From Dalí to Bill Gates: how to use dreams to boost creativity?

Learn about two different methods to reach creativity through dreams. Take advantage of every second; even while you sleep.

Last update: June 09, 2023

Have you ever wondered if you could use your dreams as a key to boost your creativity? In that dream world, your mind becomes a blank canvas waiting to be painted. Each dream is transformed into colorful brushstrokes, ready to spark your imagination.

Instead of letting your daydreams fade away, catch them and discover how they can fuel original ideas.Open the door to the magic of your dreams and unleash the full potential of your creativity.

The methods of Dalí and Bill Gates

Dreams, those fragments of your imagination that unfold during the night, can be much more than just fleeting scenes. In fact, they are an inexhaustible source of inspiration and fuel for your creativity.

When dreaming, the brain generates its own perceptions in the absence of external stimuli, fulfilling an essentially visual and dynamic creative function.

~ J. Allan Hobson in the book “The Dreaming Brain” ~

Some of the world’s most celebrated artists, scientists and inventors had their moments of inspiration while they slept. For example, the surrealist painter Salvador Dalí described his paintings as “hand-painted photographs of dreams,” including his most famous work, Persistence of Memory.

When the Catalan wanted to produce a masterpiece, he would lie down on a sofa with a handful of pencils in hand. In addition, he sprayed a few drops of perfume on his eyelids to influence the character of his dreams, since these were the fuel of surrealism.

In 1951 he published his book 50 magical secrets to paintin which he recommended “micronaps” as a way to boost creativity. His method, known as “sleeping with a key,” consisted of 5 steps:

  1. Sit upright in an armchair with armrests.
  2. Hold a heavy metal key in your hand.
  3. Place a metal plate upside down under the hand holding the key.
  4. Allow yourself to fall asleep. When that happens, you’ll drop the keys, which will hit the platter and produce a big CLANG!
  5. Wake up and congratulate yourself on a successful micronap.
Dalí using dreams to enhance creativity
Dalí recommended “microsiestas” as a way to boost creativity. In addition to sleeping with brushes in hand.

Bill Gates strategy

However, the strategy of the American business magnate and philanthropist, Bill Gates, to boost his creativity, is completely different. During the first years of Microsoft, I used to spend sleepless nights working on projects. However, his approach changed radically when she discovered the book. why we sleep by Matthew Walker.

This work reveals how neglecting sleep is not only detrimental to creativity, but also for problem solving, decision making, learning, memory and health. After assimilating these teachings, Gates began to prioritize good sleep hygiene, understanding that waking up each morning with renewed energy was crucial for his concentration.

What does science say?

The relationship between dreams and creativity has been the subject of speculation for years. Sleep could be a powerful ally of creativityaccording to a study published in Science Advances. In it, the authors found that stage 1, or N1, non-rapid eye movement sleep ignites a fire of original thinking.

When you dream, the brain is immersed in a different neurophysiological state than when you are awake. Furthermore, it has been shown that there is a great activity in brain areas related to imagination. During this state, the brain is likely to find solutions to problems they have been stuck.

During a reverie, you can visualize or stimulate your own version of events, which can help you gain a new perspective. On the other hand, it allows your mind to wander and access randomly stored memories, emotions and knowledge.

When you are in a dream state, you can visualize or stimulate your own version of events.

~ Amy Fries in “Daydreams at work: wake up your creative powers” ~
Bill Gates boosts his creativity with dreams by reading books on the subject
Reading a book recommended by his daughter led Gates to improve his sleep hygiene.

5 ways to use dreams to boost creativity

Prepare to be immersed in a world where the ability to use dreams to fuel creativity becomes a driving force in your life.

1. Record your dreams

Make sure you always have a journal handy dedicated to describing the images, emotions and situations that emerge while you sleep. This simple habit will allow you to use your dreams to boost creativity.

Place it next to your nightstand, so you can capture those details when you wake up.

Each entry will help you generate fresh ideas and explore new perspectives. Also, it will be an interesting read into your inner world.

Keeping a dream journal is a relaxing activity that invites you to explore the symbols that appear in your dreams. Some recommendations that will help you are the following:

  • Write down your dreams as soon as you wake up, even if it’s in the middle of the night: this habit will let you capture the fresh and vivid details.
  • Focus on the details: carefully records smells, tastes, colors, people, emotions and sensations.
  • Title your dreams descriptively: Giving them a title will help you remember them and make it easier to find patterns in the future.
  • Look for connections between your dreams: See if there are repeating themes, symbols, or situations.

My most creative moments come when my brain can rest.

~ Megan King ~

2. Visualize your daydreams

Another effective strategy that helps to use dreams to enhance creativity is to practice visualization. Close your eyes and recreate the settings you went through, the characters you met and the emotions you experienced.

As you immerse yourself in the vivacity of your dreams, you will cultivate your ability to imagine. And you will surely discover creative solutions to challenges.

3. Make up new stories

Take the opportunity to become the hero of unique stories. Use your dream experiences as creative fuel to write stories, scripts, plays or comics.

Allow your imagination to fly without limits and immerse yourself in the infinite world of possibilities that your dreams offer you. Share these stories with your loved ones or feel free to upload them to the web.

4. Create characters

Take advantage of the wealth of your dreams to create characters out of the ordinary. In your dreams you meet people who do not exist in the real world, giving you a unique opportunity to bring them to life on paper.

It doesn’t matter if you are not a master of painting; With your skills you can capture their faces. Feel free to add a box with their name and details about their personality, to give them their own identity.

5. Incubation of dreams

Before you sleep, focus your mind on a specific problem or question that you want to solve. Visualize the question clearly and repeat it in the silence within yourself.

By doing so, you are programming your subconscious to search for answers or solutions while you dream. When you wake up, keep your journal close by to record any insights you have received.

Dreams are the engine of creativity

By using your dreams as fuel to fuel your creativity, you open the doors to a limitless world of ideas. Keeping a dream journal or practicing visualization techniques sparks the imagination.

Each night will become an opportunity for exploration and experimentation. This late-night creative lab just might get you going. Awaken the genius in you!

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From Dalí to Bill Gates: how to use dreams to boost creativity?