The average person sleeps one third of their life – so for someone who lives 75 years, that’s a total of 25 years of sleep! Most people dream several times during the night up to 2 hours or more per night according to studies. So that’s quite a lot of time spent dreaming, perhaps even a total of several years in the course of a lifetime!
Do you think your dreams are insignificant? You may want to reconsider.
Throughout recorded history key leaders and people of influence have understood dreams to be of great value and have tapped into their dreams for direction in decisions, to discover medical breakthroughs, to design inventions, and to conceive other creative contributions to the world.
Volumes could be written detailing record upon record of historically significant dream accounts. However, here are several examples of historically and/or culturally valuable dreams and dreamers that may surprise you.
- Abraham Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln considered dreams important enough to record them in his diary through which we know that shortly before his death, he dreamed that he was assassinated.
- Paul McCartney: The tune for “Yesterday” came to Paul McCartney in a dream.
- Google: Larry Page dreamed the idea for google one night when he was 23 years-old and then spent the middle of that night scribbling out the details. Wanna know more about this one? Just google it!
- Frankenstein: Author Mary Shelley was inspired by a dream which later became Frankenstein.
- Medical Breakthrough in Neurology: Nobel Prize winner for medicine, Dr. Otto Loewi, had a dream in which he came to understand the chemical transmission of nerve impulses which up until then were believed to be transmitted electrically.
- Madame C.J. Walker: The first female American self-made millionaire, C.J. Walker attributed her success starting a cosmetic company to a dream. Suffering a scalp infection made her hair fall out she tried every product imaginable with no results until she had a dream described in the following quote.
“He answered my prayer, for one night I had a dream, and in that dream a big, black man appeared to me and told me what to mix up in my hair. Some of the remedy was grown in Africa, but I sent for it, mixed it, put it on my scalp, and in a few weeks my hair was coming in faster than it had ever fallen out. I tried it on my friends; it helped them. I made up my mind to begin to sell it.”
- The Sewing Machine: Elias Howe credits his invention of the sewing machine with a solution that he saw in a strange dream.
- The Periodic Table: Chemist Dimitri Mendeleyev came up with the periodic table through a dream.
- Theory of Relativity: Albert Einstein first conceived the theory of relativity in a dream.
- Ford Motor Company: The Practice of standardization at Ford Motor company came about through a dream.
- The Twilight Book/Movie Series: The idea for the Twilight Series of books and movies by Stephenie Meyer came to her in a dream.
Several years ago, I met someone who shared that he had seen the plans for several toy inventions while dreaming. He would then wake up and write out the details and sketch the designs he had seen in his sleep. He was able to get his inventions patented and created.
Hearing his story piqued my interest and I have since then begun to pay attention to my own dreams. Although I’ve yet to have a dream of an invention or medical breakthrough, I have found my dreams to be fascinating and through them, I have gained profound insight into my own life.
Through dreams, creative and unusual ideas and solutions to problems often emerge because your “filters” are down and you become more open to think outside the box.
You might say that although you’re asleep, your heart is awake to endless possibilities.
If you do not currently pay much attention to your dreams you might want to tune in and take note of what goes on in your mind during non-waking hours.
I find it helpful to keep a journal and a pen by my bedside so that if I awake in the middle of the night or in the morning from what seems like a significant dream I can quickly write it down before doing anything else. I’ve found that if I wait to record a vivid dream, the details fade from my memory.
Some people like to record their dreams every morning. I personally only record dreams that seem vivid or if I have the feeling that there is some significance to the dream. It’s also kind of fun to give a title to each dream which also makes it easier to remember and find a specific dream that you’d like to go back and reflect on at a later time.
If you’re having a hard time solving a problem in your life, sleep on it. The answer might just come to you in the night.
Sleep well and sweet dreams friends!