How to use Dreams to improve learning

You are able to make difficult tasks easier, improve the rate at which you take in, retain and understand information, and generally improve your mental capabilities – all through the power of dreaming. So says a group of Harvard scientists in a newly published study.

Of course – those who have already investigated the art of lucid dreaming must now be saying to these same scientists: “Told you so!” The fact is that these scientists are finally realising what lucid dreamers have been saying for years.

The basic principle to what the researchers are saying is this: you work on a mental problem or challenge late at night. You then go to sleep and have a good night’s rest. During the night your unconscious mind actually gets to work. In the morning when you wake up, and attempt to solve the same mental challenge – and suddenly it seems easier! The reason being, say the scientists, is that the power of dreaming frees up the power of the mind to apply itself to tasks in a way that is only “dormant” whilst you are awake.

However, lucid dreamers claim that the power of dreaming goes even further than what these scientists have been able to show in their experiments. History is replete with a number of creatively-minded people – artists, writers and others – who have attributed their inspiration to dreaming.

The author Robert Louis Stevenson consciously caused his dreams to inspire him with new plots for his novels. This is how he got the idea for “The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde,” as well as a number of others. In fact, Stevenson’s approach was that he characterised the powers of his unconscious as “brownies” (helpful spirits) and then told them to send him a message in his dreams – which is basically Magic by any other name.

John Coltrane “dreamed up” his masterpiece, A Love Supreme. Indeed, Paul McCartney has stated that he believes in the existence of magic simply because his greatest song, Yesterday, came to him in a dream. It is even said that many of Albert Einstein’s great ideas came to him through dreaming. So really the latest research by these scientists is not surprising at all but simply validates what many people have intuitively know for a long time.

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  1. Pingback: How to use dreams to improve learning – part 2 « Sol Ascendans – The Website of Alex Sumner

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