Ever wake up in a cold sweat, or in a fit of tears, or inexplicably inspired, only to immediately forget the dream that prompted those emotions? If your dream was frightening or disturbing, this might seem a welcome coincidence. But sometimes, your dreams are really cool — because your brain is really cool. And it comes up with some wacky, amusing, or even (pardon the pun) dreamy scenarios.
According to a recent study conducted by a team of dream researchers at the University of Adelaide, what you eat before bed can help. By adding just one nutrient to your diet — vitamin B6 — you are statistically more likely to remember your dreams.
The study participants included 100 volunteers from across Australia. Some participants took a high-dose supplement of vitamin B6 before bed, while a second group took a placebo. They took the pills for five straight days, recording the vividness, bizarreness, emotionality, and color of their dreams upon waking.
In the odd set of results, the team discovered that the quality and content of the dreams remained unaffected by the dosage — but, surprisingly, study participants were able to record far greater detail about their dreams if they’d taken the vitamins.
“My dreams were more real,” one participant wrote. “I couldn't wait to go to bed and dream!”
However, this memory came at a cost — this group also reported lower sleep quality and greater feelings of tiredness. The deeper their sleep, the more shallow their recollection of their dreams.
“This is the first time that such a study into the effects of vitamin B6 and other B vitamins on dreams has been carried out on a large and diverse group of people,” lead study author Dr. Denholm Aspy explained. He noted that further research is needed, since the amount of B6 already present in a person’s diet may affect the vitamin’s impact on their dreams. Additionally, the results are anecdotal — so the team can’t say with certainty that the vitamin caused the increased recollection.
But in theory, Aspy’s research suggests that increasing your intake of foods with vitamin B6 could make your dreams more memorable. So if you’re curious about your subconscious or dabbling in dream interpretation, you might consider switching up your bedtime snacks.
Some foods with vitamin B6 include whole grain cereal, legumes, bananas, avocados, spinach, potatoes, milk, eggs, and so many more. Even red meat and cheese contain a good amount of the vitamin.
So go ahead and try snacking on some spinach before bed. You might remember something wacky. But you should probably avoid these midnight snacks if you’re on a mission for deeper dreams — they could keep you awake.