You know that feeling when you really want to eat a smackerel of cheese before bed. But you don’t want to give yourself nightmares? It’s a constant internal battle. The idea that eating cheese gives you nightmares seems to be ingrained in us all. However, science says it’s not entirely true.
The myth can be traced back as far as Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. In which Scrooge believed his ghostly apparitions were down to a crumb of cheese he ate before bed. So the British Cheese Board decided to try and debunk this myth. They carried out a study on 200 people to see what would happen if they ate cheese before they went to sleep.
Turns out, 75% of participants said they slept soundly. With no nightmares, though they did have slightly stranger, more vivid dreams than usual.
So, is it true that eating cheese gives you nightmares?
If you’re a cheese lover, things can only get feta from here… Interestingly, different types of cheese caused different types of dreams. Blue cheese resulted in more unusual dreams, Red Leicester made dreams more nostalgic and Lancashire made people dream about work. Meanwhile, cheddar had people dreaming about celebrities.
All these strange goings-on while you sleep happen because cheese contains several compounds. Including tryptamine and tyramine, which are believed to influence the brain’s chemical systems. Basically, it means that while cheese hasn’t been proven to give you nightmares. It does influence what you dream about. So choose your cracker toppings wisely…
So, can cheese actually help us sleep?
Currently, there isn’t a great deal of research surrounding this topic. But it is claimed that cheese can help aid our sleep-wake cycle as it includes a level of tryptophan content. It’s fair to say that the official cheese organisation isn’t going to warn you away from the good stuff, but there seems to be enough evidence to suggest you can add cheese to the suppertime menu.