Sleep and Rest

In which of the following situations do you suddenly come up with bursts of creative ideas, floods of memory, or the solutions to probelms on which you have been working?

Most people say yes to at least one of the above, and this is because rest is a necessary part of mental as well as bodily function. It is much like a mental inhalation and exhalation, where inhalation is equivalent to active learning and the assimilation of data, and exhalation is equivalent to sorting, integration and rest.

The qualities common to the situations in which people are most creative and most capable of reviewing memories are ...

To function most effectively, your brain needs regular breaks as well as regular periods of activity. If you don't take these breaks your brain will make you do so in the form of loss of concentration, nervous tension, and in more extreme cases a nervous breakdown.

Sleep, one of the deepest forms of rest, is a period where the brain integrates the day's and life's experiences, sifting, sorting and filing as well as solving problems. Dreams are a natural part of this process, and are one of the creative genius's greatest sources of inspiration.

A focused attention on dreaming can greatly enhance general wellbeing and creative output.This is confirmed in the lives of those with great minds where dreaming and fantasy are often the well-springs for great new ideas and paradigm shifts.

In a well-exercises and well-fed body, sleep will be deep and curative, and will often provide, from an infinite source of creativity, major insights and revelations.

Notes based on Tony Buzan's Book of Genius published by Random House 1994


Famous dreams

A commonly cited example is Friedrich Kekule's dream about the discovery of the benzene ring.

Action Steps

Incorporate regular rest periods in your life.

Ensure you have sufficient sleep each night.

Try and program a nap time in you daily routine. I'm pondering how to do this at the office!

Keep a notebook by your bed and write down your dreams as soon as you wake up.


Last updated: 2nd October 1996