What Do You Value More: Food or Dreams?

A friend told me today that she ate a special brownie last night, which resulted in her having a very scary nightmare.

No, it wasn’t that kind of special brownie. It was a sugarless, flourless brownie. It was probably harmless, but my friend wasn’t used to eating those ingredients, so it’s reasonable to think they would have an impact on her dreams.

The story made me think of two outlandish, hypothetical questions about possible connections between food and dreams and how we value those aspects of our lives:

  • If your favorite food was guaranteed to give you a nightmare after you eat it, would you still eat it?
  • If your least favorite food was guaranteed to give you an incredibly pleasurable dream after you eat it, would you occasionally eat it?

For the first question, I’ll use chocolate as my favorite food, though there are a lot of dishes/ingredients I love. As much as I value a good night’s sleep, nightmares aren’t strictly bad–I always wake up feeling grateful that they aren’t real. So that paired with my love of chocolate makes me choose chocolate over nightmare-less sleep.

For the second question, there are several foods I could choose, including sauerkraut, olives, and American cheese. These foods are incredibly difficult for me to eat, but if the result was that I get to spend my sleeping hours flying of my own volition in a world filled with board games, kittens, and Amy Adams, I’d have to at least try it a few times.

How would you answer these questions?


5 Responses to “What Do You Value More: Food or Dreams?”

  1. I suffer from several sleep disorders (Late onset sleep cycle, sleep apnea) and just sleep abnormalities. Before last year when I finally started getting treatment, I was sleeping on average 2-3 hours at night…usually between the hours of 4 or 5 and 7am– for possibly as long as 20 years. One of my other issues is that I absolutely hate dreams. Not nightmares…just any dreams. It may be because I so rarely hit REM sleep that when I do dream my brain is so unaccustomed to it that I cannot get over the surreal quality of dreams, particularly mine which, when related to others seem particularly vivid and memorable. So even “nice” dreams strike me with such dissonance that my waking mind has a hard time dealing with them after the fact, but I’ve had incredibly upsetting ones that were hyper-violent or involved death of loved ones or just generally really weird that they’ve lingered with me for weeks.

    So yeah…I’ll pass on dreams of any kind. Woof.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Ray: Thanks for sharing your perspective, especially since it’s so different from mine. I’m glad you’re starting to get more sleep…2-3 hours a night is really rough.

    • Emma says:

      Same! But I’m lucky to be a superstar sleeper so I don’t anticipate the bad dream disrupting my life in any way besides the dream itself (trouble going to sleep, falling back asleep etc)

  2. Jon Vallerand says:

    For me, it would probably be no to the nightmares, and yes to the sweet dreams. Not that I value them more, but because they’d come after, and that leaves a stronger impression.

    Then again, maybe before, I’d be too tempted and eat that chocolate, leaving the nightmares for future me. And then I’d regret it right after.

    My point is, it would most probably ruin the experience of the best food, and heighten the experience of the worst (tomatoes), because not only does it come with sweet dreams, but knowing it does would make the experience less problematic.

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