We say it all the time, “I’ll sleep on it and get back to you with an answer.” Often, it works. Some of our greatest ideas, our most creative work can happen while we are sleeping. It's even a time for problem-solving.
Does that happen for you? Are your inspirations the result of a good night’s rest? For me, the answer is often a resounding yes. I ‘m sometimes amazed at the great ideas awaiting me when I waken. I’ve even “slept” on some of my biggest decisions and the outcome was terrific.
The challenge in a sleep-deprived nation, how do we actually make “sleep on it” work? If we go to bed worried or anxious, the odds of wakening with a brilliant solution or a terrific idea are reduced. For the sleep-deprived, “sleeping on it” may even grow their sleeplessness.
Naturally, good ‘sleep hygiene’ rules apply: no caffeine before bed, only use your bed for sleeping, go to bed at the same time every night and follow bedtime rituals consistently.
Going to bed rituals are especially important. If you like to read yourself to sleep, be sure it’s a book that enables sleep. If it’s a book that energizes your brain, you’re less likely to fall asleep. Worse, if your brain is “hooked” on your book, it’s not likely you’ll come up with an inventive solution.
Instead of an exciting book, choose one that is calming. Or, when you want to waken with a great idea, skip reading altogether. Instead, as you lay down to bed, begin thinking about the subject you are “sleeping on”. What ideas do you have so far? What are your expectations for the solution? Can you think beyond the expected? Fall asleep with your mind on your subject.
Or, fall asleep remembering the good things that happened during the day. That primes your mind, readies for it for good rest which is the ideal time for great ideas.
For your best “sleep on it” results, plan your nighttime rituals and give it some practice. You may well surprise yourself with your innovative outcomes.