Last week, the Guardian discussed “the upside of insomnia”, with singer Matt Berry talking about the bursts of creativity he experiences as a result of his sleepless nights. Of course, while this may be true, we don’t recommend sleep deprivation as a means of boosting creativity. Instead, we have a list of suggestions that will get the mental gears turning without giving up a single one of your forty winks!
1) Listen to music
Classical music has been shown to be calming and to focus your attention. Albert Einstein himself swore by Mozart’s music, so there must be something to it!
2) Lie down
It’s true — we swear we’re not just saying it! Research has shown that people are better at solving anagrams if they’re lying down as opposed to sitting up.
3) Take a nap
If you drift off during your horizontal musings, well, no problem, because power naps are also a way to boost your creativity!
4) Have a laugh
Turns out laughter really is the best medicine, including for a lack of creativity! So stick on some comedy or call up your funniest friend, and kick your imagination into gear!
5) Write down your ideas
You know how it is — you have a brilliant, world-changing idea when you’re just about to fall asleep, or while you’re wandering around the supermarket, or when you’re in the shower, and then you promptly forget about it. Carry a notepad around with you so that you can write down ideas on the go, and keep it by your bed for late-night scribbling. (Shower ideas you may have to hold on to for a bit!)
6) Eat chocolate!
A bit of dark chocolate can actually be good for you! It has been shown to improve memory and concentration, while the small amount of caffeine will give you an energy boost!
7) Create your own inspiration
Collect together words, pictures, and objects that inspire you and keep them in a box that you can open whenever you’re feeling a bit sluggish. If you came across the items in the box while you were having a particularly creative burst, maybe they’ll help recreate that mood!
8) Head to a coffee shop
Perhaps people don’t just hang around in coffee shops on their laptops because they think it looks cool — it seems a moderate level of noise can encourage you to think harder.
9) Change your location
Another benefit of heading to a coffee shop — or, for that matter, a library, park, or even just to another room in your house — is that it offers a change of scenery. Staring at the same four walls all the time is boring, and can really dampen your ability to think creatively.
10) Get some sleep
Again, we promise we’re not just saying it! Channeling insomnia into something positive might work really well sometimes, but if you’re exhausted and the answer to whatever problem you’re trying to solve just isn’t coming to you, sleeping on it and starting fresh the next day could be just what you need.