Nightmares are disturbing or scary dreams that suddenly wake you from deep sleep. They often set your heart beating due to fear. Nightmares tend to occur most often during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, when most of the dreaming takes place.

Nightmares in adults are mostly spontaneous. But they can also be caused by a variety of factors. In this article we will discuss how junk food consumption has been linked to nightmares.

Junk food comprises of all unhealthy foods. It has little to no nutritious value and is literally ‘junk’ to the body in terms of benefits provided. It only causes harm in most cases. It’s not just the spicy junk food to watch out for before you sleep. Ice cream, candy bars, pizzas, burgers trigger more brain waves, causing nightmares. Several things may account for this effect. An obvious possibility is indigestion.

There are three major ingredients of junk food which have effects on dreams, i.e Spice, simple carbohydrates and saturated fat content.

Effect of Spicy food Consumption of spicy food elevates the body temperature A spicy meal at night can often lead to poor sleep. Nights that included spicy meals, results in changes in the sleep patterns. Just before we fall asleep, our bodies begin to lose some heat to the environment, which actually helps to induce sleep. Body Temperature is controlled through a process known as thermoregulation. The temperature of our body is controlled by mechanisms such as shivering, sweating, and changing blood flow to the skin, so that there are minimum temperature fluctuations in body. When an imbalance in temperature occurs, it leads to nightmares and poor sleep. Effect of Fat and Carbohydrate Content of Food

Certain foods may negatively influence dreaming. Carbohydrates in junk foods ingested before going to bed are the main culprit. Eating meals or snacks high in simple carbohydrates during later hours of the night can increase brain activity and body metabolism, which lead to nightmares. Rise in the blood glucose level in the body result in a restless night of sleep, triggering nightmares.

Junk food is something that we should refrain from eating. Now that research has shown a connection between junk food and low quality sleep and nightmares, there is more reason to stay away from it, especially before going to sleep. Nightmares will lead to low quality sleep, leading to low energy levels and slower metabolism. This will further affect health and promote weight gain.