Did your parents ever tell you not to eat candy before bed because it would cause nightmares? Turns out, that wasn't just a scare tactic. It's not candy specifically that causes nightmares, but eating before bed in general that can cause a problem. Wolfing down food before you hit the hay actually messes with your ability to sleep, and can potentially cause nightmares.
Unfortunately, nightmares are the dreams you are more likely to remember. When you eat, your metabolism revs up to digest the food, and in turn causes your body temperature to rise. The process of digestion increases brain activity, which can interrupt a normal sleep pattern. The effects of the brain activity can interfere with the REM (rapid eye movement) part of sleep, where the majority of dreams and nightmares occur, which is around 90 minutes into sleep. REM is also when your eyelids begin to flutter and your muscles relax because the brain is so active.
Specifically, scientists believe spicy foods are more likely to cause nightmares because they require more effort for the body to digest. They also elevate body temperature, which as stated before, could potentially disturb the brain activity that would generate bad dreams. Still, there isn't a lot of evidence to pinpoint which foods can specifically cause nightmares, but scientists are pretty certain that eating before bedtime is not the best idea. Make sure to eat dinner early enough so a full stomach doesn't interrupt sweet dreams!
Watch the video above to learn more about the science behind which foods can cause nightmares.
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