Creativity Information

Sleep and Creativity

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 & 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?" (, 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.

This relates to the common spiritual practice of praying, before bed, for the solution to a problem, or to the self-help practice of writing a question on a piece of paper and slipping that under your pillow before bed.

So what stops you from getting a good night's sleep? How do you sabotage your efforts? Over-work? Television? Internet surfing or gaming? Food, drink or other substances that make it difficult to sleep? Irregular sleep habits?

Here are the five things that work best for ME for getting a good night's sleep.

1. Turning off the computer and television one hour before I'd like to be asleep. This gives me time to wind down, quiet my thoughts and prepare myself for sleep.

2. Getting out of bed early on the weekends. This means I don't stay up too late or sleep in too long on the weekends. I try and keep my bedtime and wake-up times within about an hour of what I do during the week. Otherwise I spend half the week getting re-adjusted and life's too short!!

3. Giving up caffeine. Even before I gave it up completely, I really had to limit my caffeine and "just say no" anytime after about 5:00 p.m. or else the caffeine affected my sleep that night.

4. Breathing techniques and other relaxation exercises. Just a few minutes of deep breathing can calm me and send me right off to sleep.

The simplest tips are to focus on breathing from the belly (diaphragmatic breathing) and to focus on long exhalations (exhalation is associated with the parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for relaxation).

5. Setting the scene with music. I use music both as I'm winding down and getting ready for bed, and as I'm going to sleep. I've experimented to find the music that best does the job for me; this is obviously a very individual choice.

I recommend either instrumental music or vocal music that is either without words or sung in a language you don't understand (so you're not mentally caught up in the words as you're trying to fall asleep). Wind instruments (I like the shakuhachi flute) are nice since the natural breaths and pauses that the musician takes can mirror your own deep, slow breathing.

Have you ever woken up in the morning (or in the middle of the night!) with the solution to a problem, a new idea for a song, or another creative spark? That sounds like the work of a good night's sleep!

This article was originally published on the Muses Muse Songwriter's Resource website (January 2005)

(c) Copyright 2005, Genuine Coaching Services.

Linda Dessau, the Self-Care Coach, helps artists enhance their creativity by addressing their unique self-care issues. To receive her free monthly newsletter, "Everyday Artist", subscribe at

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at


Four Ways Creativity Turns Your 'Job' Into Your Life's Work
We are born with all of the creative gifts we can ever use. Then they are systematically programmed out of us by the demands of modern life. In 1965, a thoughtful researcher named George Land developed a creativity test for NASA to help select ...

How artificial intelligence can aid and replace higher order human creativity
Nevertheless, as the founder of AI music composer Jukedeck, Newton-Rex thinks computers are capable of creativity. He says creativity can be defined as immersion, assimilation and recombination. “You could say computers are quite well set up to do that ...

and more »


SoundCloud Celebrates the Raw Talent and Creativity of Its Artists in Its First Ad Campaign
SoundCloud has launched its very first advertising campaign that's aimed at showcasing some of the wonderfully talented creators that use the platform and celebrating how SoundCloud helped them get their start. “SoundCloud is a totally unique ecosystem ...

and more »

Darci Lynne Farmer added to Creativity Ambassadors Gala | News OK
Creative Oklahoma has announced that Darci Lynne Farmer will be honored as the 2018 Young Creativity Ambassador at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City on Monday evening, April 9.

and more »

Creativity, Disruption, and the Expression Economy: Ron Tite on Marketing Smarts [Podcast]
Ron Tite—founder and CEO of the agency Church+State—is ready to stage a coup (or at least help marketers stage one). An award-winning advertising writer, Ron has worked with some of the world's most respected brands, including Air France, Evian ...

South China Morning Post

A future shaped by science and creativity
South China Morning Post
A future shaped by science and creativity. The Hong Kong Science Museum works to groom a new generation of creative thinkers trained in science, technology and problem solving. PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 March, 2018, 11:15am. UPDATED : Thursday, 22 March ...

UAB News

Research and creativity showcased at UAB undergraduate expo
UAB News
expo 2018 The Expo will provide a platform for students to practice presentation skills, engage with like-minded peers and exchange research experiences.Academic endeavors of undergraduate students featuring research, creative activity and scholarship ...

'Art In The Garden' Will Showcase Creativity This May | Lake ... - Patch
'Art In The Garden' Will Showcase Creativity - Lake Oswego, OR - The annual Arts Council of Lake Oswego event will be held at Tumwater Vineyard in West Linn and feature a handful of local artists.

and more »


Which cultural site deserves a workshop on creativity?
In these days of changing demographics, shrinking attendance, tightened budgets, increased competition, and exponential growth of technology and social media, institutions need to keep their exhibitions fresh and their work relevant, and take steps to ...


Verizon's In-House Agency, 140, Is On A Quest To Balance Creativity And Technology
When Andrew McKechnie left the role of global creative director at Apple to become Verizon's first-ever chief creative officer in February 2017, he had a tall order. McKechnie, who reports directly to Verizon CMO Diego Scotti, was tasked with ...

and more »

Google News

home | site map | Ocean Art
© 2006