Stephan Brown

9 foods that cause nightmares

Stephan Brown
9 foods that cause nightmares

Have you ever woken up in a cold sweat after experiencing the worst nightmare ever? Or even worst, have you experienced a recurring nightmare? Well, the real reason behind those nightmares might be from that late night pizza you snacked on the night before.

For a long time now, scholars have written about the connection between diets and bad dreams. Actually, for over 2,000 years, scholars has written about this subject, but now, there’s finally a study on this topic.

The study was conducted at a university in Canada, where 396 students were polled daily, for two weeks, on their diet and dream quality.  These students had to answer questions on their diet habits, dream habits, sleep, psychological function and overall health. Based off of these students responses, researchers were able to come up with a list of foods that cause nightmares.

1. Cheese

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Remember the days of college where pizza was life and it didn’t matter if you ate it at 9 a.m. or 12 a.m.? Well, all that cheese right before bed may not be the best idea.

Dairy contains tryptophan (an amino acid that is a constituent of most proteins), which acts as a forerunner for the sleep-causing hormone serotonin, but many people reported experiencing night terrors way more frequently. This can definitely be a good reason to let go of those late night cheese cravings.

2. Hot Sauce

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Yes, I know you may have a love for hot sauce and I know it can be hard to not put it on everything, but you may change your mind about having it before you drift off into dreamland. According to the study, eating hot sauce right before bed caused participants to not only have a horrible sleep, but it also gave them high stress dreams.  

Spicy foods increase your body’s temperature, which can change the way dreams form during the REM (rapid eye motion) stage of sleep. You don’t have to completely cut out hot sauce from your life, but it’s recommended that you cut it out at least 6 hrs before sleeping.

3. Alcohol

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Not only does large amounts of alcohol cause killer hangovers and headaches, but they also cause some of the worst nightmares you’ll ever experience too.  From all the times you wake up in and out your sleep, to the lack of nutrients your body is running off of, your body just can’t function to give you a proper night's rest. Many people reported having intense nightmares and stressful scenarios for each dream.

4. Chocolate

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While dairy products were high on the list for heavily influencing dreams, sweets and chocolate come in 2nd place for giving people crazy and disturbing dreams. Chocolate is made with high caffeine (which lowers your ability to fall into a deep sleep) and has high amounts of sugar. Combining these two things will cause the worst kind of dreams and leave you waking up in a sweaty panic.

Even dark chocolate, which is healthier, can still cause you to experience bad dreams. Words of advice, if you must have your evening chocolate, then try to cut your portion size down for dinner or enjoy it as an early afternoon snack instead.

5. Chips

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Although chips lack sugar and caffeine, it is still not good to have as a bedtime snack. It was reported that eating “greasy junk food”, such as chips, was the cause of 12.5% of all disturbing dreams in the study. The grease in chips can also affect your digestive tract, causing you to wake up frequently throughout your sleep.

All of these problems can easily be avoided if you switch to healthier chip options or even overall healthy alternatives (mixed nuts, carrot sticks, celery etc.)

6. Hot Chocolate

This delicious treat is amazing, especially during the winter time, but it’s a combination of everything we mentioned above that causes bad dreams; sugar, dairy and milk. If you still need something warm to put you to sleep try drinking decaffeinated tea or warm water with lemon.

The calming mix of both of those are enough to put anyone into a good sleep… just forget the milk.

7 & 8. Pasta & Bread

Pasta and bread, aka carbs, cause chaotic dreams and that is no shock to us since sugar consumption has the same effect. Carbohydrates actually converts to glucose (a form of sugar) so eating plenty of it before a nights rest is not a great idea.

We recommend to try eating carbs early in the day to give your body time to digest before sleep. Some great alternatives includes eating zucchini noodles, portobello mushroom buns and eggplant pasta etc.  

9. Soda 

It’s hard to believe that so many of us drink soda more than water, we consume multiple cans a day, all containing very unhealthy ingredients and now, soda can also give you nightmares.

Study participants reported experiencing nightmares, even when they drank soda earlier in the day, because of high sugar and caffeine. If that doesn’t steer you clear from soda, it also potentially contains carcinogenic dyes ( like caramel coloring) and sometimes wood resin.

At the end of the day, make sure you eat healthy so you can have happy, positive and relaxing dreams.