Sleep away your problems – literally!

Written by Reynolds Defense Firm

On January 18, 2023

The mind is a powerful thing. So much so, that it can even help you solve problems while you sleep! Yup, you read that correctly. Your subconscious works throughout the day when you are both awake and asleep but takes over entirely when you sleep. When you are sleeping your mind is free from the distractions of daily life and external stimuli. So, your subconscious mind has nearly all the resources of your brain at its disposal.

You’re probably familiar with the saying, “Sleep on it. Things will look better in the morning.” That’s more than just a phrase used to try to stop one from worrying about something incessantly. The brain actually has a nighttime job of finding connections, so when we wake up, we have a different take!

Make your subconscious mind work for you!

Dr. Robert Stickgold, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, gives great explanation of how and why this happens. He explains that when you fall asleep, the brain does a triage and “rifles through the events of the day and sees what’s left unfinished.” It’s picking out what has some “affective buzz,” the emotions that happened during or shortly after something took place. The brain uses these memory “tags” as indicators that the event was important and that there’s more to figure out. Essentially, the brain is saying, “I think I can help you.” And with the subconscious mind dominating such a large portion of your life, why shouldn’t you make it work for you?!

How to solve problems while you sleep

Asking your subconscious mind for help is easy! As we noted above, your brain already wants to help you improve your life, you just have to trust its process. Follow these 5 simple steps and allow your mind to do its thing while you better use the time that you spend peacefully sleeping.

  1. Get an actual journal versus using an app or notes on your phone. Studies have shown that handwriting in a physical paper journal can have a more substantial memory recall effect versus a digital diary.
  2. Before going to sleep write down specific requests about your goals and how to achieve them. Repeat and reread them a few times and consciously make the request to your subconscious to solve them. As an example, “Mind, help me think of creative ways to pitch this work project next week.” Or, “Mind, give me the confidence to set boundaries with my loved ones.”
    • While sleeping, your subconscious mind will get to work, approaching the problems from a variety of angles and making connections that may hold the answers to your problems.
  3. As soon as you wake up grab your journal and do a “thought dump” from your subconscious mind. Write your thoughts, feelings, and dreams freely. Don’t hold anything back, no matter how crazy or irrelevant it may seem.
  4. Go back and review the requests you wrote down the night before and write down your initial thoughts without over analyzing them. Again, this is all about stream of consciousness.
  5. Wait a few hours and then go back and read all your notes and try to find some meaning in them. You might find clarity and insights that eluded you before. Thanks to your subconscious mind, you’ll have some new angles from which you can pursue the solutions you’ve been seeking.

When you find yourself at an impasse remember that you hold the key to finding a solution! All that you need to do is draw it from within. Once you learn how to unlock the power of your subconscious mind, you’ll have a powerful tool ready to go to work while you rest and recover.

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