Can eating cheese before bed cause nightmares?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

cheese nightmare
Cheese nightmares are nothing more than a myth.

According to an old myth, eating cheese right before bed will cause heart-thumping and gut-wrenching nightmares. However, just like most old wives’ tales, cold hard science has proven this myth is false. In fact, eating cheese actually seemed to have the opposite effect of making dreams enjoyable!

Researchers from the British Cheese Board gave 200 participants 20 grams of cheese before they went to bed. The volunteers were asked to record both how well they slept during the night and any good or bad dreams they may have experienced. About 67% of the volunteers did have dreams at night, but unlike the scary cheese myth, not one of them experienced a night terror. Strangely, most of the dreams seemed to be rather pleasant, if not downright entertaining. For example, participants reported having visions of talking animals, vegetarian crocodiles, and very adorable warrior kittens.

Besides creating such pleasant nighttime visions, cheese was also linked to a good night’s rest. The researchers claim this might be because of a chemical found in cheese, called tryptophan, that’s been shown to enhance our body’s sleep cycle.

However, it should be noted that the experiment didn’t compare non-cheese-eating participants to those who scarfed down some dairy products before sleep. Still, the fact that folks didn’t wake up in a cold sweat seems to disprove all those cheesy horror tales.

Featured image courtesy of Yvwv on Wikimedia.