Need a New Idea? Wake up Groggy, Not Alert

Do you wake up groggy and in a bit of a daze, hoping for more sleep? Do you live with someone who wakes up bright-eyed and perky, frequently calling you lazy or grumpy in the mornings?

Tomorrow morning let them know- you aren’t lazy, you are creative! According to several recent studies, the typical morning routine is counterproductive to the way scientists and psychologists believe we should act to promote creative thinking.

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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 block our creative thinking are at their lowest during times that we are not yet completely focused. So, you are much more likely to stumble upon a new idea when you lay in bed for a few minutes after turning off your alarm, rather than jumping straight up. Why? Your groggy mind allows a more passive state- you aren’t making mental lists in your head just yet of what you need to do or remember for the day ahead.

If you consider yourself one of those elusive morning people, don’t even bother trying to open your mind in the morning. As soon as that alarm goes off, your mind is focused and ready to go. Instead, your best time for creative thinking comes in the early evening as you wind down.

According to the studies, there is one thing we are doing right- drinking caffeine in the morning. Caffeine makes us more alert and increases dopamine levels- which heightens our levels of motivation and reward when we find a creative solution to a problem or dream up a new idea.

To unlock your creative mind, spend a few extra minutes in bed and allow your mind to freely flow from one thought to the next. Keep something near your bed (a pen and paper, an iPhone, etc.) to record any ideas that come to you first thing in the morning. 

You may just come to work with a problem already solved or a new idea for the company before your boss even arrives. Take that, morning people!