Adelaide researchers have conducted the first large-scale study into the effects of vitamin B6 and other B vitamins on lucid dreaming.
The randomised study involved participants taking 240mg of vitamin B6 immediately before going to bed. Prior to taking the supplements, many of the participants said they rarely remembered their dreams, but they reported improvements by the end of the study.
“Lucid dreaming is when you know you’re having the dream while the dream is still happening,” said research author Dr Denholm Aspy, from Adelaide University’s School of Psychology.
“This has many potential benefits, like treating nightmares, creative problem-solving, recreation, maybe even things like improving skills or for rehabilitation purposes.
“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.”
Similar research has previously been carried out on a group of 12 people, but the new research, which used 100 people, provides more conclusive evidence.
Vitamin B6 increases levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, which regulates the type of sleep people experience during the night.
“Taking vitamin B6 increases levels of serotonin near the start of the night and serotonin is what increases deep sleep, so B6 actually suppresses dreaming in the first part of the night,” Aspy said.
“When that effect wears off, the brain tries to compensate and then you get what’s called a REM rebound effect where you have intensified dreaming activity during the second half of the night.
“The timing is important because most dreams happen in those last few hours of sleep.”
Aspy said researchers would now look at combining vitamin B6 with lucid dreaming techniques.
One technique – the “mild technique” – involves waking up after five hours of sleep and then repeating the phrase “next time I’m dreaming I want to remember that I’m dreaming”.
“You repeat it over and over again until you form the intention in your mind and then you return to sleep for the final few hours of sleep,” Aspy said.
“If the technique works you’ll enter the dream and you’ll remember the intention that you formed.
“You can basically do whatever you want once you’re in that lucid dream.”
Vitamin B6 is readily available for purchase at pharmacies. It also occurs naturally in foods including wholegrain cereals, fruits, vegetables, dairy and fish.
Aspy said he recommended people take vitamin B6 if they are interested in becoming more avid lucid dreamers.
“Just be careful not to do it every night and not take too high a dose,” he said.
“Stick with the dosages that you can get over the counter and, as always, talk to a doctor if you have any concerns or if you have any existing conditions.”
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