The common view of sleep is we merely need it to restore our energy after a long day. But, what about its role in the creative process. The Matrix believes that our electrochemically-run minds are just batteries in a big computer. And when excessive yawning starts, that is the computer telling us to recharge their batteries.
What fascinates me, though, is how the creative process works with our sleep cycle.
Throughout the day creativity comes to me in random spurts. But, during the hour leading up to sleep and the hour after waking up, I can consistently enter a flow in my creative process.
When you have that first lion’s roar of a yawn or hit a spurt of excessive yawning, your brain realizes your energy is at 10% and is entering its power-saving mode. In this power-saving mode, your mind begins clearing all the clutter from your head. Naturally, you’ll begin thinking about things pertaining to sleep such as: when you plan to go to sleep, what you’ll do before you go to sleep, etc…
It’s simply a singular focus on sleep.
But, what if next time you excessive yawning started you didn’t begin your winding-down routine? What if you capitalized on your mind’s natural clearing of all distractions?
In fact, this is the perfect time to jump into your creative process. You don’t even need to be in your “ideal creative setting” to start.
Take something from the news you wanted to write about earlier in the day, and throw down all of your ideas and emotions. Revisit that business idea you had and hash out a roadmap for the first year. Refocus the last hour of your day–a rare, distraction-less moment–on a prior vision letting your creativity run free.
You may cut a corner to finish the project but turns out that was the connection you were missing all along. You may hit a creative flow, get a boost of energy, and become engrossed in the task.
And when it feels like you sucked every last drop of chocolate milkshake out of the bottom of the glass, go to sleep.
When you wake up, get in your normal routine of hopping in the shower, eating cereal, and brushing your teeth. But, instead of flipping on the TV or checking your phone, revisit the creative splurge from the night before.
Let your clear-minded cleanup crew come through – clarifying the connections made, eliminating all the unnecessary parts, and polishing the idea. Your mind is a blank slate in the morning. So, addressing your creative splurge of the night before allows you to view the work objectively.
Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t think creatively throughout the day. But, there is a very special relationship I formed with the hours leading up to sleep and after waking up that have allowed me to capitalize on the natural tendencies of my mind.
You might be so busy you can’t even spare an hour before bed or after waking. This made me think: Can you bring creativity into sleep?
Truthfully, dreams may be an untapped area of creativity. For instance, Paul McCartney came up with the song Yesterday during a dream, woke up, and recorded the song. Fearing this was just a copy of something he heard before, he played it for his friends. It turned out to be original and a pretty damn good original, since over 4,000 artists went on to do a rendition of it making it one of the most covered songs of all-time.
Excessive yawning just signals our most creative time
We might have our most creative experiences when we are sleeping and we just can’t harness it yet.
By 2040, we will have technology allowing us to induce dream states to amplify learning and experiences. People predict that sleep will be our most productive time because of the lack of distractions.
Imagine as you begin getting tired, having your creative splurge. Then you enter a dream where that creative splurge can become a reality. Only to wake up to a fully hashed out idea, and know whether to pursue it or not. Now that would be the ultimate creative flow.
I wouldn’t suggest holding out until then, though. Whether you have a creative process or not, try the creative splurge before bed and the clean-up crew after waking up. You might develop some great ideas with that process.
Your excessive yawning is a wake-up call for you to start now.
Personally, I like to use this technique when I write about the latest advancements in technology. I then condense those into Quick Theories – a brief, weekly newsletter of my thoughts on modern technology, how it’ll affect your life, and why you should adapt to these changes in your own creative way. If you enjoyed this article, you should sign-up here: quicktheories.com