In my innovation workshops I touch on the fact that many great ideas come from your dreams. When you apply my creativity system you will discover how to nurture those dreams and harness them to generate more breakthrough ideas. I’ve been keeping a dream diary for many years and I would highly suggest it.

Sleep increases creativity

Inventors and artists have been using dreams as a creativity stream forever. I’ve written scripts based on dreams where I could see the whole plot unfold. Apparently, Stephen King also gets many of his plot ideas from his dreams. His idea for “Misery” came from a dream. He wrote it down as fast as he could to capture the essence of the story.
The first sci-fi novel “Frankenstein” by Mary Kelly, was conceived in a dream. She went on to become a famous gothic novelist.
Another example is John Lennon’s “Dream #9“, which came to him fully formed in a dream. He didn’t know what it meant but wrote it up as he envisioned it in his dream. That’s one of the best ways to come up with new ideas – effortlessly.┬áBut there are some tricks to it, which I teach in my classes.
If you use a sewing machine or wear clothes made by a sewing machine you can thank a dream that Elias Howe had in 1845. He dreamt that he was captured by cannibals who gave him an ultimatum. Invent a sewing machine within 24 hours or die a painful death. When he failed they stabbed him with spears that had a hole in the tip. That’s when he realized he would have to put an eye in the needle. This was the creation of the lock-stiche sewing machine.

Memory consolidation

During sleep, the brain consolidates and organizes newly acquired information, helping to solidify memories and experiences. This consolidation process can lead to improved access to relevant knowledge, which can fuel creative thinking.

Unconscious processing

While we sleep, our brains continue to work on unresolved problems and challenges. Research suggests that during sleep, the brain engages in creative problem-solving by making connections between seemingly unrelated pieces of information. This process can lead to “aha” moments and creative insights upon waking up.

Enhanced cognitive functions

Sufficient sleep is essential for maintaining optimal cognitive functions, such as attention, concentration, and reasoning. When these cognitive functions are well-rested, individuals can think more clearly, make connections more easily, and generate new and original ideas.

Emotional regulation

Lack of sleep can negatively affect our emotional well-being, leading to increased stress and decreased creativity. On the other hand, proper sleep helps regulate emotions, reducing negative effects and allowing individuals to approach creative tasks with a more positive and open mindset.

Divergent thinking

Creativity often involves divergent thinking, which is the ability to generate multiple ideas and solutions. Studies have shown that sleep can enhance divergent thinking, allowing individuals to come up with more creative and original ideas compared to when they are sleep-deprived.

The quality of sleep also matters. Deep, uninterrupted sleep, particularly during the REM (rapid eye movement) phase, is considered especially beneficial for creativity.

Learning how to harness the creativity and unique ideas you get when you are asleep is worth putting in the time. It’s just one more way to generate ideas that no one else will come up with.