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    1. #1
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      Weird mathematical dreams after studying for exams?

      Hey guys, I just wanted to share something that has been happening to me for a long time, and was wondering if anyone else experiences this.

      I'm a 4th year college student majoring in electrical engineering, so I deal with math all the time. Whenever its midterm or finals time, I typically procrastinate, and cram as much information into my head as possible. After doing so, I always have these crazy math dreams the night before the test. It's as if I'm having a dream with no visuals; just my mind scrambling a chaos of information, trying to make sense of a certain problem.

      Typically, in these dreams my brain locks onto a certain problem or concept I studied, and tries very hard to convince me that I am all WRONG. The fact that I don't recall many visuals, leads me to believe I'm in some sort of a half-sleep. I will wake up a few times throughout the night where I'm very convinced that I've figured out something highly important regarding the material I studied. Then, after a few stressful seconds after awakening, I began to realize that all the math going on in my head in the dream makes NO SENSE whatsoever.

      There's probably a good explanation for this, but it's always been pretty interesting to me. I'm sure it has something to do with stress. Am I alone in this, or have any of you experienced this when preparing for an important exam?

    2. #2
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      I know exactly what you are talking about. I have experienced everything you've written. I have actually used the phrase 'maths dream' before!

      I'm a fresher reading mathematics. Although it doesn't happen much at uni, before I came, I had to study extremely hard for a exam called STEP to get in, which required solving novel questions for which you essentially had to be totally fluent in the syllabus. I had maths dreams all the time then.

      Like you say, you get locked onto some abstract algebraic concept, and then seem to spend all night trying to 'escape' from it. In my experience the sleep seems to be of a very poor quality; when you 'wake' up you're not quite sure if you've slept or if you were just hallucinating for hours.

      An example I remember clearly is when, the day before, I think I'd thought briefly about how when you're writing answers you always have to use an equals sign; it makes no sense to just write a single mathematical expression. That morning when emerging from sleep, I found myself unable to get out of bed for hours, because I couldn't just 'get out of bed' without putting it equal to something. Obviously it makes no sense, but this is the kind of thing that happens.

      I reckon this is a phenomenon limited to maths. The dreams tend to be based around intuition of abstract things (largely algebra), which doesn't really apply to other subjects.

    3. #3
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      I experienced similar mathematical dreams throughout college (finished my BSEE in '09). After intensive studying, I'd sometimes dream about complex, nonense-math, particularly related to whatever I last saw on the alarm clock. I've spent many dream hours trying to solve alarm clock "equations". Though I also could never recall definite visuals from these dreams, I remember thoughts of algebraic symbols intermixed with all sorts of numbers (some transposed/backwards/upside-down), like I was trying to find patterns in the last time I'd viewed on the alarm clock. When I'd finally wake up, I'd realize that the alarm clock hadn't actually presented me with a problem to be solved...it was just a clock.

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      These sound interesting to have. Looks like I'm gonna get studying a bunch to see if it'll show up in my dreams!

      Let's see, next class is Biology. I think I'll HAVE to study this much to do good. We'll see. Wish I could give insight or further commentary on these kinds of dreams, beyond that I want to have a few.
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    5. #5
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      I can only speak for myself, but these dreams weren't exactly fun. It was like doing math for 2 hours straight. Then again, I've never liked math.

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      Ive had this right before and major algebra tests. Only i didnt convince myself i was wrong, my mind locked in on certain concepts i just didnt understand and started solving problems that i didnt get in real life. after waking up, i tested what i learned in my dreams on certain problems i didnt get. And, it worked. I understood most of the problems i went to bed thinking over.

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      Quote Originally Posted by massive View Post
      I experienced similar mathematical dreams throughout college (finished my BSEE in '09). After intensive studying, I'd sometimes dream about complex, nonense-math, particularly related to whatever I last saw on the alarm clock. I've spent many dream hours trying to solve alarm clock "equations". Though I also could never recall definite visuals from these dreams, I remember thoughts of algebraic symbols intermixed with all sorts of numbers (some transposed/backwards/upside-down), like I was trying to find patterns in the last time I'd viewed on the alarm clock. When I'd finally wake up, I'd realize that the alarm clock hadn't actually presented me with a problem to be solved...it was just a clock.
      Oh the dreaded alarm clock! I experience these digital clock patterns as well. And I agree with you in that these dreams are definitely not fun in any way, and really ruin my nights sleep. I feel like crap the rest of the next day!

    8. #8
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      This kind of reminds me of something I read about severe brain trauma patients. They would have very odd "text" dreams or halucinations, revealing things like the secret to life. They get up and write it down or tell someone only to realize later that they just wrote scribbles or spoke gibberish.

      Also when I was a kid I got really addicted to Sid Mier's Civilization. One time I was sick and stayed home for an entire day playing it. That night I had a fever and was going in and out of sleep and a strange dream that the game was happening on my pillow. It was almost exactly the way you descibed this, but with civilization.

    9. #9
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      Have a lot of them myself. I think it comes from being an engineer.

    10. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by massive View Post
      I can only speak for myself, but these dreams weren't exactly fun. It was like doing math for 2 hours straight. Then again, I've never liked math.
      Well, I enjoy math. In fact, I miss last semester's algebra class, wish I used it more in my everday.

      I'd enjoy such dreams I imagine!
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    11. #11
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      yeah even am an engineering passed escpecially EE(electrical and electronics),i too experienced these weird mathematical dreams...wherein i m attempting a unsolvable complex problem and am totally messed up with that huge problem...again and again i m getting a small solution and i am unable to apply it to solve it...and my mind is like locked sort of in that same problem and i also cant come out of it!such dream is like pool of some complex,non sense mathematis involving complex summations,integrals and manipulations...the biggest joke is i dont even have the question with me and i dunno what the heck m solving in that

      even during fever i get terrible dreams.

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