Can You Dream Your Way to Your Dream Body?
What if it were possible to dream your way to your dream body? I’m always on the lookout for new dieting and weight loss tips, and here’s one that’s out of this world. Literally. It involves creating a banquet of your dreams—while dreaming— and eating the rich foods you summon forth with great abandon. Talk about a sinless diet!
Tantalizing research suggests that dreaming about eating the foods we crave can actually convince the brain that we have, in fact, indulged in those foods. That’s all well and good. But it gets better. Provided you dream in enough detail—and truly savor the experience—you may actually wake up feeling sated. And, believe it or not, you might actually be less hungry and less likely to indulge in that particular food, which could have a real-world impact on body weight.
Sounds crazy, not to mention way too good to be true. But that’s evidently the remarkable power of the mind. People who engage in vivid, detailed dreams, in which they gorge on favorite foods to their heart’s delight, may actually wake up feeling less hungry. They may also be less likely to actually indulge in those rich foods when the opportunity arises in the real world. By savoring every dripping, gooey, delicious dream bite, subjects apparently tricked their brains into believing that they’d already eaten their fill—and sent the signals that convinced the waking body that hunger was decreased.
It’s also true that the amount of sleep you get impacts body weight. Research has consistently shown a link between too little sleep and overeating. This effect may actually be related to the amount of REM sleep you’re getting each night. REM, or rapid eye movement sleep, is the recurring stage of sleep during which we dream. Various studies have shown there’s a link between getting too little sleep and eating too much. In other words, as obesity has risen in America, sleep duration has gone down. Too many of us are getting too little sleep. And sleep deprivation evidently promotes greater hunger, which results in…well, you get the picture.
So the next time you dream of food, don’t slink away in shame into the dream shadows. Dig in, and savor every decadent bite. The more vivid the experience, and the more you indulge, the more likely you may be to eat less in the real world. And that’s where it really counts, after all.
Taheri S, Mignot E. Sleep well and stay slim: dream or reality? Ann Intern Med. 2010 Oct 5;153(7):475-6. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-153-7-201010050-00012.