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Can Food Cause Bad Dreams?

By Sara Butler

You already know that what you choose to eat is important for your health, but what about your dreams? It turns out there’s a chance that snack you had before bedtime is the reason why you had that crazy dream your boss was Darth Vader and you got fired with Yoda chasing you from the building. Researchers have found there is a correlation between what you eat and what you dream. Here are some foods that may be leading you to unsettling dreams at night.


Dairy does contain tryptophan, which can help your body produce serotonin which then helps you to fall to sleep. But researchers have also found that dairy products such as cheese aren’t great for dreams. So, it might be a great idea to not have that leftover slice of pizza before bed, and not because of how it might impact your waistline.

Hot Sauce

Caliente! Some sleep studies have found that people who ate spicy foods before bed had a more difficult time falling asleep and staying asleep. People have also reported more stressful dreams when they eat spicy food. This connection has some scientific backup too!

When you eat spicy food it can alter your body temperature. An increase in body temperature can alter the dreams your brain forms when you’re in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. This doesn’t mean you have to give up the spice to get better sleep, it just means you should cut off any spicy food at least 6 hours before bedtime.


You should already know alcohol is a sleep killer – it doesn’t allow you to get as much deep sleep as your body needs to rejuvenate. It turns out that it’s also a dream killer! That’s right, if you drink too much before bed you might have more to fear than just a bad hangover, you might have bad dreams too. Alcohol has been found to cause more stressful dreams and nightmares.

Bread and Pasta

Eating bread and pasta may make you feel like you’re ready to fall asleep, but they’re also more likely to cause you bad and upsetting dreams. The carbohydrates in bread and pasta transform into sugar once digested -- and sugar has also been found to be a harbinger of bad dreams. Make sure you eat your carbs earlier in the day so your body has a chance to digest them before you try to go to sleep!

If you have been plagued by bad dreams lately, take a look at what you’re eating in the hours before bedtime – you might just find the culprit behind those crazy Darth Vader dreams.

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