Some people have amazing dream recall — their sleeping life is a veritable playland replete with symbolism, surreal imagery, and sometimes a lot of weirdness. Other people blissfully pass every night without remembering a single thing that goes on during their forty winks. If your dreaming life seems elusive, or you’d just like to remember your dreams better, taking a dose of vitamin B6 before bed may help. A new study published in Perceptual and Motor Skills claims that B6 might help you recall your dreams better the next day, and it'd be a super easy way to kickstart the process.
The study, which was published online ahead of appearing in print, included 100 participants from around Australia who took high-dose vitamin B6 supplements before bed for five consecutive nights. “Anecdotal evidence indicates that supplementation with vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) before bed can enhance dream vividness and recall," the researchers wrote in the study's abstract. The study was randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled, which are helpful indicators of a study's scientific chops.
Research author Dr. Denholm Aspy, from the University of Adelaide’s School of Psychology, wrote, “Our results show that taking vitamin B6 improved people’s ability to recall dreams compared to a placebo,” the University of Adelaide’s newsletter reports. This means that remembering your dreams better might just be a short trip to Whole Foods away.
And in case you're wondering whether taking a supplement before bed made the participants' dreams extra ~dreamy~, Dr. Aspy also stated that the 240 mgs of B6 each participant ingested “did not affect the vividness, bizarreness or color of their dreams, and did not affect other aspects of their sleep patterns.”
“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”, Dr. Aspy further noted. But what isn’t clear in Dr. Aspy’s research is how a vitamin B6 deficiency may have an effect on study outcomes. “Further research is needed to investigate whether the effects of B6 vary according to how much is obtained from the diet. If vitamin B6 is only effective for people with low dietary intake, its effects on dreaming diminish with prolonged supplementation,” Dr. Aspy said. You can get B6 in foods like chickpeas, salmon, eggs, chicken breast, whole grains, and fresh fruits and veggies like potatoes, bananas, and avocados, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as, of course, as a supplement.
Much of Dr. Aspy's work to date has centered around the idea of lucid dreaming, aka being aware that you're dreaming while the dream is going on. Lucid dreaming has been connected to lower mental distress, in addition to just generally being a pretty cool thing to experience. Remembering your dreams better is key to being able to lucid dreams, InDaily reports. Dr. Aspy also noted that, “prior to taking the supplements, many of the participants said they rarely remembered their dreams, but they reported improvement by the end of the study.”
But before you pop out to Trader Joe's to grab a bottle of B6, keep in mind that, while the initial results of this study are interesting and super cool, participants were only tracked for five nights, and the results were self-reported, which means that there's a lot we don't know about how this would work in the long-term. While there’s not much risk associated with experimenting with some pre-bedtime vitamin B6 noshing, more evidence is needed to reach a more firm conclusion regarding the effects of B6 on dreaming and potential sleep-time lucidity.