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How does food affect your dreams?

Roxanne was researching a column on how food affects dreams, and talked to Tore Nielsen of the Dream & Nightmare Laboratory at Sacré-Coeur Hospital in Montreal. He said that no research had been done on the subject, which seemed a terrible hole in the sleep/dream/food world.

Dr. Nielsen wanted to conduct an exploratory survey, and provided some questions. If you can, please stick to answering these specific questions in this order. He's going to be looking at your responses and we'll post the lab's conclusions.

1) Have you ever had a dream that seemed to be influenced by food(s) you had eaten the prior day (not including drugs or alcohol)?
2) If yes,
a. what food(s) had you eaten and when?
b. what did you dream about? (please write out the dream)
3) Do you believe that dreams can be influenced by what you eat the previous day?
4) Have you heard of any particular foods that affect dreams?
5) If yes,
a. what foods are these?
b. what effects are they said to have on dreams?
6) Have you ever dreamed about tasting or eating food(s)?
7) If yes,
a. what food(s) did you taste or eat in your dream?
b.did the dreamed food(s) taste like the real version(s)?
c. Please describe one dream of tasting or eating food here.

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  1. Blue cheese is widely regarded as dream-inducing and I find that to be true.

    1. I generally remember several dreams each night.

      1) No
      3) Perhaps
      7)( My dreams usually reflect the events of the past day, food is represented in my dreams at about the same degree it is experienced in my waking life.)
      b. I only can remember actually tasting food in a dream once - it was a very amped up version of the real thing.
      c. It was a dream about a pic-nic on a beautiful hillside. There was a bowl of strawberries. As I bit into one, the sweet juiciness just flooded my awareness. The flavor was so vivid that it woke me up!

      I dream of seeing food, preparing food, eating food with some frequency. This is the only dream where I was aware of actually experiencing the flavor. It was a lucid dream, which I have perhaps 10% of the time.

      1. Avocado. Wild, vivid dreams every time I eat them.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gordeaux

          I had a jibarito del lechon for dinner last night with a side of arroz con gandules. I chopped up some chunks of avocado on top of the rice, and at about 2am, I woke up in a cold sweat, out of breath. I was dreaming that my neighbor's son was a mass murderer, and I caught him in their basement about to hack someone up.

          Avocado. Every time. I swear. Love it.

        2. Whenever I have meatloaf, I dream of voluptuous women. Hope this helps.

          1. I don't know about dreams but when I eat lots of Shrimp I have much more energy the next day.

            1. Garlic induces unbelievably weird dreams. It's a battle because I love garlic and hate the dreams.

              1. Great questions!

                1) YES
                2) a. Things with MSG. I try to avoid it, but sometimes I slip without knowing. At least once I recognized an MSG dream and the next day I checked the labels of the food I had cooked and, sure enough, the chicken broth had MSG.
                b. Crazy, surreal, vivid, acid-trip-type dreams. The first one I remember having (in 1991) involved my plane crashing on some remote mountain top (where the landscape looked like a Dr. Suess illustration), and zombies were trying to eat me and the other plane survivors.
                3) YES
                4) Only if something gives you indigestion
                6) yes
                7) a. desserts
                c. A dessert buffet that was all you could eat-- I gorged myself in the dream. It was great :) (Note: I was pregnant at the time and really hungry all the time!)

                1. I don’t speak English so I’ll try my best

                  1) yes
                  2.a) either lots of food (any kind, maybe leftovers) and candies
                  2b.) when I ate that I usually have nightmares, can´t perfectly remember them after a few minutes
                  3) yes
                  4) no
                  6) yes
                  7.a) anything I smell when sleeping and food I like to have the next day (like ice cream, pizza, BBQ, etc.)
                  7b) in the first case it taste real to me but when I actually have them in the mourning it’s a completely different thing (it’s like, in my head, I think it’s real). In the other case, I don´t remember the food tasting at all.
                  7c) Either I dream that I’m eating what I’m smelling, in normal circumstances. Or I remember eating food but the presence of it was always related to an experience. In other words, I don’t dream about food, I dream about my family and I eating BBQ or I dream about me and my girlfriend having ice cream.

                  Hope it helps

                  1. I haven't ever made the connection between food I've eaten and dreams. I'll have to start paying more attention to it.

                    I believe food could affect dreams. I know there are different books I read that will give me crazy dreams. Reading requires the use of many senses and so does eating. So it would make sense that food would do the same thing.

                    I know I have had food related dreams, some about cooking, some about eating. I can't quite remember but I'm almost positive I could taste the food. Of course some dreams are more realistic than others.

                    1. Dairy gives me really bad stomach aches- I'm probably lactose intolerant but I don't want to deal with the aftermath of having that confirmed. If I eat too much dairy before bed (for example, a cheesy pasta dish) I ALWAYS have really horrible, graphic dreams in which I get attacked, assaulted or murdered. As soon as I wake up I know what caused the dream.

                      I can't recall ever dreaming about food.

                      1. 1-Yes
                        2a-Home made beef Tacos,Onion, white corn tortillas with home grown tomatoes. Lots of tomatoes. I May have bad dreams from foods that are fatty or just when I stuff myself. Not sure. Definatly when I eat the tacos because I eat them each year at the first tomatoe harvest from the garden. I do stuff myself as home grown tomatoes are, well, The Best.
                        2b- I have bad dreams about people in authority doing something bad and I am powerless to make a difference. Like some one Kills my dog and the police won't let me beat the hell out of him. Last night I dreamed of an east Indian man killing my dog with a knife and The Park ranger said there was no law against it and I could not do anything about it. Wierd
                        3- I do now
                        4- no

                        1. 1) Not that I recall. (but let's talk about cold medicine -- hoo boy)
                          2) n//a
                          3) It's possible -- if you can have weird dreams after drinking alcohol or taking medications, why wouldn't the chemicals in food do the same?
                          4) Other than alcohol, only randomly
                          5) pizza, chocolate, very rich desserts -- just makes for strange dreams
                          6) not that I recall, which is surprising to me, too
                          7) n/a

                          1. I can't pin it down to specific foods that I've eaten but, almost invariably, I dream about food. In these dreams, I'm in a banquet hall or cafeteria. Tables are loaded with serving platters and plates; some empty and others filled with various foods. For some reason, I'm never able to eat; I can't find a clean plate or what I want or I wake up.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: mucho gordo

                              Me too; except I'm never wearing pants.

                              1. re: acgold7

                                Funny you should mention that. I can't count the number of times (in my dreams) I've gone to work in my underwear. I'm self-conscious about it by nobody seems to be paying any attention.

                            2. Both my wife and I tend to have very vivid but ridiculous dreams after eating Indian food. We figure it must be all that nutmeg and cumin and species doing their job on the frontal cortex.

                              1. 1) Yes
                                2) a. Peanut butter shortly before (within an hour) sleep
                                b. Never anything specific, but the dreams are unusually vivid
                                3) I think dreams can be influenced by what you eat shortly before sleep. It seems reasonable that if your body is doing work digesting something heavy that will crop up somehow.
                                4) Yes
                                5) a. Peanut butter and cheese are said to cause vivid dreams. Looking above, avocados are apparently another one. Since the high fat content of the aforementioned foods are supposed to be the cause of the weird dreams, this makes sense, right?
                                6) Nope, actually.

                                1. 1)yes
                                  2) a-not sure but tonight i had tapas mostly fish
                                  b-evil-mass murderer - dream very HD intricate - plotted - last a long time (i) was trying to stop this from happening - it tested every reflect - every scenario was multi-layered - it went on for a very long time - when i woke my reaction was d"did I leave the TV on, was that a movie? - that kind of production was in my head
                                  Note: I had been on a strict detox diet for 8 days - this was the first meal in 8 days no restriction
                                  7)Not sure - don't remember

                                    1. 1) yes
                                      2) a) foods with honey. b) Too many to mention here.
                                      3) YES!
                                      4) yes
                                      5) A) fish, chocolate, eggs, bananas, any spicey food
                                      B) makes me remember my dream
                                      6) Yes
                                      7) A) pizza B) I don't remember. I guess so.

                                      Please keep in mind that there are foods that help you dream and there are foods that kill dreams. Eg. Eating red meat will kill my dream recall each and every time. Despite how much fish, honey or chocolate I eat.