In the measurement world, we set a goal and strive to achieve it. In the universe of possibility, we set the context and let life unfold.
~B. Zander, The Art of Possibility
It doesn’t take a scientist, dietitian, or a metaphysician to know that what affects the body affects the mind, and vice versa. After all, we are what we eat… especially in the hours leading up to sleep.
- Have you ever guzzled a heavy meal and had dreams where you were running through quicksand?
- … had a late night glass of wine and had dreams of falling off a cliff?
- …eaten the leftovers you were saving for lunch tomorrow as a midnight snack—and dreamed you were being served as lunch to a mob of hungry cannibals?
Ok, you may have not had these exact dream scenarios (I hope not), but no doubt, if you pay attention to your dreams, you can relate to the price you pay for late-night snacks.
Here’s the deal, if you must imbibe within two hours of sleeping (or in the middle of the night) think: light protein snack. When we gobble sugary sweets (wine, cake, even bread that converts to sugar) our blood sugar spikes, then drops like a crazed roller coaster, sending our adrenal glands careening into overdrive. And we wonder why we dream on those nights of being chased, standing naked in front of a crowd, or plunging off a cliff in a broken down car! The name of the game for sweet dreams and a restful night’s sleep is to keep it light.
Donna Arand, PhD, clinical director of the Kettering & Sycamore Sleep Center in Ohio says, “…if a person eats any food that upsets their stomach, gives them heartburn, or makes them feel ill or overly full, that can make their dreams unpleasant.”
It’s nice to have Doctor Arand back this up, however if we listen, our common sense tells us that anything we ingest—from sleep meds, to marijuana, to a leg of lamb, to a cupcake—if it causes any type of physiological discomfort it can lead to bad dreams. And we’ve all experienced the way our dreams can set us up to awaken with either a spring in our step on the right side of the bed, or grumbling and lopsided on the wrong side.
If you are already doing well in the “restful night’s sleep department”, good for you! Perhaps you’ll want to up the ante and add vivid dream (and recall) to your dance card. If this is the case then the first thing to add to your daily regimen is vitamin B6.
Chicken (4 oz) gives 0.41g tryptophan
Turkey (4 oz) gives 0.38g tryptophan
Tuna (4 oz) gives 0.38g tryptophan
Venison (4 oz) gives 0.36g tryptophan
Lamb (4 oz) gives 0.35g tryptophan
Salmon (4 oz) gives 0.35g tryptophan
Halibut (4 oz) gives 0.34g tryptophan
Shrimp (4 oz) gives 0.33g tryptophan
Cod (4 oz) gives 0.29g tryptophan
I realize list is a bit meat-heavy. For my vegan friends, here are six more veggie-friendly foods:
Soybeans (1 cup) gives 0.39g tryptophan
Kidney Beans (1 cup) gives 0.18g tryptophan
Pumpkin Seeds (0.25 cup) gives 0.17g tryptophan
Tofu (4 oz) gives 0.14g tryptophan
Cheese (1 oz) gives 0.09g tryptophan
Soy Sauce (1 tbsp) gives 0.03g tryptophan
These foods are best consumed at night with your evening meal, 2-3 hours before bed and around the same time as ingesting your B6 pill.
I hope this helps you to sleep deeply, soundly, and with a smile on your face…and that you awaken with a spring in your step, and with a vividly remembered dream.
Which of the foods listed will you eat to sweeten your dreamtime palate?
Join the conversation! Post your dream on Dreams Cloud, then tweet it using #DreamChallenge.
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