After a long day, it’s finally time to jump into bed. One sheep, two sheep… Before you know it, you’re chasing your mother-in-law down a never-ending spiral staircase, and hold on—that’s not Pam, that’s a zombie pirate with hooves for feet. Never fear: We know what might be causing your weirdo dreams.

RELATED: 4 Techniques for Controlling Your Dreams

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Eating Cheese

Might wanna cut back on that night cheese, Liz Lemon. A study by the British Cheese Board suggests your favorite snack could be to blame for that strange dream you had last night. Even odder, the type of cheese you’re eating could cause different types of dreams. Eat cheddar and you’re more likely to dream about celebrities. Eat blue cheese and you might have dreams with lots of odd visuals. (Um, one study subject dreamed about a vegetarian crocodile who was mad because he couldn’t eat children. So there’s that.)


Taking Melatonin

It’s a popular sleep aid, but this supplement increases the number of REM cycles you have in a night, which can also cause extremely vivid dreams, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports. Try taking a lower dose to see if the weird purple penguins stop ice-skating on your ceiling.

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Snacking Before Bed

It’s not an old wives’ tale: Eating too close to bedtime increases your body temperature and kicks your metabolism into high gear, which ups your brain activity during REM sleep. And the folks at the University of Montreal say there’s a direct correlation between how late you eat and having nightmares. So set a 9 p.m. food curfew.

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Falling Asleep with the TV On

It’s not just that the contestants of The Bachelor will infiltrate your mind while you sleep—dreams can also be triggered by sounds, so any dialogue from the show you fell asleep to could be causing dreams, too. Turn off the TV (and your computer and phone, while you’re at it) at least an hour before bed.

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When your mind is bogged down with work and family woes, your brain is much more likely to stay active while you sleep—that means increased dreams and nightmares, the Mayo Clinic says. Take slow, deep breaths before bed and set your worries aside until morning. Otherwise you’ll spend the whole night trying to remember your middle school locker combination.

RELATED: This Magical Drink Put Us to Sleep in 15 Minutes

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