Monday, March 25, 2013

Food For Thought :: What We Eat & What We Dream

      One thing I know for sure: I cannot eat pickles, chocolate, or any combination of the two within three-four hours of going to sleep. If by chance I break this rule, my dreams will be haunted, I will wake up in a drenched sweat, I will most likely scream and wake up the neighbors, and Stephanos will have to rub my arm and tell me it’s okay until I fall back asleep.
My point – I am almost sure that what I dream at night is 100% directly influenced by what I consume during the day. Typically, I consider myself a healthy eater, and I think nightmares are a way of punishing me if I stray away from that at all. I tend to believe this because every time I have a nightmare, I look back into what I ate that day, and I can usually pinpoint the culprit. Spicy foods, sour foods, and chocolate seem to be my biggest dream offenders.
My questions – Why does this happen? In my opinion, dreams are the absolute wildest part of life. Think about it, you lay in your bed, close your eyes, and within a period of time, your mind drifts into another state of consciousness, and before you know it and without any of your control, an untamed, vivid story is playing behind your closed eyes, and you have no choice but to watch. How about this, have you ever had a dream that you were dreaming? This is even more extreme. Waking up and wondering whether or not I am actually awake is a bizarre place to be, and it usually ends in me pinching myself for reassurance.
      Does what we eat during the day affect not only the outcome of our dream, but how many dreams we actually remember? Are there any foods linked to happy and inspiring dreams? Can someone promise me that if I eat a certain food three hours before bed, I will slowly float my way into a magical dream that I will remember every detail of?
      Some medical theories state that the heat from spicy food elevates your body temperature enough to the point where it interferes with your sleep, making you uncomfortable. The distress then works its way into your subconscious, and it is reflected in the storyline it creates. Some medical theorists claim that “real-life stomach aches and other types of gastric distress can end up as dream pain experienced by your dream self.”

      Another speculation is that it isn’t really what you eat before bed, it’s how much you eat. Digestion increases brain activity, so the more work your body is creating to metabolize your food, the more vivid your dreams will be.

What is your theory? Does this happen to you? Do you want to start a dream log, too?
Should I never eat pickles or chocolate again?