The most famous example is the benzene ring. Scientist August Kekule was working on the molecular structure of benzene. He dreamt of atoms forming a snake and curling about until the snake’s tail was in its mouth. Success! Success created because the prefrontal lobes that control censorship – in this case keeping Kekule from thinking outside of visualizing straight lines of atoms – are much less active (and controlling) during dreams. So, you’ve got a problem to solve – why can a dream help and how can you dream up a good solution.
Why dreams can problem solve. Dreams problem solve in two ways. The first is to presenting a solution visually, dreams are richer in visual-spatial imagery. The second is what happened to Kekule, the dream lets you think outside of conventional wisdom.
Step 1 for dream problem solving. If you can put something next to the bed that makes an image of the problem. For an artist, it could be a blank sketch pad. Problem with a person? Put their picture there. If you are that scientist, put the half-finished project on your bedside table. If you can’t represent the problem with an object, skip to step 2.
Step 2 for dream problem solving. Put your problem front and center in your mind before bed and push everything else away. If you can think of the problem as an image, go to sleep picturing that image or the problem.
Step 3 for dream problem solving. Relax! Don’t jump out of bed when you wake up – almost half of any dream content is lost if you are distracted right away. Stay in bed without doing anything else – no grabbing that cell phone! If you feel an emotion, concentrate on it and whole dream may come flooding back.
Does it work? When Barrett tried this with students in a weeklong study, yes! The students followed the protocol and about half dreamed of their problem and 25% came up with a solution. Not bad odds!
If you have problem – try to solve it with a dream. If you have a problem sleeping, talk to Brooklyn Bedding. With two layers of supportive latex foam, you’re going to get the cool, comfortable sleeping surface (in your favorite comfort level) that puts you in dreamland in a hurry!