Spice Up Your Nightmares

In Science, Stories by Mark MaskerLeave a Comment

pan with podsThe next time I’m having writer’s block, I’m going to eat a huge habanero burrito right before bed. Not just because I want’ to write an ode to breath mints and tooth paste the next morning, either.
No the real reason is nightmares, my friend. Glorious, messed-up, psyche-scarring bad dreams. Or, as I like to call them, my muse’s evil cousins, chained up in the basement of my mind waiting for night, aka “the Devil’s recess.”
People have debated whether or not spicy food right before bed actually causes nightmares. A recent story on NBCnews.com says there’s some evidence supporting that notion.
The verdict: a definite maybe.
The story’s argument makes sense on the surface, though. A doctor at the Sleep Disorders Center at the Cleveland Clinic said that chowing down on anything too close to sleepy time can trigger more dreams due to increases in your metabolism and body temperature caused by such eating. Increases in both of those things can lead to increased brain activity during REM (rapid eye movement), when people generally dream the most. Since nightmares are bad dreams, well, you see where this is going. None of that points to spicy food being any worse than eating anything else right before bed, though.
You can see the full story here. As for that habanero burrito, if it works too well I’ll heat up some warm milk. Partly to kill the nightmares, partly to to kill the burn in my mouth.

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Managing Editor | Mark is a freelance journalist based out of Los Angeles. He’s our Do-It-Yourself specialist, and happily agrees to try pretty much every twisted project we come up with.

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