Hoping for sweet dreams tonight? You might consider nibbling on a wedge of Cheddar cheese before bedtime.
In a recent week-long study sponsored by the British Cheese Board, 200 volunteers each ate about three-quarters of an ounce of cheese 30 minutes before going to bed at night. Contrary to the old wives’ tale, none of the volunteers suffered nightmares and 72 percent reported sleeping well. What really surprised the researchers, however, was that different types of cheese seemed to influence different categories of dreams.
While Brie led to dreams of sunny beaches and chefs cooking up a storm, Stilton brought on unusual encounters (a vegetarian crocodile and soldiers fighting each other with kittens, to name a few). Cheddar enlisted celebrity appearances and Cheshire consistently led to dreamless, restful snoozes.
Cheese contains the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan, but the researchers didn’t venture to explain the cheese and dreams connection. And it being the British Cheese Board, they also neglected to test American cheese.
—Allison J. Cleary