Can a bite of cheese really haunt your dreams? It sounds hard to believe, but some folks think nibbling on Gouda or Swiss before bed can bring on the bedtime scaries.

So, can cheese give you nightmares?

There’s no evidence that noshing on cheese will cause nightmares or unleash monsters in your dreams.

While not exactly a scientific discovery, a 2005 survey conducted by the British Cheese Board did find different types of cheese gave participants different types of dreams. But none of the dreams were bad ones.

If anything, the dairy in cheese might cause some stomachs to rumble, impacting sleep quality.

Was this helpful?

Let’s dig in to the extra-cheesy deets on everything cheese and dreams 🧀.

scary cheese arrangement for nightmares headerShare on Pinterest
caughtinthe/Getty Images

People have a lot to say about cheese and dreams. It could be because in some cultures, cheese is often the last food eaten before bedtime. (Looking at you, French and Italian folks).

Eating delicious, but heavy, fatty foods with cheese right before bed can give you indigestion and mess with your sleep. And if your sleep is disturbed, you might remember your dreams or nightmares more than usual.

While no one knows for sure where the cheese + bad dream legend originated, there are a few potential culprits that fueled the myth:

  • A Christmas Carol. In the classic story, Scrooge blames his nightmare on “a crumb” of cheese. (The more you know 💫.) But he also blames “a blot of mustard,” an “undigested bit of beef” and “a fragment of an underdone potato” for his nightmares.
  • “Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend” comic strip. This 1900s comic strip featured a spicy, cheesy dish called Welsh rarebit that provoked unusual and disturbing dreams in those who ate it. A 2015 research review inspired by the comic strip found that 18 percent of participants said eating certain foods influenced their dreams — and more than 39 percent of that group blamed dairy. But this survey doesn’t prove cheese actually does anything to your dreams.
  • The British Cheese Board dream survey.When the British Cheese Board released a 2005 survey on how certain cheeses influenced participant dreams, the media ate it up. But no one actually reported nightmares, and again, the study didn’t prove any links between cheese and dreams.

For cheddar or worse, peeps still can’t seem to stop pointing fingers at cheese for their dreams.

Can cheese make you sleep?

Ever heard of drinking milk before bed to get some shut-eye? Cheese contains tryptophan, an amino acid often blamed for that post-Thanksgiving dinner, sleepy feeling from turkey 🦃.

Your body uses tryptophan to produce serotonin, sometimes dubbed the happy hormone, which plays a key role in sleep. In a small 2012 study, researchers found that elderly participants who ate tryptophan-enriched cereal experienced better sleep, antioxidant capacity, and mood.

Since cheese contains tryptophan, too, who knows — maybe it’ll help you sleep tight instead.

Was this helpful?

Set your mind at (ch)ease — there’s no proven evidence to suggest that eating cheese before bed can give you weird dreams or nightmares. The research on the subject is extremely limited, flawed, and the facts just aren’t there.

In 2018, Burger King did play up the myth by releasing a Halloween burger called the “Nightmare King.” BK even claimed the cheesy, beefy, neon-green offering was “clinically proven to induce nightmares.” 🤔

According to the BK study’s lead doctor Jose Gabriel Medina, the combo of protein and cheese lead to “an interruption of the subjects’ REM (rapid eye movement) cycles, during which we experience the majority of our dreams.”

Though the study concluded that the burger increased participants chances of having a nightmare by 3 times, it wasn’t peer-reviewed and was clearly crafted for marketing purposes. So, we’ll need cheddar evidence than that to say for sure.

So, what exactly are folks saying a brie or a cheddar does to your dreams? Here’s what participants had to say in the British Cheese Board’s 2005 survey about their trips to cheeseland + dreamland.

Note: There’s obviously an element of bias here — and it’s not exactly a scientific discovery — so take these findings with a grain of salt (or salty cheese).


Though no one had nightmares, 85 percent of women and 75 percent of men had odd and vivid dreams after eating this cheese — including about a vegetarian croc and an elevator that moved sideways.

Nacho sure what’s up here!


If you want Beyoncé or Harry Styles to show up in your dream, you might want to have some cheddar before you tuck in.

According to the survey, the participants who ate cheddar “tended to dream of celebrities.” Maybe because they have lots of cheddar? 💰

Red Leicester

According to researchers, 63 percent of folks who ate Red Leicester said they dreamt about their past: revisiting schooldays or long-lost friends.

Since it’s a popular English cheese, maybe it’s a nostalgia thing.

British brie

Women who ate brie had nice dreams like chef Jamie Oliver cooking dinner in the kitchen or relaxing on the beach. Sounds ideal, amiright?

The men, though, had obscure dreams — including having a drunken convo with a dog? 🐶


Career-minded? Lancashire might be it for you. About two-thirds of Lancashire participants dreamt about work — but only about 30 percent of those dreams involved their actual jobs.

So, maybe you can dream about being an astronaut instead — or a Prime Minister like one of the participants.


Want a restful night’s sleep? Supposedly, half the Cheshire participants had dreamless nights. Seventy-six percent said these sleeps were “very” or “quite good.”

Even if dairy can’t make your dreams scary, it may cause plenty of other probs if you’re lactose intolerant.

Peeps with this intolerance don’t have enough lactase, the digestive enzyme needed to digest milk sugar (aka lactose). MedlinePlus says that about 65 percent of people are lactose intolerant to some degree, so it’s not uncommon to experience gnarly gastrointestinal symptoms after eating dairy — day or night.

Lactose intolerance symptoms can include:

Unless you’re lactose intolerant, you should be able to eat cheese before you sleep without probs. The idea that eating cheese before bed gives you nightmares or impacts your dreams is a myth.

Keep in mind, though, that eating any large, fatty meal before bed (like a cheeseburger or mac and cheese) can cause indigestion or abdominal discomfort.