Napping Technique Allows You to Tap Into Creative Thought

Napping Technique for Accessing Creative Thought

A fascinating new study examines the mysterious twilight state between wakefulness and sleep and finds that it can be harnessed for creativity and problem-solving.

Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Salvador Dali, among others, were all said to have used a curious napping technique to spark their creativity and inspired discoveries. Holding an object in their hands while napping, they would wake as the object fell and recall the thoughts they were having at that moment.

Inspired by these visionaries, researcher Delphine Oudiette and her colleagues at the Paris Brain Institute conducted a study to scientifically investigate this phenomenon. The researchers presented participants with mathematical problems that had a hidden rule which would allow them to be solved almost instantly. 

They were then given a 20-minute break during which they were instructed to relax in a reclined position while holding a bottle. If the bottle fell, they were asked to report what they had been thinking right before they let go.

Throughout this break, subjects’ physiological activity was recorded to assess their state of wakefulness. Then, after the break, the participants were again presented with the math problems. 

Findings revealed that those who had dozed off into a semi-lucid state known as hypnagogia or N1, were three times more likely to solve the hidden rule than those who had stayed awake, and six times more likely to do so than those who had slipped into deeper sleep-just a minute later.

The findings were less clear in regard to the technique of dropping objects to keep from deeper sleep, as some participants dropped the bottle after they had moved onto deeper sleep.

However, the study did convincingly show that “There is a creative sweet spot within the sleep onset period, and hitting it requires individuals balancing falling asleep easily against falling asleep too deeply.”

It’s unclear why this N1 sleep stage boosts creativity. Oudiette told live science, “It might create an ideal state where you have this loose cognition and weird associations, and the ability to catch it if you get a good idea.”

Adam Haar Horowitz of the MIT lab, sees the practical implications of the study, as he told Scientific American, “It’s the kind of study that you can go ahead and try at home yourself. Grab a metal object, lie down, focus hard, and see what kind of eureka moments you can encounter.”

Ouidette is also very excited about the potential for practical applications and hopes future research will determine if focusing on this rich twilight state might help solve real-world tasks and problems.

“We could even teach people,” she reported to Scientific American, “how to reach this creative state at will.”

So, try it for yourself, and perhaps you too will get to experience this intriguing potential for creative insight.

Permanent Daylight Saving Time Would Be Awful for Our Circadian Rhythm

Daylight Saving Time Bad for Circadian Rhythm

“Spring forward, fall back” could be no more, as Daylight Saving Time in the US could be made permanent. The issue resurfaced, as Americans say they are tired of moving the clocks twice a year and that we should just pick one. But did the government pick the wrong one?

The US has a long and complicated history with Daylight Saving Time — or what might be known better as “spring forward” time. 

First enacted in 1918 during WWI as “wartime,”  the measure was supposed to provide more daylight during working hours. Meanwhile, according to Michael Downing, author of “Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Savings Time,” the US Chamber of Commerce also liked it, as workers with more daylight after work were likely to stop, shop, and spend money on their way home.

It was repealed only to be brought back again during WWII, so there would be more daylight during working hours.

After World War II, there was a chaotic period where states picked whichever time standard they wanted, until 1966 when the “Uniform Time Act” made six months of Standard Time and six months of Daylight Saving Time.

This brings us to today, where people have different opinions on Daylight Saving Time, but most Americans want the clock change gone. A 2019 AP poll showed that 71 percent of Americans would like to quit changing the clocks twice per year versus 28 percent who want to keep it the way it is.

Now, the US Senate just passed a measure that would again make Daylight Saving Time permanent. Some people like sunlight later in the evening, especially during the summer.

But many, including medical professionals and safety experts, argue that “springing forward” can be hazardous to your health.

Read Article

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