August 14, 2022

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Name: The semi-lucid dream trick. Age: At least 90 years old. Appearance: The no-fail way...

Name: The semi-lucid dream trick.
Age: At least 90 years old.
Appearance: The no-fail way to boost your creativity.
You have my interest. In that case, allow me to introduce you to something called interrupted hypnagogia. It’s when you deliberately wake yourself up before you fall into a state of deep sleep.
No thanks. Why not? Don’t you want to enter a mental state proselytised by some of history’s greatest thinkers?
Not if it stops me from sleeping properly. OK, maybe I’m not explaining it very well. A study conducted by the Paris Brain Institute has just revealed that people are better able to creatively solve problems if they wake up during sleep stage N1.
N1? What’s that? It’s the stage of sleep before you enter rapid eye movement (REM), characterised by vivid, semi-lucid mind-wandering. The rational part of your brain becomes inhibited during N1, leaving the rest of it to form new and unexpected associations.
You mentioned history’s greatest thinkers. I did. Salvador Dalí was a big proponent of this method. Thomas Edison, too.
I don’t want to be like Edison. Didn’t he compulsively hijack the ideas of others? Well, in his defence, he was probably very tired.
Fine. If I want to boost my creativity, what should I do? Have a nap with a bottle in your hand. As you drift off, your hands will relax, and the sound of the bottle hitting the floor will wake you up. Hopefully the hypnagogia will have given you a new and creative way of thinking.
Will it also give me a new and creative way of cleaning all this broken glass off the floor? Maybe hypnagogia isn’t for you. But that’s OK! There are other ways to think creatively.
Like what? You could try to create elaborate thought experiments to better conceptualise the problem at hand. It’s what the ancient Greeks did.
Not for me. Dr Peter Lovatt mentions in his book The Dance Cure that spontaneous dance can enhance creative thinking and problem-solving.
Absolutely not. Well, there has to be something. Creativity isn’t an infinite well. Sometimes you need to shake yourself out of set ways of thinking, and that’s what all of these methods have in common.
… Hello? Are you still here? Have you fallen asleep?
Zzz … You have, haven’t you? WAKE UP!
I can see everything so clearly now. See? It works.
Do say: “Waking up on the brink of deep sleep can unleash incredible creativity.”
Don’t say: “Yeah, but think of the eye bags you’ll get.”

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