You Can Solve Prob­lems While You Dream

Psy­chol­o­gists have un­cov­ered some­thing amaz­ing: when you’re strug­gling with a life dilemma, one of the best tac­tics is to sleep. Your brain is ac­tu­ally wired to con­jure up the smartest so­lu­tion as you snooze!

Cosmopolitan (India) - - YOU, YOU, YOU - By Bethany Heit­man

It just got a hell of a lot eas­ier to tackle your prob­lems. Ac­cord­ing to ground-break­ing new re­search, not only are we ca­pa­ble of com­ing up with an­swers to life is­sues while conked out, but the so­lu­tions we de­vise are of­ten bet­ter than what we con­coct while awake. Why? Be­cause, sci­en­tists have dis­cov­ered, the dream­ing mind is able to go down cre­ative paths more eas­ily, which leads to bet­ter, and more in­no­va­tive res­o­lu­tions.

“When you sleep, the pre-frontal cor­tex of the brain shuts down,” ex­plains Deirdre Bar­rett, Ph.D., au­thor of The Com­mit­tee Of Sleep. “That’s the area that con­trols logic and takes into ac­count so­cial con­straints—ba­si­cally, it’s the part that tells you not to do some­thing be­cause it doesn’t con­form to so­cial rules. With this area de­ac­ti­vated, you be­come adept at think­ing out­side the

box to for­mu­late more suc­cess­ful ways to fix a prob­lem that you nor­mally wouldn’t con­sider.”

Now, you’re prob­a­bly think­ing about all the weird night vi­sions you have—pur­ple bun­nies, cliff div­ing, what­ever— and won­der­ing how you’re sup­posed to in­ter­pret them to find your way out of some dilemma. The thing is, if you train your brain (it’s easy, we’ll show you), you won’t have to de­code mys­te­ri­ous sce­nar­ios— you’ll dream the ac­tual so­lu­tion vividly. For ex­am­ple, you’ll put together the pre­cise words you should say to your boss who’s been on your ass, or you’ll come up with a par­tic­u­lar date idea that will get your boyfriend out of his funk. So how do you set your­self up to ac­com­plish this? Th­ese three sim­ple steps will get you there.

STEP 1:

Start think­ing about your prob­lem a lit­tle be­fore you climb be­tween the sheets. “When some­thing is on your mind at bed­time, you’re more likely to dream about it,” says Ernest Hart­mann, MD, au­thor of The Na­ture And Func­tions Of Dream­ing. “The more you mull it over, the more spe­cific your so­lu­tion will be.” Jot down your dilemma quickly—it’s been proven that the act of writ­ing helps ce­ment an idea in your brain. Or put an ob­ject on your night­stand that re­minds you of the sit­u­a­tion at hand—like a photo of your guy, if you’re fight­ing.

Ob­vi­ously, you don’t need a dream to fig­ure out some­thing small like what to wear to a job in­ter view. “This tech­nique works best when you’re grap­pling with some­thing you’re emo­tion­ally in­vested in, like fam­ily drama or get­ting ahead at work. The more im­por­tant the is­sue is to you, the more likely you are to come up with your MO as you sleep,” says Dr Hart­mann.

STEP 2:

Keep your phone or a pad of pa­per and a pen on your night­stand, so if you wake up in the mid­dle of the night, you can record or take notes. “As you know, dreams are fleet­ing,” says Bar­rett, “so be sure to write down spe­cific key de­tails— words you used, points you made, body lan­guage you em­ployed. The more pre­cise your notes, the eas­ier it will be to re­call your full so­lu­tion.”

STEP 3:

Lie in bed in the morn­ing, and go over what you re­mem­ber and wrote down. “It’s im­por­tant to con­sider as much as you can as soon as pos­si­ble,” says Bar­rett. “Once you get up and do things, your brain be­comes flooded with other in­for­ma­tion that eclipses your res­o­lu­tion.”

Last, you may need to tweak your so­lu­tion a lit­tle bit. Re­mem­ber, the part of your brain that reg­u­lates so­cial norms was turned off, so you’ll have to fig­ure at least some of those things back in, so your ac­tions are suc­cess­ful in the wak­ing world.

Even in her dreams, she had trou­ble match­ing her

shoes to her out­fit

She be­lieved the glasses made her

dreams clearer

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