​How to Benefit from Nighttime Strokes of Genius

Posted by Aline Martin O'Brien on 21st Sep 2020

​How to Benefit from Nighttime Strokes of Genius

Many of us have experienced original or breakthrough thoughts while dropping off to sleep or waking up in nice sheets, and these anecdotes have been corroborated by scientific studies. Observations and studies of hypnagogic and REM sleep states show that creative ideas arise after these very specific moments. The different forms of memory, an essential ingredient for creativity, appear to consolidate after a good sleep, in particular, REM sleep.

Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí referred to hypnagogia as "sleep with a key," and used it as a source of creative inspiration for many of his paintings. ''The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,'' was written by Robert Louis Stevenson following a vivid dream. Jack Nicklaus fixed his golf swing following a dream in which he saw the flaw.

Dreams have provided poets, writers and artists with material for creation. During dreams, tactile and visual perceptions are all together exaggerated and enriched. When Leonardo da Vinci asks, “Why does the eye in a dream see more clearly than the waking mind?” he calls attention to the hyper-realistic nature of the dream experience. The language of dreams is specific and similar to artistic language because it is metaphorical, reflecting artistic impulses.

Time is over when you fall asleep. It is not only consciousness that disappears, but also reason and moral consciousness. The dreamer is immersed in a world where "anything is possible," which can open the doors of creativity that are normally during the diurnal period hampered by reason, education, and social conventions. In addition to normal dreams, researchers are investigating lucid dreams, which are dreams in which the dreamer is aware of dreaming and can often consciously influence dream content.

Imagine that you wake up in the middle of the night with the idea of the century, inspired by a flash of nocturnal genius. Your brain has taken advantage of its REM sleep to be inventive and you give a wonderful idea to improve your life, nail your next public speaking engagement, or see a breakthrough on the big project at work. Then … you snuggle back under your comforter or cozy duvet blanket, only to wake up the next day without any memory of your inspiration; what a pity!

Nighttime inspiration is common. But what can you do to help remember your brilliant ideas or exhilarating experiences when you wake up in the morning?

  • Night time ritual. Be consistent in your bedtime, clear your mind before bed, fluff your pillows and repeat to yourself, “I will remember my dreams.”
  • Take notes while in bed. Keep a notebook and a pen close at hand on your bedside table. When you are struck by your inspiration take a few moments, without waking up completely, to write a little note that will allow you to remember your flash of genius when you wake up, or even later in the day when the time is right.
  • Record your idea. Using a smartphone, dictate a few words describing the inspiration you have just had from the comfort of your cozy bed. This technique has the advantage of being more discreet because you don't have to light your room to write.
  • Get up and let yourself be guided by your inspiration. If your dream is especially strong, allow yourself to wake and fully consider without waiting for the next day to react. Sometimes reacting immediately when you have a good idea ensures that you don't forget anything. Plus, there’s no chance of being distracted by anyone or anything. This moment of calm will give you the opportunity to really focus on your idea.
  • Do not use an alarm clock. If you wake by an alarm, it is more difficult to remember your dreams due to the spike in noradrenaline levels as a reaction when the alarm goes off. Wake up slowly, and try to drift back to sleep, which can stimulate an early morning dream. You might want to consider a sunshine alarm clock that eases you into consciousness.

We hope that these tips will help you remember your ingenious ideas, whether you are a night owl or prefer to enjoy your comfy bed at night, knowing that adding comfortable hotel bedding, such as fiber beds, mattress pads or/and toppers, might enhance your nighttime creativity.

If you have questions about choosing your bedding, feel free to reach out to us and one of our friendly customer service representatives will assist you.