for a drink with Jennifer Anniston, you know what to eat.
Blue cheese – it’s about to get weird
The most convincing evidence that cheese can alter your dreams. In the experiment conducted by the British Cheese Board, one participant noted that after eating blue cheese they dreamt about a vegetarian crocodile who was upset because he couldn’t eat children. Say no more.
Cheshire – the non-dreamer
The most boring of all cheeses. Those who ate Cheshire cheese before bed slept very well, but didn’t have any dreams. Imagine that – no dreams, it’s like you’ve sold out, man! We’re not advocating the boycott of Cheshire cheese, but seriously, choose something else for dairy-induced psychedelic visions.
Evidence may suggest that eating cheese before bed might not give you those mythical dreams you’re after, but it has found that you’ll be able to get a gouda (again, love the puns) night’s sleep after indulging in a pre-sleep dairy snack – so don’t feel guilty about have a cheeky evening cube.
Want more tips and advice on all-things sleep? Visit our blog homepage for top tips and guides.