Did you know that sleep is an integral part of your thinking process?
In his book, Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams*, neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker explains how sleep not only restocks your immune system, fine-tunes your metabolism and regulates your appetite, but also recalibrates your emotions and processes your thoughts.
For a long time sleep was a mystery.
And science had no answer to the question of what sleeping is good for, what it serves or why being deprived of sleep has such devastating health consequences.
Getting enough sleep improves your mood and energy almost instantly, regulates your hormones, slows the effects of ageing and prevents diseases like diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Within your brain, sleep enriches a whole host of functions, including your ability to learn, memorise and make logical decisions.
And dreaming creates a virtual reality space which your brain uses to meld past and present knowledge.
This is the seat of creativity in you.
“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.”– Thomas Edison
Take 10 minutes before bed.
And write down the things you want to accomplish. Or a problem you’re trying to solve.
As Edison recommends, make some requests to your subconscious. Usually, the more specific your request, the better an answer you’ll get.
You can try the 7 Things I Don’t Know-exercise to set your brain some specific tasks to work on.
Use a pen and paper because this allows your mind to triple its focus and ensures it’s less distracted.
As you sleep, your brain will work on the task you set before it.
Then take 10 minutes when you wake up.
Research has shown that your brain, and specifically the prefrontal cortex, is most active and readily creative immediately after sleep.
Your brain has been hard at work all night, clearing out the input it was given the day before, sorting and storing all the information and making contextual and temporal connections.
Rather than checking your smartphone first thing in the morning, like 80% of people aged 18-44, who check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up, grab your journal.
And just dump your thoughts in it for several minutes.
This way, you’ll shift your focus from input (checking notifications or new posts) to output and be able to tap into higher realms of clarity, learning and intelligence.
As your brain is most attuned for creativity first thing in the morning, start by writing just whatever comes to mind.
If you had written down questions or goals the day before, you can direct your thoughts in that direction, though you don’t have to directly think about them.
Soon, you’ll be getting ideas on how you can improve your life and your relationships, gain clarity on the goals you want to achieve and insight about what you could do to solve your posed problem.
This can take some practice.
If you’re not used to writing a journal, this can be tricky.
You can begin by simply setting up a journaling habit, to begin with, if doing it first thing in the morning seems too difficult.
When you want to journal in the morning, you should also make it easy for yourself.
Where do you usually go first thing in the morning? Can you set up your journal and pen there already so that starting is as easy as sitting down?
Don’t be discouraged if it takes practice before it gets easier.
With consistent effort it’ll become more fluent in the art of journaling and achieving creative and intuitive bursts will become almost automatic.
Thankful is a free journaling course that I created for you when you want to feel happier and more grateful in life.
It’s a daily journaling email course where I send you a new email every day for 21 days with journaling prompts and knowledge about the science of gratitude and happiness.
When you’re ready to be guided through twenty-one days of journaling, you can sign up here.
PS – Just to keep things above board: links marked with an asterisk* are affiliate links, which means if you buy through that link they pitch a few cents into my coffee jar for referring you. It’s at no extra cost to you and I only recommend that which I love myself! Thank you for reading 💛