New research from the University of Adelaide has found that taking vitamin B6 could help people to recall their dreams.
The study published online ahead of print in Perceptual and Motor Skills, included 100 participants from around Australia taking high-dose vitamin B6 supplements before going to bed for five consecutive days.
"Our results show that taking vitamin B6 improved people's ability to recall dreams compared to a placebo," says research author Dr Denholm Aspy, from the University's School of Psychology.
"Vitamin B6 did not affect the vividness, bizarreness or colour 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 says.
The randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study saw participants taking 240mg of vitamin B6 immediately before bed.
Prior to taking the supplements, many of the participants rarely remembered their dreams, but they reported improvements by the end of the study.
"It seems as time went on my dreams were clearer and clearer and easier to remember. I also did not lose fragments as the day went on," said one of the participants after completing the study.
According to another participant of the study, "My dreams were more real, I couldn't wait to go to bed and dream!"
Dr Aspy says: "The average person spends around six years of their lives dreaming. If we are able to become lucid and control our dreams, we can then use our dreaming time more productively.
"Lucid dreaming, where you know that you are dreaming while the dream is still happening, has many potential benefits. For example, it may be possible to use lucid dreaming for overcoming nightmares, treating phobias, creative problem solving, refining motor skills and even helping with rehabilitation from physical trauma.
"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."
Vitamin B6 occurs naturally in various foods, including whole grain cereals, legumes, fruits (such as banana and avocado), vegetables (such as spinach and potato), milk, cheese, eggs, red meat, liver, and fish.
"Further research is needed to investigate whether the effects of vitamin 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 may diminish with prolonged supplementation," says Dr Aspy.
Interested readers can find out more about Dr Aspy's work, including new lucid dreaming studies and workshops, via his website: http://www.