The Creative Power of Sleep

About a year ago, I had an idea for a novel. Something like October Sky-meets-The Sandlot-meets-Radio Flyer-meets-Stand by Me-meets-Erin. Needless to say, it wasn’t sketched out very well and the whole concept felt forced and muddled so I left it behind to die in the Graveyard of Forgotten Ideas.

Then, last night, a miracle!

Okay, not really a miracle per se, but a Great Happening nonetheless: I woke up bleary-eyed after one a.m. and that long-dead idea suddenly popped out of the grave and came back to life, only now it was fresh and bursting with new and tailored ideas. And I didn’t even open my eyes.

I should write this down, I thought to myself. But it’s a true miracle that I ever get out of bed at all, so instead I committed it to my mental banks until morning. Then, I wrote it down.

Sleepy revelations certainly aren’t limited to little old me. Studies have proven that people are more creative when they’re sleepy. In a study published in Thinking and Reasoning last year, two researchers reported that people are most imaginative when they’re the least productive. Psychology says sleepyheadedness is one of the four secrets to robust creativity.

So … what are you waiting for?


Time to go back to bed.

8 Replies to “The Creative Power of Sleep”

  1. Good for you for remembering the idea the next morning! When I get an idea in the middle of the night, I’ll think it is so awesome, no way I’ll ever forget it. Yet, in the morning, that great idea has slipped away. I know I should write it down at the moment of epiphany, but I rarely do.

    . . . most imaginative when they’re the least productive. That’s encouraging!

  2. Yes, I fall in the Angie camp. But the spacey, glassy stare, really does produce great ideas. So nice to see it recognized. And yay for your blog Erin!

  3. What an interesting topic… who knew all these secrets to creativity? Very fun! New follower here. I found you from absolute write on the Jenks thread. Congrats on all of your latest success and I’ll look forward to future blog posts! ;)

  4. Kudos for remembering! I keep a voice recorder near my bed, so I can be lazy and creative at the same time. Often, I’ll find ideas I’ve written down or recorded that I’ve completely forgotten about, but other times I don’t write them down and yet I keep them in my head (so far as I know…). I wonder if recording them somehow gives me permission to forget. Surely there’s enough clutter kicking around in my brain as it is — I have to free up all the space I can!

    1. Well, I don’t always remember, so hold those kudos, lol. A tape recorder is a good idea, but for some reason tape recorders sketch me out. I think it’s because I don’t want to know what I sound like when I’m half-asleep …

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