For Good Sleep, Count Cheese Instead of Sheep

For Good Sleep, Count Cheese Instead of Sheep

Vintage Cheddar: Courtesy of the British Cheese Board

Vintage Cheddar: Courtesy of the British Cheese Board

Whenever I travel to Britain, I am amazed an how many types of cheese I see in stores, restaurants, and on hotel menus. Britain actually produces more than 700 varieties of cheese – no telling how many kinds I’ve sampled. For a cheese lover like me, traveling to Britain is truly cheese heaven. I can still remember the first time I went to England and had breakfast in the hotel lounge. They served the traditional English breakfast of sausage, fried toast, tomatoes, and, what looked like, porridge. None of these things sounded appetizing to me at 6 AM after an 8-hour flight. But then the skies parted and low and behold I saw the cheese table. There must have been at least a dozen varieties ranging in color and texture. So many cheeses, so little time! The only problem was, I really couldn’t tell a swiss from a cheddar. I proceeded to sample just about every cheese on the table and loved every morsel.  

There’s no mistaking it, the British love their cheese. According to the British Cheese Board, cheese is bought in 98 percent of British households and each Britain eats an average of  5 pounds of cheese per year. Now that’s a lot of cheese!

Cheshire: Courtesy of the British Cheese Board

Cheshire: Courtesy of the British Cheese Board

But, you don’t need me or the British to tell you that cheese tastes good and that it is quite nutritious (it’s loaded with calcium and protein). Yet, it was the British who discovered that eating cheese may actually help you sleep better. A 2005 study by the British Cheese Board found that people slept better after eating a 3/4 ounce piece of cheese before they went to bed. The study also found that different cheeses will cause different types of dreams. Want to dream about a celebrity? Eat Cheddar. Fancy a dream about your childhood or an old friend? Eat Red Leicester. Or, if you want a dreamless sleep, then Cheshire cheese is for you.

I say, if cheese really does help you sleep, put me down for two blocks of white cheddar!

Do you have a British cheese story to tell?  Let me hear it!

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