HEALTH EDUCATION: Does Eating Cheese  Give You Nightmares And Harmful to Health?

HEALTH EDUCATION: Does Eating Cheese Give You Nightmares And Harmful to Health?

Ever since Charles Dickens wrote about a crumb of cheese affecting Ebenezer Scrooge’s sleep in his popular book, A Christmas Carol, myths have abounded stating that eating cheese before bed can affect our dreams. In fact, there are almost as many stories about how cheese can affect dreams as there are types of cheese.

If you’re still believing that cheese before bedtime gives you nightmares, grab a slice of Gouda cheese and listen up. Because the British Cheese Board in 2005 carried out a scientific survey to dispel this myth for good.

So feel free to carelessly gorge on cheese on toast every night at 11.30pm without fear of repercussion except indigestion.

However, its not about nightmares that we are talking – its about dreams. It seems there is a connection between cheese, dreams and nightmares. Because a much less widely reported outcome of this research was that the type of cheese you eat before bed can actually alter your dreams.

According to a new study by the British Cheese Board, different cheeses can give you different types of dreams.

Dreams can be controlled with cheese. How? Find out by reading the summary of the British Cheese Board’s findings:

Cheese Study No. 1: No nightmares noted

According to British Cheese Board study, eating cheese before bed doesn’t give you nightmares. After eating a 20g piece of cheese thirty minutes before going to bed, 72% of the 200 participants had a good night’s sleep, 67% remembered their dreams, and not one of them said they experienced a nightmare. Instead, the researchers reported, they had ‘pleasant night time fantasies’.

Cheese Study No. 2: Different cheese = Different Dreams

One of the findings of this cheesy study was that different types of cheeses seemed to give participants different kinds of dreams.

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Blue Stilton Image:


Around 85% of the women who ate blue Stilton before bed, reported they had crazy or whacky dreams – some of which Nigel recalls ‘One of the volunteers said that she dreamed of a vegetarian crocodile who was upset because he couldn’t eat children. And another one dreamed that they had soldiers fighting with each other with kittens instead of guns.’


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Cheddar Image:

If you want to dream of Ryan Gosling, go for good old Britain’s most popular cheese, Cheddar, the most eaten cheese in this country, and there seemed to be a theme there where the volunteers were dreaming of celebrities,’ says BCB. One girl reported a dream that involved a human pyramid and Johnny Depp. Definitely not a nightmare then.


After the study, the British Cheese Board was pleased to report that eating cheese before bed actually helped people fall asleep. According to Dr Judith Bryans, a nutrition scientist at The Dairy Council explained it by stating: Cheese contains an amino acid called tryptophan. It is an amino acid found in various foods, including milk, chicken, turkey and peanuts. The body uses it to produce serotonin, a chemical messenger associated with stable mood and sound sleep. Sometimes it has been suggested that this is why people who celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving with roast turkey often feel sleepy after lunch – that and the alcohol, of course. Studies on tryptophan as a sleeping pill have shown mixed results, but for some people it has been shown to reduce stress and induce sleep so cheese may actually help you have a good night’s sleep2.


A couple of other popular British cheeses were munched on in the study, including Red Leicester and Lancashire.

Image result for red leicester cheese pic

Red Leicester Cheese Image: Dickinson & Morris900 

Ol’ Red is all about the throwback dream.The study showed that the participants who ate the Red Leicester cheese before bed had nostalgic dreams,  that people were having about things that happened in their childhood or with their families.

Image result for lancashire cheese pic

Lancashire Cheese Image: Purcell’s of Barnoldswick

This is depressing Lancashire cheese fans. ‘As far as the Lancashire was concerned, they’d seem to dream about work,’ said BCB. With one participant dreaming that he was the British Prime Minister, which could be considered a nightmare in some circles. Unfortunately, that’s where the interview finished, so we’ll never know what happens to your dreams when you eat the whole damn cheeseboard.

Cheese Study No. 5 A bit of a snore

While the findings by the British Cheese Board aren’t considered conclusive, there is some evidence to show that eating a little bit of something often helps people get a better night’s sleep3. However as cheese is a dairy snack it can cause nasal congestion, which can increase the risk of snoring. A better option, apparently, is food that releases its sugar slowly into the bloodstream, like pears or apples.


But bear in mind that this was a survey conducted by the body that promotes cheese in the UK, one that goes by the wonderful name of The British Cheese Board. There is no doubt that it was a clever piece of marketing, but as a scientific study it had fundamental flaws. There was no control group, so we do not know, for instance, whether people who did not eat cheese in the evenings had more or fewer bad dreams.

For argument’s sake, though, let’s explore whether there is anything in cheese that could promote bad dreams. Eating heavy meals with a high fat content late at night can give you indigestion, which in turn disturbs your sleep. Disturbed sleep often involves more nightmares, or at least the memory of more nightmares, because you wake more often and remember them.

In some countries the last course eaten in a big meal is cheese, which might suggest that cheese leads to nightmares, but it could of course be the quantity of food, rather than cheese in particular which led to indigestion. It is worth noting that as well as blaming the crumb of cheese for his apparitions, Scrooge also blames “an undigested bit of beef, “a blot of mustard”, or possibly “a fragment of an underdone potato”.

But there is another substance contained in cheese which might be pertinent here – tryptophan, amino acid that give you stable mood and sound sleep.

Extreme response

The idea that cheese has strange effects on the mind could come from a very real, but rare phenomenon known as the “cheese reaction”. There is a class of older antidepressants called monoamine oxidase B inhibitors, which reduce the breakdown of chemicals such as serotonin. These drugs can be effective in treating depression, but they have an unusual and very serious side effect. They prevent the breakdown of the substance tyramine, which occurs naturally in cheese. If tyramine builds up it can cause blood pressure to rise to levels high enough to increase the risk of heart problems or stroke.

The cheese reaction can prove fatal, so although this antidepressant is used less commonly now, people taking it are given strict warnings to avoid cheese and other foods, including cured or pickled products. The problem is that the amount of tyramine contained in foods is highly variable; when patients experiment they might find they are fine on one occasion, but have a serious reaction the next.

So, incomplete as the evidence is, there is no solid proof that eating cheese at night causes nightmares. What we can say with more certainty is that if you eat immediately before going to bed, or have over-eaten, then indigestion might give you a restless night. But it could be the case that a little cheese might even help you sleep more soundly.

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All content within this column is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. The is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this site. The is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites. Always consult your own GP if you’re in any way concerned about your health.



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What food is more classic than an all-American hamburger? An all-American cheeseburger. Americans love cheese, as does the rest of the world. The cheese made in the United States is often heavily processed, though. As a result, it is not necessarily the healthiest food to digest.

Image result for burger with cheese inside picImage: MyRecipes

Sure, cheese has a lot going for it. It is dairy and thus a great course of calcium and even protein. Cheese is a filling food, helping people to consume smaller portions. That cheese is flavorful and comes in so many varieties for a wide range of prices also enhances* its popularity. People eat cheese as a snack as well as with many meals -at any time of the day. Sometimes cheese is even the main bulk of the meal. Since it is so processed, though, the disadvantages of eating cheese might outweigh the benefits for some people.

8 good reasons you might consider cutting the cheese out of your regular diet:

1. Cheese can Contain Bacteria Transferred from the Cows It Comes From
Although it can be a little weird to think about, cheese is a byproduct of cows. Made from cow’s milk, cheese can contain anything stuff that the cow it came from had in its system –including synthetic hormones and bacteria.

It has long been suspected that synthetic hormones and bacteria transferred from cows to humans contribute to health problems, including memory and mood problems along with infections. Further, because cheese is made from milk that has not always been pasteurized, it may contain more bacteria than other cow products. For instance, it may harbor puss from a cow’s bladder infection.

2. Cheese is Really, Really Fattening
To many people, cheese seems like a healthy food. People on diets often eat cheese as a “light” snack to get the dairy in for the day. Unfortunately, cheese wrecks diets. Full of saturated fat, cheese instigates weight gain. The body also tends to digest cheese in such a way that it turns into stubborn, hard to lose* fat.

Apart from causing weight gain, saturated fat is also known for wreaking havoc in the cardiovascular system. It can significantly influence cholesterol levels as well, which can be a bad for a person’s health.

When choosing to eat cheese, it is best to consider the fat content of each type and select accordingly. Mozzarella cheese, for example, only contains about 6 grams of fat per serving. Cheeses like Brie and Sharp Cheddar tend to contain more like 9 grams of fat.

3. Cheese is Very Salty
Another nutrient cheeses are often full of is sodium. Though necessary to the body, sodium is often consumed in excess. Regular consumption of cheese can increase* the amount of sodium a person eats drastically. Unfortunately, the excess sodium can cause several health issues, including:

4. Cheese Can Contribute to Cardiovascular Issues
As a result of the high-fat nature of many kinds of cheese, eating cheese regularly can significantly contribute to obesity and thus to cardiovascular issues. Add in the amount of sodium that most cheeses contain and it’s clear that cheese can really be terrible for heart health.

By affecting the cholesterol levels and a person’s weight, cheese consumption can also put people at higher risk of heart disease. Regular consumers of cheese may also be at higher risk of diabetes and other similar issues. Since high sodium levels and saturated fat put people at greater risk of heart attack, cheese can increase* a person’s risk significantly.

5. Cheese Making Can Be Considered Inhumane
Many kinds of cheese are manufactured with rennet. This is made by taking an enzyme from the lining of a calves’ stomach. Unfortunately, the calves must be very young when the enzyme is harvested. As a result, cheese making in some regions and processes involves the slaughter of young calves.

6. Cheese Can Ruin Your Diet
On top of being really fattening, cheese can be a complete diet-wrecker because it is commonly paired with other carbohydrate-rich foods. Generally served with bread, crackers, and other “heavy” carb dishes, cheese often contributes to packing on the pounds. Think about it –one slice of pizza with an average amount of cheese can be 2/3 of a person’s daily recommended saturated fat limit. Considering the fat in cheese is also a “bad” fat that tends to stick around, it really isn’t surprising that cheese contributes so much to the obesity epidemic.

7. Cheese Can Contain Mold Secretly
One of the hidden dangers of cheese is mold. Sure, some people eat moldy cheese as a delicacy. Many people also just cut moldy chunks off of cheese wedges and choose to eat the rest. However, mold can be hiding in the cheese and be invisible to the naked eye. The mold might even be manufactured, sprayed on during processing for added flavor and scent.

For people who are sensitive to mold or whose digestive tract is upset may it, eating moldy cheese without knowing it can be unpleasant or even dangerous. This is especially the case if mold is accidentally included in cheeses because the machines it was processed in were not cleaned properly. This happens easily and can lead to infections and other illnesses for cheese-lovers.

8. Cheese Can Make You More Susceptible to Cancer
Some people have suggested that cheese, along with meat, might be bad for people’s heath as a cigarette. Studies on the topic have revealed that the consumption of excessive protein, as occurs when people eat a large and consistent amount of cheese and meat, is risked to links of cancer and to shorter lifespans.

The risk of cancer increases* even up to four times more for people who consume a high-protein diet of cheese and/or meat. Protein obtained from plants like beans, however, do not significantly raise the risk of cancer. The amount of protein a person should eat from cheese is also related to their age, indicating that cheese can be consumed in moderation at any age, but should be limited during many stages of life as well.


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All content within this column is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. The is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this site. The is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites. Always consult your own GP if you’re in any way concerned about your health.


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