Monday, April 27, 2015

Why Sleep is Essential to Creativity

Art Markman, Professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin, has written an informative article for Fast Company regarding the relationship between sleep and creativity.  Markman writes the following:

To understand how, it is helpful to know a bit more about creativity. When you are trying to develop a creative solution to a difficult problem, you need to find some knowledge that you already have that will help you take a new approach. That means that a big part of creativity is allowing the problem to remind you of things you know about that probably come from another area of your expertise and that are relevant to your current problem. In short, you are seeking a good analogy.
Why then does getting a good night's sleep matter? Markman explains that, when you sleep, your memories are consolidated.  The brain does not remember everything about your day.  It has a way of retaining the most crucial events, ideas, and interactions.  If you want to be creative, and perhaps discover a relevant analogy, you do not want your thinking cluttered with non-essential information.  Getting a good night's sleep helps your brain sort out what's important and what is not essential.  In that way, you have a better shot at discovering that key analogy that might lead to a creative breakthrough.   

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