Let me break it down for you.
How could cheese do that to me?
Studies have found that melatonin, an amino acid and a key component of milk, is instrumental in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Milk also contains trace elements of tryptophan that is synchronised in the brain as serotonin and has been shown in many cases to reduce stress and induce a peaceful night’s sleep.
The catch to the myth, though, is that these elements of melatonin and tryptophan are so negligible, they hardly have any impact on the brain. On the other hand, while these products do have some casein proteins that have a slight relaxation effect on the brain, these too are negligible.
Some scientists have therefore developed a theory that it is the bacterial and fungal elements in the cheese that lead to the trippy effects of dreams, but these theories have not been fully explored as of yet (but we hold out hope).
Another final theory is that food consumption generally will often give the consumer a restless night’s sleep, increasing metabolism and leading to an overactivity of the brain, a cause behind dreams and nightmares. Also, cheese often comes as the final call of big meals, so it’s pretty easy to see how this cheesy myth may have developed.
It may not be clear why or even if cheese induces weird dreams, but what it is clear that the cheese-dream-field lacks development, so for now we can live in a dream world of cheese-induced fantasy.
Choosing your dreams?
A study in 2005 by the British Cheese Board attempted to put the rumours of cheese as the nightmare-bringer to bed by giving each of the 200 participants in the trial a cube of cheese before bed and asking them to record their dreams. They made some discoveries that dispelled the nightmare myth, with 72% of participants sleeping well and 67% remembering their dreams.
So, does each cheese set off a different set of reveries? Well, according to the study, yes: blue stilton gave the weirdest dreams, especially for women — think warrior kittens and vegetarian crocodiles (sw-eeeeeeet!). And, apparently, cheddar cheese enhances dreams about celebrities — so, if you want to experience the world of human pyramid-making with Johnny Depp, this should be your pick.
Cheshire cheese was the dullest with the participants hardly experiencing any weird dreams if dreaming at all (lol, PASS). Red Leicester was shown to make you dream about your past, whilst Lancashire will focus you on the future, and one participant even dreamed about being a successful Prime minister — so we’ll stock up on that one please.
The Good News
Cheese before bed may not be so bad after all! In fact, given a small snack of it before bed, cheese has arguably been linked to weight loss. So, we think we’ll take our chances in favour of the weird dreams — they’ll make a good story for the morning, after all.
Why stop the experiments for vivid dreams with cheese? Try apple cider vinegar, pizza, cabbage, brussel sprouts, chamomile for further mind explosions.
This world is filled with supposed dream-inducing foods, so get out there and start dreamin’, foodies.