While going through some scientific literature, I recently made a startling discovery.
One which I have not seen anywhere in other summaries of how creativity works or how it can be improved.
It is about what happens in your brain when you are sleeping.
There are several stages which your brain goes through when you are asleep, but one of the most important is called the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase.
This phase of sleep is associated with intensive dreaming.
But what I find fascinating is that during REM sleep, one part of the brain called the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex actually reduces its activity (Source 1, Source 2, Source 3).
And this is the important parts of the brain whose role is to inhibit the thoughts you are aware of. The DLPFC therefore acts as a sort of censor or bouncer to the thoughts of the brain’s consciousness.
Research has suggested that the method of inhibiting the DLPFC during REM sleep is by the increased release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (Source 1, Source 2).
The link between REM sleep and improvisation
What I find fascinating is that several other studies have shown that the DLPFC also becomes less active when we improvise.
So this part of the brain region becoming less active is correlated not only with a phase when wild, vivid dreams can occur during sleep, but also when ideas can flow naturally and easily when we are awake.
This provides even more strong evidence that if we can train ourselves to inhibit ourselves less, and reduce the activity of the DLPFC, we can become more creative.
So try to censor yourself less, and overcome the comfort barrier that comes with developing and executing on new ideas.
This is the power of understanding the truth behind creativity.