Saturday, March 4, 2017

Sleep to Nurture Creativity

During the first stage of sleep known as half-sleep, rapid, electrical activity is replaced by slower, higher voltage activity. Sleep specialists cannot pinpoint the precise moment of falling asleep because the transition from relaxed wakefulness to sleep happens gradually.

Two types of waves (alpha and theta) occur together on the sleep monitor for several minutes, each
seeming to fight for attention. In the transition, called hypnagogia, the individual is a passive spectator of random associations, neither awake nor asleep.

Artists, scientists and inventors such as Charles Dickens, Albert Einstein and Johannes Brahms experienced moments of creativity during times of half-sleep. Thomas Edison napped in a chair holding steel balls. When he dozed, the balls dropped onto pans on the floor and awakened him suddenly. This aroused ideas of discovery.

Sleep scientists do not understand the causes and implications of these creative surges. They search for some connection between creativity and alpha-theta brainwaves or between creativity and intense visualization. 

Most theorists believe the half-sleeping mind, removed from rational categories, can integrate opposites and accept uncertainty.  For example, as he rose out of bed one morning, Einstein realized space and time are not separate entities. Our cognitive restrictions loosen in half-sleep allowing for unusual and illuminating associations.
The space between sleep and the edge of awakening remain mysterious and symbolic. Meanings shift and deepen to create possibility. Taking advantage of sleep's nuances may nurture creativity.

Keep a notepad by your bed and notice thoughts and feelings during sleep time. Do you feel creative notions appearing if you awaken suddenly?  

Write your first thoughts and feelings upon awakening. 

Notice connections and imagery for additional writing. 

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