Sleeping and Swearing – Two Key Ingredients for Innovation

Politicians, writers, philosophers, parents: anyone you can think of will at some point or another have said that there is nothing quite like a quick nap or a snooze. It now appears, however, that snoozing is actually a lot more important than we first had realized. As, strangely, is swearing! Indeed, snoozing and swearing seem to be the two key S’s to success, particularly if you want to drive innovation in the workplace. What this means is that, when you put crowdsourcing software made for businesses in place, you need to give people the opportunity to have a little siesta, and to get whatever they have on their mind off their chest.

The Link between Snoozing and Innovation

You have probably heard of the periodic table, developed by Russian chemist Medeleev, who came up with it when just woke up from a particularly deep sleep. He was a scientist and it worked for him, but that doesn’t make it science just yet. However, a new study by the University of California now supports the idea that Medeleev’s invention wasn’t luck, it was actually down to his snooze. They have determined that the more REM (Rapid Eye Movement) someone experiences during sleep, the higher their creative performance will be when they wake up. Around 25% of our total sleep time is made up of REM sleep, which is when we deeply slumber and dream.

The University of California study asked volunteers to complete a task around word association. They were shown three-word lists and participants had to come up with a fourth one that would link the three together. For instance, they were shown the words “dust”, “actor”, and “twinkle”, and people could then come up with the word “star”. All volunteers had to come in three times on one day. They came in at 9am and completed the test, and once again at 5pm. However, when they arrived at 1pm, they were instead taken to a quiet room, where they were encouraged to relax and sleep. Those that achieved the most REM sleep during their nap did significantly better at the 5pm test that those who did not achieve REM at all. Hence, it was concluded that REM helped to increase the brain’s creativity, enabling it to connect ideas that are seemingly unrelated.

So yes, this means that the Japanese, who have set up nap rooms in most offices, are doing the right thing.

So What about Swearing?

Swearing helps as well, it now seems, and in a variety of different ways. Specifically, a study completed at Keel University’s School of Psychology found that, when people swear, they are better able to manage pain. This includes physical pain, such as after someone stubs their toe, but also mental pain. How these two issues link together is that, if you allow people to swear for a bit, to get rid of the pain and anguish of the stress they experience during the day, and then let them have a nap, their creativity will go through the roof!

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