The Best way to Sleep up your Creativity
It’s time to use your bed as a way to fuel your mind, unlock your potential and expand your life. By taking your sleep seriously, you can unlock new levels of creativity - and the energy you need to act on them.
Anyone can be creative.
It simply requires regular access to a pool of fresh ideas and the time needed to dream up new connections.
It’s no secret that the most successful people on the planet have access to both, from a bulging bookshelf to a regular routine that safeguards rest. It’s within your grasp to do the same.
The first thing you need to understand is your sleep pattern. Humans typically pass through five sleep stages, with the fifth stage known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement). REM is closely linked to creativity, as that’s when dreaming happens and the brain processes emotions and ideas from the day. It takes 5-15 minutes to pass through each sleep stage, so you start dreaming approximately an hour after you fall asleep. To boost your REM stage, commit to a regular sleep pattern that your body can rely on. Ideally, you want to be dreaming for two hours a night, so that’s eight hours of sleep.
To help your body fall asleep, you can also introduce sleep cues, such as:
No screen time (or blue light) 30 minutes before sleep
No food the hour before sleep
Meditation or music to help you relax
Soft furnishings sleep masks or scents that you can associate with sleep.
Sleep cues are invaluable when travelling away from home or during stressful events and refreshing sleep should be given the same priority as good food or exercise.
The next step to creativity is to help your brain recall those dreams by keeping a sleep journal.
This does not have to be a written diary – you can scribble images or speak into a recorder – but it will prompt interesting imagery. Allow yourself time for this to work: it can take up to eight weeks before the dreams start emerging. The results can be very worthwhile. Stephen King and Salvador Dali are two well-known artists who have used sleep associations in their work, alongside thinkers such as Edison and Einstein.
The final step is to give your brain fresh material to chew on, during dreams.
If you struggle to read books, subscribe to podcasts or video feeds that condense topics into short digests. It’s also possible to find apps that do the same, such as Blinkist. Make time to reach out to acquaintances as you are more likely to find fresh views and ideas outside of your immediate friendship circle. Push yourself to try something new each month, from a different route to the office to an alternative newspaper. Try your hand at a new craft or attend an exhibition at your local museum.