ADELAIDE, Australia — Ever find yourself waking up from an exciting dream, but later struggling to remember exactly what occurred? Research shows that taking vitamin B6 regularly before going to bed helps people better remember their dreams the next day.
Researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia say increasing your B6 intake can be as simple as eating more foods that have higher concentrations of the vitamin, or heading to your local pharmacy for a vitamin B6 supplement. Study authors believe higher doses of the vitamin could potentially lead a person to experience lucid dreaming.
“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,” says research author Dr. Denholm Aspy in a news release. “Our results show that taking vitamin B6 improved people’s ability to recall dreams compared to a placebo.”
For the study, Denholm and his team had 100 Australian adults take either 240 milligrams of vitamin B6 or a B complex supplement (which contained a range of B vitamins) immediately before bed for five days straight. Many participants had indicated that remembering their dreams prior to the experiment had been difficult, but those who took the B6 dosages saw vast improvements after the five-day experiment.
“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,” one of the participants told the researchers.
“My dreams were more real, I couldn’t wait to go to bed and dream,” another participant noted.
Will taking a vitamin B6 supplement lead to more bad dreams too?
Researchers report that the B6 supplement didn’t worsen participants’ sleep or leave them experiencing more nightmares. “Vitamin B6 did not affect the vividness, bizarreness, or color of their dreams, and did not affect other aspects of their sleep patterns,” says Aspy.
He says that for people interested in experiencing lucid dreams, which occurs when a person is consciously aware that they’re dreaming within a dream, having greater recall will help them achieve the phenomenon. Lucid dreaming, he suggests, could even help lessen the frequency of nightmares, treat certain phobias, and even rehabilitate 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,” he adds.
For people who prefer not to take supplements, B6 intake can be increased by consuming foods where it occurs more naturally, such as certain fruits (bananas and avocado) and vegetables (spinach and potatoes). It’s also found in whole grain cereals, legumes, milk and cheese, eggs, red meat, and fish.
Aspy says future studies should examine if levels necessary for dream recall would be different for people who consume more or less vitamin B6 from their diets. If vitamin B6 is only effective for people with low dietary intake, its effects on dreaming may diminish with prolonged supplementation,” Aspy concludes.
The study is published in the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills.
This article was first published on May 30, 2018.