To celebrate World Sleep Day today, we show you how you could be one dream away from conjuring up a bestseller…
In addition to being entertaining, our dreams can also be our biggest muse. As we drift off, the rational side of our brain quietens and we open ourselves up to creative visions and flashes of insight, as well as opportunities for divine inspiration. Here, we uncover the famous projects that were born out of sleeping states, plus we reveal how to dream up (and remember!) your own masterpieces – who knows where they could lead you?
DID YOU KNOW?
Christopher Nolan used his personal experiences of lucid dreaming during the making of Inception: “I’d been interested in dreams since I was a child and I had been wanting to make a film about them for a long time. I’d always been fascinated by the idea that your sleeping mind can create a world within a dream and you can perceive that world as if it really existed.”
HOW TO DO IT
“Lucid dreaming is a dream in which you know you’re dreaming, as you’re dreaming,” says dream expert Charlie Morley. Charlie recommends setting regular reality checks throughout the day to achieve a lucid dreaming state. The more you ask yourself, “Am I dreaming?” during your waking life, the more you’ll be prepared to do it in your sleep.
Dare to daydream
It’s not only night-time visions that can maximise your creativity – you should also take advantage of daytime napping, too. In fact, bestselling author J.K.Rowling came up with the plot of the Harry Potter series while catching a few zzzs on the train!
HOW TO DO IT
Charlie Morley agrees that a cheeky siesta can help us tap into our inner muse: “During an afternoon nap, we tend to enter the REM state straight away – this means we get direct access to our dreams.” To reap its greatest creative benefits, Charlie recommends napping for 20 to 60 minute periods at a time.
Total dream recall
Struggling to remember your dreams? These handy tips from Charlie Morley will help jog your memory:
1 Try waking up in the middle of a dream period by setting your alarm a little earlier so your vision is fresh in your mind. A good time to do this is the last two hours of your sleep cycle, as this is when your longest dreams occur.
2 Set your intentions to recall your dreams before you fall asleep. Repeat in your mind, “Tonight, I remember my dreams. I have excellent dream recall.”
3 Often, memories of dreams are felt in the body rather than the mind, so don’t forget to sense how you’re feeling when you wake up.
4 As soon as you awaken, ask yourself these questions: “Where was I? What was I just doing? How do I feel?” If you can recall just one fact or feeling from your dream, you can work backwards from that point.
5 Don’t give up on your dream if you can’t remember it straight away – give yourself space to reflect and it may come to you at some point during the day.
Summon creativity: tonight!
Our experts share their insights…
Theresa Cheung: “Dreams are such a treasure trove for creativity, as they present familiar things in a symbolic or different way. According to Salmon Rushdie, we’re all dreaming creatures, but dreams are so easily forgotten! Keep a pen and a piece of paper by your bed and write down any images that come to you as soon as you wake up. Use these observations to inspire you, or to approach things in a completely different way.”
Arianna Huffington: “Dreams have always been an important part of my life – I started keeping a dream journal in my 20s. Sleep opens up a pathway to other dimensions, other times, other parts of ourselves and to deeper insights that lie beyond the reach of our waking consciousness. If I wake up in the middle of the night, even if I’ve not asked for specific guidance in any part of my life, I write down whatever I remember with a pen that has a light on the end – I find it’s easier not to lose the thread of my dreams if I keep the lamp switched off.”