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1.5. Do substances like drugs, herbs and foods affect our dreams?


This article is from the Dreaming FAQ, by "Lars Rune Foleide" larsrune@sf.telia.no .

1.5. Do substances like drugs, herbs and foods affect our dreams?

Yes. During REM protein-synthesis is highly active, so your body needs
high levels of amino acids. The neurotransmitter in use during REM is
Acetylcholine. It is made from the B-vitamin Choline and the vitamin

But there are more vitamins that can make us dream more. The body can
synthesis the B-vitamin Choline. But in order to do that it needs
vitamin B-12, Folic acid (B-9), the amino acids Methionine and
Serine. Vitamins B-12 plays a role in the activation of amino acids
during protein formation. It has also the ability to increase the
production of Acetylcholine and normalize neurotransmissions in the

Vitamin B-6 is another important vitamin. It is a co-enzyme, which
participates in over 60 enzymatic reactions involved in the metabolism
of amino acids. It is involved in the production of several body
proteins and neurotransmitters. It is particularly indispensable to
the action of amino acid neurotransmitters, like Serotonin, Dopamine,
Melatonin, and Norepinephrine, which effect brain function. It is also
involved in the metabolism of Selenium, Calcium, and Magnesium.

Melatonin is a neurotransmitter/hormone that is only active during
sleep. It is being metabolized when you fall asleep from Serotonin, a
neurotransmitter that is being metabolized from the amino acid
Tryptophan. Melatonin increases non-REM sleep and makes it easier for
you to fall asleep. But it has also an interesting rebound effect that
gives more frequent and vivid dreams. The vividness might even give
you a lucid dream.

The amino acid Tryptophan can be metabolized into Serotonin and Niacin
(B-3). Vitamin B-6 promotes this conversion. Taking Niacin or Nicotine
patches will increase the Serotonin production. The more Niacin you
take, the more Serotonin is produced and more Melatonin is
metabolized. Calcium and Magnesium promotes Serotonin production as
well. Zinc is in every cell of the body and is a part of over 200
enzymes, so Zinc supplements may increase REM-sleep, too.

DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol) is a very important B-vitamin. It flows
easily through the brain's blood barrier, where it is converted into
Choline. During REM, Choline is added the coenzyme A (Vitamin B-5),
and we have Acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter in use during REM.
5-HTP (5-Hydroxy-TryptoPhan) is a Serotonin precursor that also flows
quite easy through the brain's blood barrier. It is a good alternative
to Melatonin.

Vitamin C helps metabolizing several amino acids and hormones. It is
also important to have adequate levels of amino acids. A few important
ones are Phenylalanine, Tyrosine, Methionine, Cysteine, Serine and

Using Tobacco, Alcohol or Coffee prohibits the absorption of necessary
vitamins and amino acids. Depressants suppress REM sleep, one is
Alcohol, but taken in right doses can create a rebound effect so that
you wake up remembering many vivid dreams. And anti-depressants may
increase dream recall. Caffeine will make you sleep lighter, will
increase your dream recall and maybe even give you a lucid
dream. Herbs like Valerian, Mugwort, Mullein, Kava Kava, Dittany of
Crete, St. Johns Wort, Calea Zacatechichi, Salvia Divinorum,
Scutellaria Indica, Licorice Root, Vervain, Jasmine, Honeysuckle,
Datura, Bee Pollen, Catnip, Hops, Scullcap, Mimosa, Lavender, Damiana,
Withania Somnifera, Passionflower, Chamomile, Cardamom, Gotu Kola,
Ginkgo Biloba, Ibogaine, Verbena, Rose, Cinnamon, Marigold, Nutmeg,
Peppermint, Holly, Yarrow and Anise may help you dream more, recall
more or even have a Lucid Dream. Make sure you know more about these
herbs before you use them: some are to be used in pillows, some are to
be smoked, some are to be used in tea, etc. And finally we have
psychedelic drugs like DXM that may induce Lucid Dreams. Some of the
drugs and herbs can be addictive, and be poisonous if taken in too
large doses. Crystals and Magnets may also affect your dreams.


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