Feeling a little uninspired? According to Sleep Health Foundation Chair, Professor Dorothy Bruck, sleep is super helpful for a burst of creativity.
It’s very common to hear people pass off their morning brain fog as a result of anything but lack of sleep. What most people fail to realise is that lack of sleep plays a pivotal role in memory, mood and thinking.
Research suggests that people wake up clear headed and productive in the morning, because they have recently woken up from REM sleep. People experience the longest duration of REM sleep right before waking up. During this time, the brain is highly active but the body is not and you’re more likely to experience vivid dreams in this time.
In addition to REM sleep, when acetylcholine, a chemical of the nervous system is released into the brain, this causes the hippocampus part of the brain together with the neocortex, to enter a flexible state. This flexible state is responsible for high cognitive functions such as new ideas, problem solving and thinking with a new perspective. In other words, creativity.
Creativity can be defined as the understanding of novel ideas and relations; originality and flexibility are two key features of creativity. Chakravarty (2010) suggests that for creativity to occur, we need to be able to access and engage in divergent thinking, novelty seeking behaviour, and suppress hidden inhibitions to some extent.
According to Professor Buck, Sleep plays important role in creativity, helping us find new solutions to problems by looking at things in a new way while we sleep. “You may have heard people say they will ‘sleep on it’ in order to solve a problem or make a decision. The process of sleep will often enable a better solution.”
Ultimately, sleep has a significant impact on creativity. When you’re sleeping a full 8-9 hours daily, minimising caffeine intake and sleeping in a quiet room with a relaxed mind and comfortable mattress you can access your REM sleep and wake up inspired.