- The act of dreaming is simply thinking about our usual concerns in a different state of consciousness.
- Dreams can be especially helpful for problems that require creativity or visualization to solve.
- By thinking about specific dilemmas before bed, we can increase our chances that we will dream a solution.
As a young mathematician in the 1950s, Don Newman taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology alongside rising star and Nobel-laureate-to-be John Nash. Newman had been struggling to solve a particular math problem: “I was ... trying to get somewhere with it, and I couldn’t and I couldn’t and I couldn’t,” he recalled.
One night Newman dreamed that he was reflecting on the problem when Nash appeared. The sleeping Newman related the details of the conundrum to Nash and asked if he knew the solution. Nash explained how to solve it. Newman awoke realizing he had the answer! He spent the next several weeks turning the insight into a formal paper, which was then published in a mathematics journal.
This article was originally published with the title Answers in Your Dreams.