By Chris Mercer
Eating cheese before you go to bed will not give you nightmares but different varieties could help you choose the dreams you do want to have, says a study by the British Cheese Board.
Not one of the 200 volunteers who took part in the British Cheese Board’s ‘cheese & dreams’ study reported having nightmares after eating 20g of cheese 30 minutes before bed.
The industry body said 72 per cent of participants slept very well and 67 per cent remembered their dreams.
The study, believed to be the first of its kind, serves to dispel the old wives’ tale that eating cheese before bed means a restless night in-store. It was endorsed by Neil Stanley of the Sleep Research HPRU Medical Research Centre at the University of Surrey.
Dr. Judith Bryans, a nutrition scientist at Britain’s Dairy Council, added the science bit: “One of the amino acids in cheese – tryptophan – has been shown to reduce stress and induce sleep.”
The research, in an intriguing twist, also found that different cheeses appeared to give participants different kinds of dreams.
Cheddar, officially Britain’s most popular cheese with 55 per cent of the market, enhanced dreams about celebrities. One girl said she dreamt of helping to form a human pyramid under the supervision of film star Johnny Depp.
Stilton was the wild card, especially for women. Around 85 per cent of women experienced bizarre dreams after eating Britain’s iconic blue cheese, including talking soft toys, dinner party guests being traded for camels and a vegetarian crocodile upset because it could not eat children.
Of the others, Red Leicester is likely to have you dwelling on the past and Lancashire will get you focused on the future.
The boring award goes to crumbly Cheshire, which gave more than half its consumers dreamless nights. Cheshire and Red Leicester, however, gave the best nights’ sleep.
So there it is, although with more than 700 varieties of British cheese it seems there is much left to discover.
The British Cheese Board said it hoped to use the results to encourage more cheese eating before bed. Britons currently eat 30g of cheese every day on average, yet continental Europeans eat twice as much.
The Cheese Board says 30g of cheddar contains around 30 per cent of the recommended daily calcium intake for adults.