Do you enjoy taking naps? Well, you’ll be pleased to know that a recent study conducted by MIT researchers, which was published in Scientific Reports, has found that people tend to be more creative after waking up from the early stage of sleep. The study suggests that the period between being asleep and awake is a fertile ground for creative thinking.
The researchers also discovered that when individuals are encouraged to dream about a specific topic during this sleep phase, they are more likely to perform creatively when given creative tasks related to that topic.
You might be curious about how naps enhance creativity. The lead author of the study, Kathleen Esfahany, explained that when individuals are prompted to dream about a particular topic during sleep, they can have dream experiences that can be later utilized in creative tasks.
The study demonstrated that individuals who received these prompts or “targeted dream incubation” were able to generate more creative stories compared to those who napped without a specific prompt or those who didn’t sleep at all. The findings indicate that this dream stage facilitates the brain’s ability to connect unrelated concepts, thereby boosting creativity.
Adam Haar Horowitz, another leader of the study, noted that the relationship between sleep and creativity, also known as N1 or hypnagogia, has been recognized for some time. However, this study aimed to explore whether it was possible to guide the content of people’s dreams and observe its impact on their creative process.
To conduct the experiments, the researchers developed a device called Dormio, which facilitated dream incubation. This device included a glove that measured three physiological sleep markers – changes in muscle tone, heart rate, and skin conductance – and communicated these responses to smartphones or computers.
A total of 49 participants took part in the experiment. They wore the Dormio glove and were instructed to take a nap. Once they entered the N1 sleep stage, the app prompted them to dream about a specific topic. Just before transitioning to the next sleep stage, the app awakened them and asked about their dream, recording their responses.
The results revealed that individuals who napped for 45 minutes performed the best in terms of creativity. The study also found that during sleep onset, the brain was capable of combining concepts that wouldn’t typically occur during wakefulness.
The researchers clarified that the Dormio device itself is not essential for dream incubation. They suggested that any device capable of monitoring sleep, playing sounds, and recording responses would be suitable for this type of investigation.
Post Your Comments