Linda Dessau : Sleep and Creativity
Sleep and Creativity
By Linda Dessau
In my life, sleep is the number one way that I can either enhance my self-care and nourish myself or defeat my self-care and deplete my energy, peace of mind and productivity all in one shot.
When I'm rested I'm more resilient to stress. My body is more flexible and willing to work, my head is more clear and focused, I feel happier and more at peace and I'm nicer to myself AND to everyone else.
When I'm overtired, on the other hand my body and my emotions feel more brittle. Unexpected turns can send me into a hurricane of a tizzy, my mind is foggy and I'm much less likely to be kind to you OR me.
I know this. I've known this for some time now. So, you'd think I consistently get enough sleep to make sure that first scenario happens all the time, right? After all, I AM the "Self-Care Coach", my self-care must be perfect, right?
Well .not so much.
As well as writing about sleep, I must mention another self-care concept here in order to explain why I'm a bit bleary-eyed today. The concept is SELF-SABOTAGE.
The dictionary definition of sabotage is "an act or process tending to hamper or hurt" or "deliberate subversion". Why on earth would we sabotage ourselves? That's a complicated answer. And a simple one. We choose to.
Sometimes it's so frightening to imagine changing, growing or making conscious choices that we deliberately hamper our own efforts. We make choices every minute of every day. Our life is up to us. These are intimidating thoughts. And doing things the way we've always done them feels safe and comforting.
I know I'll feel so much better if I get a good night's sleep. And sometimes, for whatever reasons, I don't choose to "feel good".
And when self-love and common sense win out and I AM able to do what I need to do in order to get a good night's sleep, I am rewarded.
Aside from benefits I've already mentioned, a good night's sleep can also have specific rewards for us creatively. A few months ago I came across an article titled "Does a good sleep make you smarter?" (www.msnbc.com, in the "Health" section). The article described a research project going on at the University of Luebeck in Germany, which has determined that a good sleep not only makes us smarter and better at problem-solving, but more creative as well!
The article points out that "history is dotted with incidents where artists and scientists have awakened to make their most notable contributions after long periods of frustration."
In other words, when we're struggling with a problem in the hours before sleep, our brains actually keep working on the problem while we're sleeping, and the answer might just "pop out" in the morning!
So, the longer and more restful sleep that we have, the more time there is for our "sleeping brain" to work on the problem that our "awake brain" has been struggling with.