Dreaming = free and fun. Done correctly, it can fill those apparently useless sleeping hours with adventure. For the benefit of mankind, we have tested the following notorious dream-causing foods, to see which has the most spectacular results:
This is probably the most famously dream-inducing food in popular myth. To test this thoroughly, we ate a large amount of Gorgonzola pizza shortly before bedtime.
Result: Tedious dreams which are mostly administrative – having a lot of visitors turn up without enough beds, people whose invitations I haven’t replied to, packing suitcases for a plane that’s about to leave, etc.
Conclusion: Quantity, but not quality.
Eating chocolate before bed seems to be widely associated with having bad dreams.
Sounds like a myth invented by unscrupulous, tooth-protecting parents. Sceptical, the subject ingested a combination of “double chocolate” mousse, hot chocolate, and a few truffles to be on the safe side.
Result: Surprisingly, that parental threat turns out to be completely true. An almost text-book nightmare follows: a figure suddenly sits up in the next bed, in the style of Whistle and I’ll Come to You, and says, “I am The Undertaker.” It’s all downhill from there.
Conclusion: Listen to your mother.
Spicy food is often blamed for vivid dreams. We ate at a Sichuan restaurant, where all the food is exceptionally fiery.
Result: A cascade of dreams. I am at a banquet wearing a gaberdine mac which I realise will infuriate the king. I am being chased so turn into a bird, and fly over a pub where I overhear the owners discussing the secret recipe for their special burgers (they use coconut). My fortune is made! And so on.
On the minus side, my fellow guinea pig complains that he’s spent the whole night fighting imaginary gatecrashers at a student party.
Conclusion: Impressive, but may require a lie-in afterwards.
There’s a reason why the surrealists loved lobsters: they and other shellfish have long been thought to cause wild dreams.
A recent trip to the French seaside gave us the opportunity to test this out.
Result: A night packed with entertainment and strangeness. Robots made of blue-and-white patterned porcelain; people playing boules on a dark river with candles in paper boats; using a saw like this:
Conclusion: Deluxe dreaming. Highly recommended.