The theory of relativity
Some of the most influential and successful creative ideas of all time were inspired by the subconscious while dreaming. A field of cows inspired Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, which, according to a survey by meditation and sleep specialists calm.com, is one of the most important ideas that ever came out of sleep. In his dream, Einstein was telling a farmer about cows being surrounded by an electric fence, but the farmer saw something different. Einstein awakened with the realisation that the same event could vary from different perspectives, and the theory of relativity began to take shape. Want to follow in Einstein’s footsteps? Here are 8 ways to get smarter while you sleep.
The Periodic Table
Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev was exhausted from three days of trying to classify the 56 elements when he decided to sleep on it. “I saw in a dream a table where all the elements fell into place as required. Awakening, I immediately wrote it down on a piece of paper,” Mendeleev wrote in his diary, “Only in one place did a correction later seem necessary.” What sort of things do you dream about? The answer can be very revealing about you.
The sewing machine
Elias Howe was exhausted from his attempts to develop a machine that could stitch together fabric. Asleep, he dreamt that cannibals were preparing to cook him as they danced about waving spears – and the spears had a hole at the sharp tip. Eureka! That’s when Howe got the idea to pass the thread through the point of the needle instead of the end, explains author David Jones in his book The Aha! Moment: A Scientist’s Take on Creativity. Howe’s invention changed the way clothing was manufactured for centuries, unlike these inventors who came to wish their inventions had never seen the light of day.