If you ever hear yourself saying that there are simply not enough hours in the day, it can pay great dividends to use your sleeping time to be creative. It’s estimated that we dream for roughly half our 7 to 8 hours of sleep. By using simple and repeatable techniques, we can seed, remember and interpret our dreams.

What’s more, the quality of the inspiration we get in our dreams can lead us to enlightenment that is difficult to get to when we are awake and our conscious mind is active.

For example, apocryphally Paul McCartney came up with the tune for ‘Yesterday’ in a dream. His dream was so vivid that he had to check he hadn’t heard it somewhere else and copied it. More often, illuminations that occur in dreams come in an allegorical or metaphorical form. The German organic chemist Kekulé was trying to work out the molecular structure for benzene, which he knew had six carbon and six hydrogen atoms. He had a dream about a snake biting its tail and subsequently discovered, or uncovered, the benzene ring which became the basis for all organic chemistry. Salvador Dali used to put a spoon under his elbow on the edge of a table around siesta time. As he dozed off, the spoon would clatter to the floor and he would wake up and paint whatever was ‘on his mind’.

When we are asleep, our unconscious mind is in full operation. It is keeping us alive, regulating our body temperature, beating our heart and pumping air into our lungs - sometimes noisily when we snore. Our dreams are full of insight and illuminations that are normally suppressed or inaccessible to our conscious awareness.

Occasionally the dream may be literal and will not need to be analysed at all. If this happens to you then great. When writing a book or a blog, I often get the whole text in detail or sometimes as an image.

More often though, the dream comes in veiled behind a layer of metaphor and allegory. For most of us, dreams come in images, although they can include sounds, colours, language, music, tastes and smells. Numbers can be of special significance too.

The vividness of the dream too is worth making note of. The richer and more intense it is, the more you should pay attention to it. If the dream recurs, or the same theme is repeated, then there is undoubtedly a message for you embedded somewhere inside the dream. These messages can often convey information about our physical or mental health. They can even warn us about a situation we are in or about to enter that we have unconsciously noticed involves something we are uneasy about.

So what better way to be more productive than by using the third of your life when you are sleeping to be creative?

To do this, you will need to keep a notebook on your bedside table. Use the notepad horizontally (in landscape mode) and make three columns on each blank page. Then there are three simple steps to take, which may need a few nights to practice. They are:

Step 1 : Seeding your dreams
Step 2 : Remembering your dreams
Step 3 : Analysing your dreams

Step 1 : Seeding your dreams
The cusp of being awake and asleep is known as the hypnagogic point. It is when our conscious mind is being put to rest.

All we have to do to influence our dreams is write down on a scrap of paper, or Post It Note, the subject upon which we would like some insight. Pop this under your pillow before retiring so you will literally sleep on it. Don’t worry if it gets crumpled as you won’t need it again.

Then, as you drop off into hypnagogia, mull over the issue and especially what might happen if you get a positive outcome.

Step 2 : Remembering your dreams
The perfect time to remember your dreams, prior to their analysis, is between sleeping and waking, which known as the hypnopompic point.

The trick to remembering your dreams in the morning is to spend a little more time in the hypnopompic state. So all you have to do is to luxuriate a little longer in bed as you wake up, with a view to bringing the essential elements of the dream into your conscious awareness. All in all, it’s a great way to start your day anyway.

Then you write the bullet points only of the dream on your notepad, unless the dream is literal.

Step 3 : Analysing your dreams
Once you’ve captured the essence of dream, next comes the analysis phase. Apart from a bit of fun and research, it’s not necessarily helpful to buy a book which contains someone else’s interpretations of dreams. The imagery and metaphors of your dreams are always personal to you as they are seeded by your life experience. If I dream of an aeroplane, it might be because I associate them with holidays and not being in a metaphorical plane crash, for example.

So in the first column, we have the bullet points of the dream.

In the second column, write down what else they might mean to you.

Then in the third column, list how the meanings in the second column might give insight and enlightenment to your situation. By making this two level extrapolation from the bullet points of the dream, we bring it into a practical context.

What’s so good about this method is that it costs nothing to try it. In addition, the practice of dream analysis can even have health benefits as it allows us to release feelings and emotions that might otherwise be bottled up. By far and away the best benefit is using time that is normally only used for sleeping in the creative process. You never know, your next million dollar invention might arrive while you are sleeping.

Sweet Dreams.

Author's Bio: 

Tom Evans is the author of books that take the esoteric and make it exoteric. His latest book is New Magic for a New Era which explores how to live a charmed life.

He hosts The Zone Show, a popular podcast exploring creativity, consciousness and spirituality. He is also the creator of the world’s first time management programme based on mindfulness, Living Timefully.

For more, visit http://www.tomevans.co