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Dreams FAQ Pt.4/4: Research, Help, reading recommendations
Section - 7.2. How do various drugs/nutritional components influence dreaming?

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Top Document: Dreams FAQ Pt.4/4: Research, Help, reading recommendations
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[Section compiled from answers by various people]

[By turner@remarque.berkeley.edu (Michael Turner)]
AMINO ACIDS & SUPPLEMENTS
Saw  some mention of Taurine recently.   B vitamins (6  and 12)?  I've
used Choline+Inositol combo w/some success.
Inositol  is  a B-vitamin (12?)  that  aids in  the uptake of Choline,
which is a precursor  to the neurotransmitter  acetylcholine.  Choline
is present  in lecithin, which is  itself  present in egg  whites, soy
products, and other sources of protein.   One would have to constantly
glut oneself with tofu in order to get the  equivalent of 500mg tablet
of Choline+ Inositol, however.

FOODS
Fish contains some substance that also helps, forget what it's called,
though.   Cheese (esp. cheddar,  for  some  reason) and  bananas to  a
lesser extent, contain  some stuff that can  cause wild  dreams.  Soy,
eggs, etc., as mentioned above.

TEAS and HERBS
Have tried various teas and herbs, but most were either ineffective or
unspeakably vile.  (DON'T like  vivid dreams  of large bugs  burrowing
through my head, thank you very much.)   Would be willing to try again
with some guidance, though.

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
Prescription drugs of various kinds can have dream effects; so much so
that  most  sleep/dream labs have  some  kind of  funding  from pharm.
companies, if they aren't owned and operated by them outright.  Never-
theless, prescription drug labels seldom warn of "nightmares"; perhaps
that all falls under "sleep disturbances."
Barbiturates can suppress   REM.   Don't know  about   tranqs  & anti-
depressants, though.  New Wave antidepressions (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil)
are serotonin- effecting, so some effect might be expected.

LEGAL PSYCHOACTIVE DRUGS
Both caffeine and alcohol  can suppress REM -  odd, since one is a CNS
stimulant, the other a CNS depressant.  Nicotine?  Don't know.

ILLEGAL PSYCHOACTIVE DRUGS
Controlled/illegal substances have  been studied vis-a-vis dreams, but
hazy on the details I  learned.  (Was high at  the time, I  guess....)
THC can suppress REM somewhat.  Various psychedelics effect aspects of
serotonin   metabolism.  Speed  keeps  you  from sleeping; amphetamine
psychosis might be  drug-induced-anxiety   + REM deprivation.    Newer
stuff, such   as illegal/controlled  "smart drugs",  "designer drugs",
etc. I don't  know about, but it would   be surprising if they had  no
dream effects.

[By pryan@prairienet.org (Pamela Ryan)]
Someone  posted a while back  that  a combination of  Choline (600 mg,
equals 1429  mg Choline Bitartrate)  and Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5,
500 mg) boosts dream recall.

[By pzinken@mswe.dnet.ms.philips.nl (P. ZINKEN)]
Point is i am at one side a notorious  coffee-addict, and on the other
side one who  smokes  a joint or   a hookah from  time to  time.  I'll
describe  my  states of dreaming   for both,  because  they are rather
different.

Caffeine:
Under influence of  caffeine (and i mean  rather much, after drinking,
for example, 10 to  15 0.25l cups), i  tend to sleep  very light. If i
get  to dream it  usually is a lucid dream.    Thus, it seems caffeine
changes the  conciousness while  sleeping. Also,  i tend  to have more
nightmares if i drink too much coffee.

Hasjiesj:
There are times when i like to smoke some weed or hasjiesj and then go
to bed stoned  (on  these days i  usually  smoke between 0.5 and  0.75
grams) It does influence the dream  state very heavy. Hasjiesj has the
tendency of relaxing you,  and also has  a  tendency to make  emotions
stronger. While dreaming this results in very real-feeling dreams.
Last night i smoked about a half gram of  Noorderlicht, a kind of weed
grown here in Eindhoven, and after  going to bed  and falling to sleep
(almost instantly) i  dreamt  something rather  silly, but  i couldn't
help thinking it was the real-world instead of a dream.
Thus,  hasjiesj  makes the  dream stronger, more  deep. Problem  is, a
nightmare will  seem more real  too.  Also, it  seems  to make it more
difficult to dream lucid (i am able to dream lucid).

Combination:
Well, this  one is the  one  i get at  the most.  After a long  day of
working  and coffee-drinking,  i sometimes let  myself  go and  make a
blow.  This  results    in  a  combination   of  an   up-drug  and   a
down-drug.   And, strangest  of  things, this   combination does never
result in no-drug.
The caffeine still leaves the property  of easily getting into a lucid
dream, while the  hasjiesj makes the   sleep very deep and  the dreams
very intense. I've yet  to wake up  from  getting into lucidity  while
under influence of hasjiesj.
Overal conclusion from my side thus is, drugs do have a certain effect
on dreaming. And there  is quite a big  difference between  uppers and
downers.

[By bsbyun@uswnvg.uucp (Bryan Byun)]

My  method isn't the  healthiest,  so  it's not   something I  want to
experiment on often, although reading your FAQ  reminded me of it, and
I might try it again sometime.
Anyway, this is the exact method I use:
1. Stay up late,  past your normal  sleeping time, until you are very,
very tired.  Do not get into bed until you are ready to sleep.
2. Just before getting into bed, take from 2-4 caffeine tablets of the
dosage included  in Vivarin brand  stimulants (I don't  know the exact
dosage), depending on your tolerance for caffeine.

It's my  personal  theory that what happens   is that your body  falls
asleep and  begins the REM cycle...then,  the caffeine stimulates your
brain (or at least irritates it) so that  your conscious mind awakens.
Normally, so would your body, but if  you sleep late enough, your body
will be so fatigued  that the  fact of your  brain awakening  won't be
enough to rouse it; and, if you take the right amount of caffeine, the
stimulant effect will  be just enough to  wake  up your mind,  without
forcing it completely awake.

Anyway, I  don't know   if I would   recommend  this as a   method  of
attaining lucid dreaming, but it has worked for me.

[By ot]

The Kava Kava root, a traditional drug from the Polynesian islands, is
little known but highly recommendable. It is  said to take away stress
and tension, very  mildly tranquilizing while clearing  and sharpening
thoughts.  Also told to  help dreaming, especially  for lucid dreaming
exercises. From my own  experience, it causes  a deeper but shorter(!)
sleep with more intense dreams.

[The following holds  for Germany, I  don't think other countries  are
much different.] Kava Kava root is available from pharmacies, although
not a  "standard" drug and sometimes  it takes time for the pharmacist
to obtain  supply. At least one company  makes capsules with Kava Kava
root extracts ("Kava ratiopharm"). They are sold as a stress reliever.
Though  not  as effective  as the whole  root,  perhaps the  method of
choice for many - the traditional way of chewing  the roots for a long
time does not suit Western people, who typically find the taste rather
bad.  Attention: do not   combine   with  alcohol, it  increases   the
undesired effects of the latter (same with barbiturates, etc.)


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Top Document: Dreams FAQ Pt.4/4: Research, Help, reading recommendations
Previous Document: 7.1. What are the various gadgets to help you in lucid dreaming?
Next Document: 7.3. What about the dream experiments on alt.dreams?

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