Can a nap boost our creativity? Scientists from the University of Paris are strongly convinced that this is really the case!
A chair nap
Salvador Dali had a very original habit. He would sit down on a chair holding a key in his hand and fall asleep. When he dropped the key, he immediately woke up and returned to his artistic work. Thomas Edison, who invented the electric bulb, motion pictures, the phonograph or the refrigerator, had a similar habit.
Both men Gould have the so-called ‘power naps’. The whole idea behind it is to wake up in the early stage of sleep, called N1, which is the shortest one in fact (about 20 minutes of an 8-hour-long sleep). Dali and Edison believed that this is transitional period between falling asleep and light sleep) is a critical moment in terms of boosting our creativity. The team of scientists from Paris proved that both men had been right.
Mathematics and dreaming
The N1 stage is the most shallow part of sleep. This is when the eyeball movement slows down but we still remain a bit alert. We can also feel some sudden muscle cramps or experience the sense of falling. The scientists from Paris decided to examine the effectiveness of naps using 103 volunteers. At first each of them was asked to solve 10 mathematics problems. The scientists did not inform them that there is a hidden principle in all of them. Then the subjects had a 10-minute-long break. This is when then could rest in a dark room. They all sat down in an armchair with a mug in their hand. When they began to enter the N1 stage, their muscle got loose, the mugs fell on the floor and they woke up as a result. After the nap they were asked to solve another 10 mathematics problems.
During the experiment it turned out that the volunteers who had had a nap solved all the problems and 83% of them discovered the hidden principle (they were in the N1 stage for at least 15 seconds). It was also revealed that the subjects who moved from N1 to N2 stage missed the moment of creativity boost.
There is one conclusion we can definitely draw: it is always worth taking a short nap to boost our creativity. Of course as long as we wake up at the right time and don’t miss the critical moment.