Once you have mastered the basics of sleeping and have discovered just how incredible this basic biological process can feel, you can take things a step further and actually learn to be productive in your sleep.
As an awkward high school kid with braces waiting to see the orthodontist, I remember picking up a copy of Popular Science in the waiting room because it had a provocative cover story about teaching yourself how to control your dreams.
I went home that night and practiced what is called lucid dreaming, which in a nutshell is when you learn how to maintain awareness during your dreams. I followed the process detailed in the article that I ripped out of the magazine and took home with me, and noticed results within days. It was pretty freaky.
At first I thought I could control my dreams, but I very quickly learned that the key was just to know that I was in fact dreaming, and that by becoming a spectator to my own dreams I could gain invaluable insight into how my own mind worked.
25 years later I am still practicing lucid dreaming, and now I have learned to leverage the practice to solve difficult problems by relegating important thoughts to my subconscious mind while I sleep.
When I find myself with a challenge, I don’t force myself to stay up late to keep working on it. I meditate on the problem that I need to solve, I go to bed guilt-free, and inevitably I will wake up not only feeling rested, but I will have a path to a solution in mind, and I will have the energy to find resolution.
I have learned to literally “sleep on it.” I trust this process absolutely, and it has led to deeper levels of focus and understanding than I ever thought were possible.
Sleep not only provides restorative benefits, it can lead to clarity and depth in thinking and help you understand the world in ways your awake mind would never find on its own.
Did I mention sleep could be better than sex?
This is an excerpt from 40@40: Learn to Love Sleep.
In celebration of my 40th birthday, I decided to write 40 blog posts to reflect on 40 of the most important lessons I have learned throughout my life. You can follow the full series here: