Elias Howe (1819 - 1867) an American inventor had worked for years on a machine to mechanize sewing, but couldn't get it right. Then one night he had a dream in which he was attacked by savages. They gave him an ultimatum: made a machine that sews or die! As the dream warriors raised their spears, Howe noticed holes through the tips of the weapons. That was the answer: a needle with a hole at the point instead of the shank!
Artists too have credited dreams with inspiring some of their best work. Samuel Taylor Coleridge claimed the entire poem "Kubla Khan" came to him in a dream. A dream supplied Robert Louis Stevenson with a plot twist for The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
But it is questionable whether dreams alone are ever the sole source of creative solutions or expressions, and it is hardly advisable to abandon all conscious effort at problem solving in favour of letting dreams do it.
As the Nobel Prize winning biochemist, Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, said, "My work is not finished when I leave my workbench. I go on thinking about my problems. My brain must continue to think about them when I sleep because I wake up with answers to questions that have been puzzling me." Dream solutions are best arrived at after a liberal amount of good, old-fashioned, wide-awake work.