We Illustrated 6 People Who Dreamed Their Breakthrough Ideas

A comfy bed and a good night’s sleep are essential when it comes to brain function. Slipping into a freshly made bed with lush, fresh bedding really can set the tone for how easily you’ll settle into a peaceful slumber.

Once you drift off to sleep, there really is no limit to where your dreams may take you. Sometimes unbelievable and seemingly impossible, your dreams really can have a huge impact; changing your mind on something you were sure you were certain of, making you question what you once knew – the power of dreams can be hugely underestimated.

The Mill Shop wanted to explore what impact dreams have had on the world over the years. We’re not talking daydreams either, but full-blown, from the depths of the subconscious kind of dreams… and we were not disappointed!

James Watson – DNA Double Helix


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The discovery and theory of DNA had already been devised, but the shape and structure had eluded scientists. That was until 1953 when James Watson dreamed of two snakes intertwined, paving the way for the familiar double helix structure we see today. However, it was noted by Watson that his scientific masterpiece was almost suppressed; the theory of the double helix seemed so ludicrous at the time, that it was met with hostility and outrage when he first showcased the idea.

Mary Shelley – Frankenstein

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One of the most iconic pieces of horror fiction ever written, it’s said that the story of Frankenstein came to Mary Shelley when she experienced a vivid nightmare. At the time, Shelley was just 18 years old and was visiting Lord Byron by Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Whilst there, it was suggested they write ghost stories to while away the hours of the cold, winter days. Unfortunately, Shelley was unable to come up with anything she considered suitable. That was however until one night when she took herself off to bed and dreamt of the monster that defined a genre.

Paul McCartney – Yesterday

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Probably one of the most recognized and well-loved Beatles songs, it’s claimed by Paul McCartney that Yesterday came to him in a dream. He awoke to find he couldn’t get a melody out of his head so began to play it on the piano. Convinced he’d stolen the melody from somewhere, McCartney began to question those around him within the music industry, but after a few weeks, no one had claimed the tune, so he developed the chords and accompanying lyrics and the rest, as they say, is history.

Larry Page – Google

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You’d be hard pushed to find anyone these days that hasn’t used Google at some point. The biggest search engine on the planet was said to have come to its creator during the early ’90s, in a dream where Page somehow managed to download the entire web and just keep the links. Once awake, Page immediately set about devising the algorithm that would pave the way for the Google we know and love today.

Albert Einstein – Theory of Relativity

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Sticking with defining scientific developments, we’d be foolish not to include probably one of the biggest “accidents” there ever was. Known for his vivid imagination, it’s no surprise that Einstein’s dreams were also pretty intense. So much so, it’s said that his most famous achievement came to him in a dream. Once he awoke, he meditated on the idea and soon formulated one of the most famous scientific theories in human history.

Niels Bohr – Structure of the Atom

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Probably one of the most significant scientific developments of all time, the discovery of the atom structure redefined physics and what we know about the world around us. At the turn of the 20th century, Neils Bohr had set about understanding the structure of the atom but no configurations seemed to fit. After many attempts to make it work, the worry he was fighting a losing battle started to set in, that was until he went to sleep one night and everything just seemed to fall into place. The idea of atoms fitting a similar structure to how the planets revolve around the sun just seemed to make total sense.

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