Should you “sleep on” a problem?

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Thomas Edison, the man who invented the light bulb, was a habitual napper. He used sleep ruthlessly to solve problems. In fact, he had a napping ritual that allowed him to sleep just long enough to solve any problem he had encountered.

Edison would go to sleep grasping a metal object in his hand after placing a plate on the floor under it. As he entered deep sleep and his muscles relaxed, his hand would open and he would drop the metal object he had been holding. As it hit the plate under it, a loud sound would wake him.

On waking, he would write down the solution that his subconscious had worked out while he was napping. He credits many of his breakthroughs to the power of napping.

The idea of ‘sleeping on a problem’ transcends the boundaries of many cultures.

This phrase is found in most languages and seems to be easily translated into French (dormir sur un problem); Mandarin (Shuì zài yīgè wèntí shàng) and Swahili (kulala tatizo). For hundreds of years, across all cultures, sleeping on a problem has been encouraged. Until now.

Ironically, the man who used sleep to harness his genius, is credited for electrifying the world and ushering humans into a new era- where humans choose their bedtime rather than relying on natural light.

Sleep deprivation is now common and negatively impacting our ability to harness our genius – it is difficult to be creative and solve problems when you are chronically tired.

If you are feeling dark-deprived thanks to the light pollution found both inside and outside your home, then you may want to assist your body to fall asleep more easily by investing in block out curtains and avoiding all light sources that suppress melatonin at least one hour before bedtime.

You could also take a note out of Edison’s book and try your hand at napping on a problem.

Get a better sleep tonight and every night thereafter. Invest in a new Sealy today.

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