Does Eating Spicy Food Trigger Nightmares?
I absolutely love spicy food - but before bed? Heck no!
Unless you enjoy horror, haunted, and other frightening things, nightmares aren't very pleasant experiences. A bad dream can ruin your entire day, no matter how old you are.
Dreams and nightmares have been analyzed by neuroscientists, psychologists, and oneirologists (scientific study of dreams) for many years. Humans have been studying and interpreting dreams for millennia - finding patterns and connections, deciphering what dreams tell us about ourselves, and what causes them. Modern laboratory dream studies were first conducted in the 1950's when rapid eye movement (REM) sleep was discovered.
Scientific research has shown that nightmares can be triggered by a number of incidents, such as trauma, anxiety, depression, stress, grief, major life changes, the content you consume, and even the food you eat. It is believed that particular foods can cause nightmares, especially spicy foods.
A 2015 National Library of Medicine study found that participants who ate spicy foods before falling asleep were much more likely to have disturbing dreams than those who did not.
About 19% of these subjects reported distressing, creepy dreams after eating spicy food. However, as it turns out consuming almost any type of food too close to bedtime can provoke nightmares!
According to Dr. Charles Bae, MD, a sleep medicine doctor at Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center, eating naturally increases the body's metabolism and temperature, which leads to a more active brain while sleeping. The result - more vivid dreams and maybe a rough morning!