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The Wonder of Dreams: The States of Mind Between Sleeping and Waking

How much of your dreams do you remember after waking up? Do you sense inspiration as you’re drifting off to sleep? The transition between sleeping and waking is a powerful time to experience wonder that sparks creative ideas. During this time, your conscious and subconscious minds are working together, helping you make valuable connections with your thoughts. Psychologists call this state of mind “hypnopompic” when it happens from sleep to wakefulness, and “hypnogogic” when it occurs from wakefulness to sleep. Being aware of your thoughts during these transition times – and recording them when possible – can help you harness the wonder of dreams for creativity.

I’ve often gotten new insights during these transition times. So, I keep a pen and paper in my bedroom to jot down my thoughts when new ideas come to mind either at bedtime or right after waking up. Like I recommend in Wake Up to Wonder, I try to study any patterns that appear in my dreams and pray about them for greater understanding.

Prolific inventor Thomas Edison worked to maximize the creative power of these transitional states of mind. He scheduled regular nap times specifically for the purpose of discovering new ideas between sleeping and waking. During those times, Edison napped while holding a ball in each hand, so that when he drifted off to sleep, they would fall to floor and make sounds to wake him up. Edison would then record his thoughts immediately after waking in a notebook so he could recall and study them later. That creativity boosting strategy seems to have worked well for Edison, who gained more than 1,000 patents and contributed all sorts of important inventions to our world – the light bulb, phonograph, movie camera, telegraph, alkaline batteries, and much more. Learn more about Edison’s work in this Wake Up to Wonder blog on investigating mysteries.

How would you like to take advantage of the super creative transition times between sleeping and waking? Maybe there’s a problem you’re struggling to solve, a relationship you’re trying to understand, or a project you’re working on that you can ponder during these times. Ask God to show you how you can best use the wonder you experience before and after your dreams to learn and grow – and have fun in the process!


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