For decades parents have warned their children not to have cheese before bedtime to prevent bad dreams. But researchers have disproved this old wife's tale and found that cheese could actually aid sleep.
The study by the British Cheese Board, involved 200 volunteers in a week-long experiment. The cheese-munching volunteers reported no nasty dreams after a late night snack.
After eating a 20g piece of cheese 30 minutes before going to sleep, 72 per cent of the volunteers slept very well every night, just over two thirds remembered their dreams and none reported nightmares.
Dr Judith Bryans, a nutrition scientist at The Dairy Council, said: "One of the amino acids in cheese - tryptophan - has been shown to reduce stress and induce sleep so cheese may actually help you have a good night's sleep."
Type of cheese eaten affects dreams
But they reported that the type of cheese you choose can affect the dreams you have.
When it came to dream type, it seemed that Stilton caused the most crazy dreams, with 75 per cent of men and 85 per cent of women eating Stilton experiencing odd and vivid dreams.
Examples of these mad dreams included a vegetarian crocodile upset because it could not eat children, and soldiers fighting each other with kittens rather than guns.
Choose cheddar for celebrity dreams
If you want a star-studded dream then your best bet is cheddar. Almost two-thirds of volunteers eating cheddar reported dreaming about celebrities, including Jordan and Johnny Depp.
Or if you are missing old friends then try Red Leicester. More than six out of 10 volunteers eating the cheese had nostalgic dreams about their past, including school days and childhood friends.
British brie tended to give women nice dreams, such as Jamie Oliver cooking dinner in their kitchen, while the men had odd dreams such as having a drunken conversation with a dog.
Sleep well with Cheshire
If you just fancy a good night's kip then Cheshire cheese could be for you, with over half of nights in volunteers eating this type completely dreamless.
Neil Stanley, PhD director of sleep research at the University of Surrey, said: "The Cheese and Dream study is the first study of its kind and suggests that eating cheese before you go to bed may actually aid a good night's sleep.
"It seems that selecting the type of cheese you eat before bedtime may help determine the very nature of often colourful and vivid cheese-induced dreams."
Nigel White, secretary of the British Cheese Board, said: "Now that our Cheese and Dreams study has finally debunked the myth that cheese gives you nightmares we hope that people will think more positively about eating cheese before bed."
It is not clear where the cheese and nightmares myth originated.
It has been linked to Charles Dickens' character Scrooge who blamed "a crumb of cheese" on his night-time visitations in A Christmas Carol.
The myth has also been associated with a 1950s health scare when cheese was found to be problematic for people using a particular antidepressant.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-362101/Sweet-dreams-cheese.html#ixzz1pHzD5Lyn