Why does too much cheese make you have vivid dreams?
Cheese is a rich source of neuroactive compounds including the monoamine called "tyramine", which has provokes the release of adrenaline.
When we go to sleep a small part of the brainstem, called the locus coeruleus, switches on and through its connections with other regions of the brain triggers rem (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is associated with dreaming.
The name locus coeruleus is latin for "blue place" and if you cut across the brainstem with a knife you can clearly see the blue-coloured nerve cells that comprise this region. The cells are pigmented by neuromelanin, the neurological equivalent of a suntan. Neuromelanin is made as a biproduct in the synthesis of the nerve transmitters noradrenaline (a relative of adrenaline) and dopamine. These chemicals are derived from tyrosine, the same stuff used to make melanin in skin cells.
So the locus coeruleus, which triggers dream-sleep, uses noradrenaline as its nerve transmitter. Since cheese contains tyramine, which has the ability to potentiate the action of adrenline-like nerve transmitters, it is likely that eating cheese before bed fools the brain into thinking that there is more adrenaline waashing around than normal, making dreams more vivid.
Famously, when some of the first antidepressants were invented they worked by blocking the breakdown of monoamine / indolamine nerve transmitters including dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin by inhibiting an enzyme called MAO (monoamine oxidase). But when patients on these drugs ate cheese it could provoke periods of life-threateningly high blood pressure and a racing heart rate, through the uncontrolled release of adrenaline as there was no MAO to breakdown the tyramine in the diet.
Cheese is not only dairy, but a source of protein. You can have 3 1/2 ounces of cheese per week. If you eat too much cheese it can bind you and cause constipation. Nightmares to multiple dreams have been linked to eating cheese too late in the evening, so if you want it, use it for lunch and dinner only or in a morning omelet.
It depends... I can say from personal experience that it does not help. For me, I remember significantly less of my dreams when I smoke. The chances of me actually realizing I'm dreaming after a night of smoking are almost non-existent. However, I have friends that claim their dreams are much more vivid and can easily become lucid after smoking.
Yes, or at least, I do. I had gas at the dentist when I was a child, perhaps five times, and I dreamed every time. The dreams I had were different in style to normal dreams, they were more vivid and I remembered them more easily. Once I decided beforehand to try to control my dream, and I was successful (this is known as "lucid dreaming"). I have had much less success during "normal" dreams…
That depends how you make them. Potatoes on their own should not be considered protein, but rather a starchy carbohydrate. If you make your mashed potatoes with butter, a little milk and parmesan cheese like most people, you'll have as much protein as the milk/cheese contain. It all depends how much you add.