Sleep Science • Article

Is Sleep-Storming the New Brainstorming?

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Ever have a dream so vivid you thought you were watching a movie? Hollywood director James Cameron did, and that dream inspired the movie character and film of the same name, "The Terminator."


Or consider the famous Rolling Stones song, “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." Keith Richards not only dreamed the opening verse one night, but woke up to find that he had tape recorded it.


According to a poll commissioned by the meditation and sleep app Calm, these are just two of the best ideas either inspired by a dream or conceived during sleep.


You don't have to be a movie director or musician to come up with a great idea. Sleep-storming is for everyone, says Peter Freedman, the man behind the term. Freedman is a UK-based ideas consultant. He has been thinking, writing about, and teaching creativity and idea generation for 20 years, helping others come up with their own ideas by facilitating brainstorms for them.


Most recently, Freedman has worked closely with Calm, thinking and learning more about sleep and sleeping, including, he says, “how and why sleep is arguably the greatest single source of creativity."


“Or," he continues, “as Marcel Proust, the great French writer put it, 'sleep is the only source of invention.' "


As part of his work, Freedman facilitates brainstorming for his clients.


“If there's a user-friendly term for generating ideas while you're awake, there should also be one for doing likewise while you're asleep," he states, explaining the reasoning behind the term "sleep-storming." It's certainly a much snappier phrase than the scientific term, "structured unconscious generative ideation."


For Freedman, sleep-storming is not simply a catchy marketing tool, but also about harnessing the process of being creative while you sleep.


3 tips for more productive dreaming

  1. Keep a notebook by your bed to write down your dreams. How many times have you tried to remember a dream, only to realize it's evaporated from your consciousness? By writing down your dreams as soon as you wake, you'll have a better chance of improving your dream recall.

  2. Before going to sleep, ask your subconscious a question. Have a problem at work you're trying to solve? Ask yourself how you should solve it. Then, instead of worrying all night, focus on something relaxing, like reading or meditating, before going to bed. Let your subconscious do the work while you're getting your rest.

  3. Wake up mid-sleep. Artist Salvador Dalí and inventor Thomas Edison woke themselves on purpose so they could take note of their dreams. While we don't advocate interrupting your sleep on purpose, this does present a rosier picture than being annoyed that you're waking up in the middle of the night. Use that time to jot down any dreams or ideas you've had.

Want even better sleep? Sleepers who routinely use their Sleep Number 360® smart bed features and SleepIQ technology get almost 100 hours more proven quality sleep per year.*


Like diet and exercise, quality sleep has a profound impact on our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Because no two people sleep the same, Sleep Number 360® smart beds, with SleepIQ® technology, sense your movements and automatically adjust firmness, comfort and support to keep you both sleeping comfortably and provide proven quality sleep. Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night's sleep, and if you own a Sleep Number® bed, log in to your InnerCircle Rewards account to see your exclusive offers, refer friends and more.


*Based on internal analysis of sleep sessions assessing sleepers who use multiple features of Sleep Number® products. Claim based on sleepers achieving over 15 more minutes of restful sleep per sleep sessions.

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