Did you know that your late-night snacking may be affecting your dreams? Different foods have different ways of interacting with your brain and the rest of your body, which means that your food choices before bed can actually impact your sleep and dreams without you even realizing. Here’s the low-down on some nighttime food choices that might be messing with your head.
Seeds and Nuts, Soy, Cheese, Fatty Red Meat, Turkey
Bump your dreams up to the next level by adding these tryptophan-rich foods to your diet. Tryptophan is an amino acid that is not synthesized naturally by the human body, so we need to get it from external sources. These foods also contain Vitamin B6, which is responsible for converting tryptophan into serotonin, a hormone connected to regulating mood, appetite, and sleep patterns. The cognitive functions of serotonin, involved with memory and learning, can also relate to sleeping and dreaming patterns, and some studies have linked tryptophan and serotonin to dream retention. Lower levels correlate with a decreased dream recall ability, but increasing tryptophan intake can make your dreaming experience more intense.
Milk is rich in calcium, which helps the brain produce melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally synthesized in the body, and it may promote better dreams. It benefits sleep cycle adjustment and stabilization, meaning it can help you fall asleep, and stay asleep, throughout the night. Many people have reported an increase in lucid dreaming as a result of melatonin consumption, and the hormone can also affect recall ability and cause dreams and nightmares to be more vivid.
Chocolate is infamous when it comes to late-night snacking. This sweet treat is made up of compounds that may have dream-enhancing properties. Tyramine is an amino acid found in chocolate that is known for dream disruption. However, it does not discriminate between good and bad dreams, which means chocolate before bed may be a little riskier than you thought. There are also large amounts of sugar and caffeine that affect brain activity and will likely make it more difficult to fall asleep, which means that chocolate is a no-go when you’re ready to hit the hay.
Spicy foods and certain dishes that contain a number of spices aren’t so hot when it comes to eating before bed. For example, the chemical reactions that take place with compounds in nutmeg produce an additional compound called MDMA, better known as ecstasy. As you can imagine, this may be the cause of your especially eccentric dreams after eating at that Thai restaurant last week. While minimal amounts of nutmeg won’t disrupt sleep, large quantities, especially when mixed with additional spices, may be the cause of some crazy dreaming. There have also been instances where spicy foods lead to nightmares. This means spices are a big “no” when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. Who knew food could be so spooky?
Now that you know how your food is affecting your dreams, let reBloom help you get the sleep of your dreams, night after night.