Denholm Aspy is studying various aspects of dreaming and hopes to uncover how people can gain more control over their dreams.
While we supposedly all have 4-6 dreams a night it is often hard to recall them, especially in their entirety.
When researching the signs and symptoms of vitamin B6 and zinc deficiency Dr Carl Pfeiffer, from the Brain Bio Center in New Jersey, found that an alarming proportion of deficient people couldn't recall their dreams. After supplementing with B6 and zinc, often in doses as high as 1,000 mg of B6 and 100 mg of zinc, dream recall would return.
The vitamin, which is found in meats, whole grains, vegetables, nuts and bananas, has long been thought to help recall dreams and enhance their lucidity but this was based on theory rather than a concrete study.
"Early research suggests that taking vitamin B6 may be able to make dreams more vivid, colourful, emotional and bizarre, and other B vitamins may also help people to remember their dreams or have lucid dreams, which are dreams where people are aware they are dreaming, while they are dreaming," said Aspy.
"While previous research has looked at the link between vitamin B6 and dreaming, my study will be the first to compare the effects of vitamin B6 with other B vitamins in a large and diverse group of people."
The vitamin B dreaming study is additional to research Aspy is undertaking into lucid dreams, which focuses on techniques designed to help people have more lucid dreams.
"In order to have lucid dreams, it is very important to first be able to recall dreams on a regular basis. Taking B vitamins may help people to recall their dreams and have more vivid dreams, which could be very valuable for people wanting to have lucid dreams.
"The average person spends around five 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.
"Previous research suggests that lucid dreaming 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," he added.
Study participants will be asked to take part over a 10-day period. They will be provided with capsules that either contain vitamin B6, a vitamin B-complex preparation with numerous B vitamins or a placebo.
During the trial, the participants will be required to fill out a brief questionnaire each morning, which will later be analysed to determine how the vitamins impacted the style of dreaming and dream recall.
So here’s how to fall asleep and stay asleep with vivid dreams:
- Supplement B6 100mg or a P5P complex as well as Zinc 10mg (and more if no dream recall)
Avoid all stimulants after 4pm and take 2 x L-tryptophan 500mg (if still necessary)
- Eat calcium and magnesium rich foods.