The Effect Of Cheese Upon Dreams

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Anonymous

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Something I don't normally do is last night, much later than usual, I had a cheese sandwich just before I went to bed. Then all night I had not one but two different nightmares. It's been said there's a link between cheese and nightmares, but is there any scientific basis to this? How did it originate? How does it work if it does?

(Just in case it turns out to be a premonition, one of the dreams was two planes being downed by surface to air missiles...)
 
A

Anonymous

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I don't know about scientific basis, but we were always told as kids "don't eat cheese just before going to bed or you'll have nightmares". Trouble is, some of the very weird dreams I've been having lately I'm not sure are down to cheese or alcohol (or both?).
 

KeyserXSoze

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We should experiment this night! Anyone who wants (and has cheese) eat some before sleeping and record any results here!:)
 
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Anonymous

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i think (maybe wrong) that Scrooge puts his bad dreams down to cheese before bed?
 
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Anonymous

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It's probably more due to indigestion and consequently disturbed sleep. ...I tend to eat at all hours and also suffer from nightmares.
 

Cider

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I love cheese and because I'm doing the low-carb thing, most nights I have cheese before bed. There has never been any connection in my experience. My dreams have always been incredibly vivid, but mostly lovely- I usually try to go back to them when I initially wake up.

I do sometimes get nightmares, but oddly only when I sleep at my friends hotel and leave the bathroom door open. :blush: I know that sounds really bizarre, but it is true. It may just be a coincidence, and now that it's connected in my mind it may always be the case. But this is only recently, the last three months or so.
 
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Anonymous

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The nightmares themselves were more akin to things I'd read on this MB a couple of hours before I turned in. The plane crash dream (a recurring theme in my nightmares) had a similar scenario to the "John Lydon missing the Lockerbie flight" story. But it was odd to have such a bad night's sleep on the one and only occasion I had cheese before going to bed.
Anyone else going to give it a try?
 

Cider

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Maybe it depends on the type of cheese that you have. I'm a mature cheddar girl. What sort of cheese was it DD?
 
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Anonymous

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I can confirm it was cheddar with some herbs and tomatoey bits in it. Hope that helps :D
 
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Anonymous

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There's a 1906 film by Melies ( the video is sitting on my lap as i type) called 'Dream of a Rarebit Fiend' featuring a cheese induced nightmare., so it's obviously a persistent belief. I realise this adds nothing to the thread, just thought i would show off my eccentric video collection ;)
 
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Anonymous

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I'm with Sidecar on this one.
Its probably more to do with the digestion, rather than anything chemical about cheese.
As cheese has a high fat content, it is hard for the body to digest, and this seems to cause havoc with the subconscious at night.

I thought/think the general rule is 'no rich food before bedtime'.

Though I am partial to a big dinner and an early night.
 
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Anonymous

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I can believe that. I remember thinking a sarnie at 10-30pm shouldn't give me any problems...
Does anyone know if cheese was a common pre-bedtime snack for Victorians? Just wondering how it got to be cheese specifically.
 
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Anonymous

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Bread and cheese was cheap and cheerful and so I assume was the only dinner available to many victorians, and therefore may have become associated with nightmares by default...i don't know what i'm talking about do i? :)
 
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Anonymous

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i just went surfing for victorian meals etc... lots of the exotics but few resorces for "normal" eating... but ive found that many working people eat bread and marg/butter/dripping for supper and cocoa (even in work houses as it was seen as healthier than coffee and not intoxicateing, hence the involvement of Quakers like Cardburies).... It seems they viewd the eating of meat or cheese late in the evening as a bad thing.
 

KeyserXSoze

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Last night's mild cheese night cap induced not a nightmare, but a dream about spirals. According to my dream, spirals are the answer to everything, including space/time travel, and scientists must think in spirals to better understand this. o:confused: Wow :D
 

JamesWhitehead

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I think it was the celebrated Nightmare artist Fuselli who used to try to
induce bad dreams by eating raw meat before bed. Can't recollect where
I read that.

If memory serves, Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy contains many traditional
beliefs about the effects of various foods on the mind. For the Classical
beliefs, Boethius is probably your man. :cool:
 

KeyserXSoze

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Dark Detective said:
Sounds like you should leave that Dutch shit alone :D
I wonder how extra-weird that might make my dreams...

Tonight Ladies & Gentlemen: More Cheese!!!:rofl:
 

JamesWhitehead

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Dutch shit? Edam? Gouda?

I had a very nice Gouda once. Blackened in a candle flame and
crumbled onto toast. :p
 

marion

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I bought some night time milk from Sainsbury's thats supposed to help you sleep because it has extra 'melatonin' in it, I don't know why it contains it tho it says its natural, maybe its GM. It also says it only helps you sleep at night not in the day so you can drink it in the day without it making you sleepy. I can't try it tonight cause I've had horlicks and it might affect the results but I'm feeding some to my insomniac daughter as an experimant, I'll report back :D
 

IneffableOgre

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Not only cheese does it for me, but chocolate also, especially milk chocolate, and it's not always nightmares, sometimes just really really really odd dreams- but those tend to be the norm for me.
 
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Anonymous

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I have been eating cheese (with a bit of orange marmalade) sandwiches before bed for years with the express purpose of having those wierd-arsed nightmares that I love.

I have read that vitamin B gives people wierd dreams. Also chromium, even wierder dreams.

Nice fully matured chedder seems to be the best nightmare for the money.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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I just stumbled across this ppaer in a "Focus on "The Nightmare" special issue which looks at various elements of sleep paralysis dreams:

Oates, C. (2003) Cheese Gives you Nightmares: Old Hags and
Heartburn
. Folklore. 114. 205 - 25.

abstract:

Stories of witches transforming men into beasts of burden told by Homer, Apuleius, and St Augustine follow a narrative schema also found in legends of people turned into horses by witches with magic bridles. The stories figuratively convey symptoms of the nightmare, known as the “Mare” or “Old Hag.” Cheese features in several of them. Although these narratives seem a far cry from the commonplace that cheese is indigestible and causes nightmares, indigestion and the Mare are inextricably entwined. This essay explores the relationships
between them. [

[edit: I am a numpty - I forgot it was available online so have a read of it and let me know what you think:

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2386/is_2_114/ai_106981967

it seems to just fade off at the end but that is only my opinion.]

It seems to go back to the man/bread - woman/cheese analogy (to do with their respective roles in the production of these foodstuffs).

As well as a lot of sex/cheese linkages (and not those!!) it also claims that the link between nightmares and cheese is largely a British one - would our continental cousins like to confirm this?

They also link cheese with witches, drugging, choking and transofrmation through Circe, "The Golden Ass", "The City of God" to the "Merry Wives of Windsor".

The author seems to link cheese and nightmares directly via indigestion but suggests a more metaphorical linking of cheese and Night hag dreams. There is also the "bread and cheese ordeal":

Anne Armstrong’s piece of cheese was also a way of appealing to be believed, marking her innocence of witchcraft. Cheese had long had a destiny-deciding role in distinguishing guilt from innocence in the bread and cheese ordeal or “holy morsel” (Motif H 232; Thomas 1971, 218). Only the innocent could swallow it, while it choked the guilty. As a symbol of the body of Christ, bread’s role makes sense in an ordeal appealing to divine judgement; but there was less scriptural justification for the use of cheese in that context. Apuleius, however, shows that cheese had the power to choke and decide men’s fates before the full establishment of Christianity, and there are very early references to the bread and cheese ordeal to detect a thief (Eckstein 1927–42, 41033–4). Anglo-Saxon law made provision for it and, although it fell from judicial use after 1215, it lingered in popular custom into the early modern period (Kittredge 1928, 238). In 1618, Jane Bulkeley distributed pieces of cheese to an assembled group in order to discover a thief (Thomas 1971, 220). In William Rowley’s The Witch of Edmonton (Act 4 scene 1), the witch exclaims: “Let ‘em eat cheese and choke” of her false accusers. The fatal power of ordealic cheese has left a linguistic trace in the expression “hard cheese” meaning “bad luck,” which is exactly what a dry, old piece of “choke-dog” cheese would be if one’s life depended on
swallowing it.

It seems to be one of those studies which leaps about all over the place but the associations are pretty loose (from melted cheese to cunnilingus in a single sentence? Nearly.).

The stuff about cheese and nightmares is more interesting:

The British commonplace that cheese causes nightmares tends to be understood as the result of indigestion, and thus it continues the ancient medical theory, dubbed the “Heavy Supper Theory,” that nightmares are caused by indigestion. This has been the favourite natural explanation of the oppressive nightmare since Galen’s time.

And witches were also well know for causing indigestion too.

The Night Hag thread:
http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=3328
 

Mythopoeika

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I try to avoid eating anything before going to bed.
In the past, when I've done this I've invariably been pretty ill the next day.
 

elffriend

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Emperor said:
(from melted cheese to cunnilingus in a single sentence? Nearly.).


:eek: I just choked on my cheese sandwich!!!!!!!
 

gattino

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How niche is that?

Someone on a precognitive dream page on Facebook recently wondered aloud if something he'd apparently read about researchers saying cheese increases the number of dreams you have could explain his percieved increased number of precognitive dreams since a job related change in his diet.

The idea that eating cheese before bed gives you either nightmares or "weird"/vivid dreams is a common one referenced in everything from Scrooge to Tom and Jerry. But none cheese eaters like me have never had any reason to know if its true or not. (Also a few years ago the far from objective British Cheese Board publicised a survey claiming to demonstrate that different types of cheese produced different types of dream). So I decided to experiment.

I took half of one prepackaged slice of mature cheddar before bed on 3 occassions..separated by several days in between in which I consumed no cheese, to be sure anything I noticed wasn't coincidence.

And do you know....it worked.
I can categorically confirm for myself that pre-sleep cheese eating (dirty jokes you're currently toying with are your own business) does affect one's dream experience.
No nightmares, nothing "vivid", no increase in precog that I've yet noticed, but....Each night was far more dream filled, and each momentary waking was followed by an instant return to a dream state. It had the knock on effect of thinking, after several longish adventures, that it must be nearly time to get up, only to notice from the clock there were hours more cosy sleep to enjoy.

Whether the number of dreams is actually increasing or not is another matter. My suspicion is that the momentary recall that follows your last and longest dream of hte night is occurring for all 4 or 5 dreams one normally has but generally has no recollection of. In short it may be improving at least temporary recall. Which would explaiin the gentleman's perception his precognitve experiences had increased..he just had more material before him to find connections with.

Thre was one further oddity to report. On each of the three cheese nights, so to speak, I dreamt of one character or another being stark naked. There was nothing overtly sexual in it, and whether this says something about me or the cheese I leave to your judgement.

I imagine people who lucid dream or "astral travel" might find this helpful to experiment with.

Eat some cheese tonight..see what happens.
 

Mythopoeika

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I hate cheese, so I probably won't be trying it.

I had heard about pickled onions also being mentioned in conjunction with the cheese (i.e. in a cheese and pickled onion sandwich). Perhaps a certain food combination can affect the dreams?
 

gattino

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This, online, regarding the aforementioned British Cheese Board experiment from 2005:

"Interestingly, 75% of volunteers said they slept pretty well every night and most of those could remember and report their dreams. This led the Cheese Board to conclude that the essential amino acid in milk - called tryptophan - was having its effect on the cheese-eaters by normalizing their sleep patterns and reducing stress levels.

Now comes the really strange part... In an interview with National Public Radio, Nigel White, the Secretary of The British Cheese Board, explained that people eating Blue Stilton cheese before bedtime reported very vivid dreams - not necessarily nightmares, but certainly wacky in their content.

He also said that the common Cheddar cheese produced more dreams about celebrities, while Cheshire cheese produced a nice, dreamless sleep. Red Leicester led to nostalgic dreams featuring childhood content, while Lancashire produced dreams of work - definitely a nightmare for some!

So, does eating cheese give you nightmares? According to The British Cheese Board, the answer is no. But it does appear to increase dream intensity, which helps you to remember more dreams, and produces more vivid and emotionally charged dreams, depending on the type of cheese you eat..."

The pernickity funsuckers online like to point out that thsi was NOT true science as it was a small sample and involved no double blind tests blah blah etc...which strikes me as a kind of pointless observation, since unless you're having a debate in a university I can't see the point of wondering if there's "scientific" proof that its true when you can simply and immediately find out for yourself.
 

gattino

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I now wish to copyright the term "pernickity funsucker".
 
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