Every night the gods have deemed fit to strike us immobile. We know it's coming, and we've known for a while now as many animals do. We prepare for it. We make plans and arrange locations. We say goodbye to the our loved ones hoping we see them on the other side. The process is so strange and magical yet we do not seem to question it. And without fail the cycle catches us all in it's net. Like the sun that leaves the sky so too our conscious minds leave our bodies. We find ourselves the most suitable rendezvous with the soft, safe, and warm comfort of our beds, as we collectively jump into the abyss of dreams.
For most of my life I've been at odds with sleep. As an artist the mindset can often be, "I have work to do," or "I much rather be drawing." However, at some point the creative juices dry up and I inevitably need a recharge. But still, I can't shake the feeling that's I big waste of time.
Although my sleep and I have been adversaries for so long, the idea came to me (as if in a dream), why not work together?
Why not leverage my dreams as a creative powerhouse? If I could do this, then I could set the system on autopilot and wake up with ideas. Is there a way to train the subconscious to utilize that time to my advantage? The implications could be tremendous.
But can it be done? Perhaps my focus should remain on perfecting a rhythm that maximizes sleep quality? After all, this would make me fresher and more creative for the day ahead. Carefully regulating when I go to bed and when I wake might be the most efficient move. How many hours should I take? Should I ever sleep in?
What if I could use the science of sleep to improve my retention and memory? Could it be that sleep is a vital action that cleans out the clutter and focuses my mind? Maybe I see sleep as a thing that happens to me instead of a thing I do, and what I'm actually doing every night is improving my brain.
If you think the ideas above are the ravings of a lunatic you may be right. For the longest time my sleep has been like a wild animal in my life that I've struggled to control. I have developed many methods to tame the beast, some have been successful others have not. So it might be the case that the damage is done and the grips of insanity are taking hold.
Overall I feel I've failed to take complete control. So, for the next month I will be writing a series to answer the questions above, for myself and for those who care to read along.
Also, I will do this list of things below with the intention of effecting my sleep and report my experiences, dreams, drawings, and energy level each week.
- Keep a sketchbook next to my bed and draw in it every morning as soon as I wake up. I will also use this as a dream journal to document what I remember during the night.
- Talk about my dream each morning out loud asap. To someone or to myself. If I don't remember anything, then I will try to remember and write it down.
- Keep an exact schedule for my sleep. This will from 1:00am to 8:00am. On the last week of the month I will attempt this schedule without using alarms.
- I will devise a signal to my body to produce interesting dreams during the night as inspired by the methods of Robert Louis Stevenson and his "little people."
- I will not eat anything for 3 hours before I go to bed.
- And each night I will preform the same routine before I get to bed. I will keep it to three actions. (I.E. 1. read the news 2. brush teeth 3. lock up the house --> bed)
And I look forward to sharing with you next week, when I write about what I've learned on leveraging your dreams for creativity. I hope this process will benefit everyone reading and maybe give me a chance to get some rest.
See you next time, and thanks for