Solving Problems While you Sleep

Summary: Your mind may be engaged in solving a complex problem that has you flummoxed during the day. Your dreams could give you the answers to problems, answers that have eluded you during the day.

I've been solving problems while I sleep for as long as I can remember. I didn't realize until recently that others can be taught how to solve problems while sleeping, and I'll explain how you can try it to see if it will work for you, too.

Most recently, I spent a day unable to solve a complex programming problem. I gave the problem some thought for about 20 minutes before I went to sleep, and the moment I awoke the next day, the correct answer was clearly the first thought in my mind. I don't do this every night, but I do rely on this trick a dozen or so times each month.


Your problem may involve relationships, or it may be about that complicated work project. On the other hand, it might be about looking for something that you are unable to find. You might be surprised to know, however, that in those peaceful, restful hours of sleep, dozing is not all you do. Your mind may be engaged in solving a complex problem that has you flummoxed during the day. Your dreams could give you the answers to problems, answers that have eluded you during the day.

Some Famous Examples of Dream Solutions

Dreams have often provided the missing link that solved critical problems. Elias Howe was working on creating an automatic sewing machine and he was stumped by the design of the needles. Needles used for hand sewing have a hole at the bottom of the needle, but this method wouldn't work in his sewing machine. One night Elias Howe had a dream that he was surrounded by people with spears. Oddly enough, the spears had a hole at the top, instead of the bottom. This was Howe's solution for his sewing machine. He created a sewing machine with a needle that had a hole at its tip and the rest is history.

When Carlos Santana was making his musical comeback in the late 1990's he received instructions through his dreams and meditation about the need to work creatively with others. As a result on his CD 'Supernatural', more than half the productions were collaborations. His CD was a big hit. Rumor has it that Russian Scientist Dmitri Mendeyelev dreamed of the table that was to later become the periodic table of elements.

Using Dreams to Solve Problems

The power of dreams is for everyone. Everybody can use dreams to solve everyday problems. The important thing to remember is to fix the problem in your mind at the time of going off to sleep. Keep the intent to solve the problem in your mind. One way is to follow these steps.

Get comfortable before bedtime. Think about the problem at hand, the one you must solve. Turn the problem into a specific question such as “where is my engagement ring”
After writing the question down slip the question into your pillow ca

se. Another way can be to write the question in a special dream diary.

Before dozing off, repeat the question in your mind several times. After waking up make a note of any dreams you may have had. It does not matter that they do not make much sense. Examine the dreams for any answers to questions you have put forth. Often the answers are hidden in clues in your dream. For example if your question was “where is my engagement ring” and you dream about standing on a carton and looking for something, perhaps you should look for the ring in an elevated place.
Another trick for using dreams to solve problems is the glass of water trick. For this all you need is a pen, paper and a glass of water. Here is how it works. Before going to sleep state your problem and then drink half a glass of water. Go off to sleep. Then, just after you wake up drink the other half. Stay in bed and wait for any dream snippets, inner voices or plain gut feel. If you do not get any, do not be disheartened. Go about your day. The solution to your problem could hit you at any time. If this does not work the first day, try it again. It is possible that the dream solution hits you on the second or third day.

The Power of Dreams is For Everyone

At the University of Maryland, dreams are seen as a key therapeutic tool. In one experiment, 60 people were recruited to study the therapeutic effect of dreams. Subjects were divided into three groups. One group analyzed their own dreams. The second group analyzed a troubling event in their lives. A third group analyzed someone else's dream as if it were theirs. Those who examined their lives through the prism of their dreams were significantly more satisfied than other groups. Dreams could unlock the answers to personal issues.Waking up with an alarm is not a good way to remember dreams. Waking up naturally from REM sleep however is a good way. Before you go off to sleep give yourself an auto-suggestion. Tell yourself that you want to remember your dreams. Prime yourself in this manner. Keep a paper and a pen next to your bed. That way you can easily write the dreams while they are still fresh on your mind when you awake.

Start with an easy one – like how to fit your sofa in an overstuffed room. Work your way up to complex problems like childhood issues with your parents. Frame your problem in the form of a question. The last thing you do before nodding off should be to ask yourself this question. At the time of dozing off you are in a very powerful moment almost like in a hypnotic trance. A question that goes into your mind at this time often elicits answers. If possible keep an object representing the query in your mind on a bedside table. Another way is to visualize the question graphically. Upon waking up, lie in bed for a while. Wait to see if a dream is lurking in your outer mind. If it is, follow it backwards as we generally remember our dreams in reverse.

Problem solving in dreams does not happen overnight. It takes time and effort to master the art of solving dreams. However, as you get better at it, you will find it is an enjoyable way to solve problems.

Tomorrow will be here before you know it. Another day, another chance to solve problems.