Research finds that taking B6 makes dreams more real and easier to recall, and could even lead to lucid dreaming.
Dreams are the best. They actually have a bevy of health benefits, and work wonders to release us from the drudgery of reality. I mean, my life in New York City is filled with all kinds of excitement and surreal scenarios, but nothing in my day compares to flying through the stars to deliver watermelon-sized roses to friends in an igloo, like I did last night in my sleep.
While it’s likely that many of the benefits of dreams are inherent in the process, rather than in the recall, there is still a lot to be said for remembering one’s dreams. Just ask Albert Einstein and Rene Descartes, two dreamers who can thank their nocturnal adventures for delivering to them the ideas behind the theory of relativity and the scientific method. And they’re not the only ones who came up with brilliant ideas in their dreams. What if they hadn’t remembered those dreams?Which is what brings us to a study from the University of Adelaide, in which researchers found that taking vitamin B6 helped people recall their dreams.
The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study included 100 participants who took 240mg of vitamin B6 immediately before bed for five consecutive nights.
"Our results show that taking vitamin B6 improved people's ability to recall dreams compared to a placebo," says research author Dr. Denholm Aspy, from the University's School of Psychology.
"This is the first time that such a study into the effects of vitamin B6 and other B vitamins on dreams has been carried out on a large and diverse group of people," Aspy says.
Before the research, many of the participants said that they remembered their dreams infrequently, but reported improvements by the end of the study.
"It seems as time went on my dreams were clearer and clearer and easier to remember. I also did not lose fragments as the day went on," said one of the participants. "My dreams were more real, I couldn't wait to go to bed and dream!" said another.
Aspy adds another benefits to the ability to remember dreams: It can lead to having those elusive lucid dreams. The study notes, "the physiological conditions that give rise to superior general dream recall are conducive to inducing lucid dreams." In lucid dreaming, people are aware that they are dreaming and they can control the narratives.
"The average person spends around six years of their lives dreaming. If we are able to become lucid and control our dreams, we can then use our dreaming time more productively,” Aspy says. "Lucid dreaming, where you know that you are dreaming while the dream is still happening, has many potential benefits. For example, it may be possible to use lucid dreaming for overcoming nightmares, treating phobias, creative problem solving, refining motor skills and even helping with rehabilitation from physical trauma."
"In order to have lucid dreams it is very important to first be able to recall dreams on a regular basis. This study suggests that vitamin B6 may be one way to help people have lucid dreams."
Or at the very least, help people remember that they might have stumbled upon a world-changing invention in the night.
You can see the full study here; and remember, before adding a supplement to your diet, be sure to check with your doctor. Sweet dreams!