Sweet Dreams

The quality of chocolate one consumes before bedtime is linked to the quality of one’s dreams, according to new research by Doctor Fiusse Moore, Director of Nocturnal Studies at Pennsylvania Institute of Health and Wellbeing.

It has been known for quite some time that chocolate induces endorphin, a chemical messenger that acts to calm and instill state of happiness. Now Doctor Moore’s research reveals that this translates into better dreams.

“We engaged a batch of subjects over the course of two months, one on a cheaper chocolate, one on an expensive brand and one on a chocolate scented placebo. The results were consistent that those who consumed chocolate had more positive dreams than those who did not, and those who consumed the higher grade chocolate had a a higher number and quality of dream overall,” he says, “We’re looking at an overall rate, on our scale, of 34% better dreams for those who eat chocolate, with a 12% difference between high quality and low quality chocolate.”

The determination of ‘quality’ is broken down into points for satisfaction, persistence, emotional response, relevance, vividness and excitement. Each category was assessed individually, along with combining the weighted scores into an overall ranking.

“Yes, it is subjective, which is why we took such a large testing sample. I would not call (the results) conclusive, not without further analysis on variables like the subject’s occupation and family situation, but overall I think there is merit in prescribing chocolate, even in pill form, for those suffering from chronic sleep ailments,” he explains, “We have a lot of information regarding quality of sleep, but not so much in terms of quality of dreams. Considering REM makes up about 25%, or one quarter, of our normal sleep activity, I contest that the quality of dreams will affect the quality of sleep.”

Subjects were given a diary to record their dreams, and encouraged to rate them as soon as possible. While the quality of dreams was shown, overall, to rise for chocolate consumers, the rate of actually remembering dreams (persistence) along with the vividness remained constant.

His next studies will focus on how the quality of dreams affects daily activity, and also to investigate foods that have the opposite affect in a bid to see exactly how one’s diet affects their dreams.ChesterLogoSmall

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18 Holes or 40 Winks?

Watching paint dry is more mentally stimulating than watching a match of golf, according to a report released by Neufchatel Research Insititute.

Candidates were given various interactive tasks, such as playing games or reading books, while others were given passive tasks such as watching television or, in some cases, watching paint dry. Each wore a calibrated cap hooked up to an EEG to record the activity of the brain.

While it may come as no surprise that passive tasks produced brain patterns closely resembling sleep, what scientists were not expecting is that watching golf produced similar results.

“In fact the brain was demonstrating cycles akin to phase 2 sleep in the ‘golf’ subjects. They had effectively switched off. The ‘paint’ subjects actually had a higher level of brain function,” says Renee Curvelle, member of the research team.

Delving into the possible causes of the result proved insightful.

“It seems that in a minority of candidates, watching the sport elicited an excited response. For the majority, though, their brain went through stages of annoyance, boredom, then active imagination to relieve that boredom, finally reaching a quiescent acceptance, at which point it shut down. The ‘paint’ watchers, in contrast, did not exhibit the acceptance stage and remained in the imagination stage,” Renee says.

The study hopes to shed light on sleep disorders related to over-stimulation of the brain and develop non-drug alternatives.

“It is possible that, in the future, rather than prescribing sedatives, we might find doctors prescribing a comfy chair and watching mundane sports like golf.”ChesterLogoSmall