Today Time posted a great article discussing several studies of creativity and how your morning routine might negatively affect your creativity.
It turns out that there is something to the notion that your best ideas come to you when you’re straddling that barrier between sleep and awake. From the article:
In a study published in the journal Thinking and Reasoning last year, researchers Mareike Wieth and Rose Zacks reported that imaginative insights are most likely to come to us when we’re groggy and unfocused. The mental processes that inhibit distracting or irrelevant thoughts are at their weakest in these moments, allowing unexpected and sometimes inspired connections to be made. Sleepy people’s “more diffuse attentional focus,” they write, leads them to “widen their search through their knowledge network. This widening leads to an increase in creative problem solving.” By not giving yourself time to tune in to your meandering mind, you’re missing out on the surprising solutions it may offer.
Personally speaking, I know I tend to get great ideas just as I fall asleep.* I’ve heard of people putting pen and paper on a nightstand to catch these moments of creativity as they fall asleep, but I had not given much thought to my morning routine. Thankfully, the article provides many tips and tricks to stimulate creativity during that morning routine. Also, most are quite doable, and no, you don’t have to ditch that cup of coffee.
*Please note that the article says nighttime creativity is common among morning people who are perky and wake up immediately. If you are this sort of person, good for you, but I’m much more of a night owl. I mean, I can wake up right away, but I’m definitely not perky during my morning routine. But hey, I’ll take increased creativity any way I can.